For Discipline in Politics, Turn to Veep Debate

The second official debate of the 2016 election season is tomorrow, and of course, voters are awaiting the occasion with bated breath.

Except they aren’t. This debate will unfortunately not feature the two seemingly most polarizing candidates in our current political sphere, but will instead occur between their vice presidential picks: Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and Indiana Governor Mike Pence. And while these two men may or may not be the closest thing we as a country have to the human equivalent of watching paint dry, that does not mean that this event is anywhere close to inconsequential.

Yes, Tim Kaine may have described himself on multiple occasions by literally saying: “I am boring.” And even Breitbart — one of the last quasi-legitimate bastions of never-ending Trump worship — has called Mike Pence “the single most boring vice-presidential candidate in the history of the world.” But that does not negate the fact that this debate still should be considered a vital component of the electoral process. No matter what the internet says, the vice presidential debate is something every prospective voter should carefully watch — not because it is going to be scandalous and titillating, but precisely because it isn’t going to be.

This election year so far has been the political equivalent of a slow-motion car crash — if that car crash was also, somehow, part reality show and part poorly made Lifetime drama. And at times, the types of scandals that have arisen over the past year have seemed almost too horrifyingly comical to be actually occurring, like a video of Trump calling the current Miss Universe fat while standing over her as she works out at a gym, or Clinton updating her website to inform readers about a meme’s potential status as a hate symbol before the meme actually became one.

The 2016 election has become a constant cycle of bombastic headlines and shifting blame. But it is possible that this boring debate might be able to bring about some semblance of normalcy through a mind-numbing and policy-centric 90-minute discussion between the possible VPs. While it is obvious that nothing any vice presidential candidate does will ever make or break an election — unless they somehow fall into the trap of the Sarah Palin Paradigm, but that’s a different story — VPs do have the opportunity to speak to the public as a whole and present voters with a balanced and legitimate description of their candidate’s policies on the issues. And while they may do this in the most unexciting way possible Tuesday night, after the year we’ve witnessed, perhaps boring is exactly what the American people need.

A version of this article originally appeared online here as part of the Washington Square News Opinion section.

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