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By Chido Nwangwu 

On Wednesday October 7, 2020, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, the first, and only, vice presidential debate of 2020, Democratic Party nominee, California Senator Kamala Harris took on the incumbent Vice President Mike Pence.

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Harris, the first black woman to be nominated by any of the two political parties at this level of presidential leadership, did not only pass the fundamental test regarding the vice presidential role of ‘do no harm’ to the ticket, she performed very well.

As a summary, so far, of her comportment and deep knowledge of the issues regarding national security, diplomacy, health security, economic realities of Americans, race relations and the capacity to envision America into the next 50 years, I believe senator Kamala Harris passed the test of stepping up — where and if necessary — to offer presidential leadership to the United States! 

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As we know, the incumbent Vice President Mike Pence is a very skillful and savvy communicator. He is calm and thoughtful. He comes across as very deliberative and nuanced. 

Remarkably, I believe he’s everything that Donald Trump is not!

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In every practical sense, vice President Pence is the chief facilitator of the Republican conservative agenda in the Trump administration.

At the onset of the debate sponsored by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, Harris summarized her indictment of the Trump presidency by stating —- and I will quote her extensively:

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“the American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country. And here are the facts. 210,000 dead people in our country in just the last several months. Over 7 million people who have contracted this disease. One in five businesses closed.  We’re looking at frontline workers who have been treated like sacrificial workers. We are looking at over 30 million people who in the last several months had to file for unemployment. And here’s the thing, on January 28, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic. They were informed that it’s lethal in consequence, that it is airborne, that it will affect young people and that it would be contracted because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening, and they didn’t tell you. Can you imagine if you knew on January 28, as opposed to March 13, what they knew what you might have done to prepare? They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it. The president said you’re on one side of his ledger if you wear a mask, you’re on the other side of his ledger if you don’t. And in spite of all of that, today they still don’t have a plan. They still don’t have a plan. Well, Joe Biden does. And our plan is about what we need to do around a national strategy for contact tracing, for testing, for administration of the vaccine and making sure that it will be free for all. That is the plan that Joe Biden has and that I have, knowing that we have to get a hold of what has been going on and we need to save our country. And Joe Biden is the best leader to do that and frankly, this administration has forfeited their right to reelection….”

Essentially, she drove home the point.

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Truth must be told that there are some arguable connection of some of the almost 215,000 dead Americans from the coronavirus to date (October 8, 2020) to the anti-scientific failures and reckless misconducts of the Trump presidency, and of Mr. Trump’s personal but terrible mocking of the use of masks!

With only 3 weeks to the presidential votes, Harris has returned and amplified the issue of healthcare security as being the fundamental factor of the economic problems facing America today.

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And, overwhelming number of Americans agree with her.

I do know that this November 3 U.S presidential, congressional and local elections will be determined by the inevitable mix of the high death tally from coronavirus with prevailing harsh business climate. 

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This November 3, the American elections will be won or lost in the context of health security and the devastating economic impact escalated by the pangs and fangs of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has since January 2020 become, more so, a national security election. 

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You will recall that when the campaigns entered the first week of August 2020, a very important decision was made by the Democratic Party candidate, Joseph Biden, jnr. 

It was his choice of a vice presidential running mate. 

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The position of VP has been described in various ways. One of my favorite quotes is the one by John Nance Garner which describes it as “A spare tire on the automobile of government.”

It was familiar territory for him having served as vice president to the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Obama. 

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In terms of options, Biden promised Americans that he Will pick a woman. Biden did not only pick a woman; he picked a very capable woman. Senator Kamala Harris.

Like I have stated previously in this column, at the end of the day, the top of the ticket determines the electoral advantages and outcomes. 

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Rarely, if ever, do Americans insist that the vice presidential candidates are determinative and fundamental factors regarding how they vote; it’s a competitive game of addition, not subtraction. 

The Bottom line remains that it is a fight between Joseph Biden and Donald J. Trump. It’s anybody’s guess who will win….

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——

Dr. Chido Nwangwu, the Founder of USAfrica multimedia networks and public policy organization since 1992 in Houston, established the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the Internet USAfricaonline.com. He served as adviser on Africa business to the ex-Mayor of Houston, Dr. Lee P. Brown.  He is the author of the January 2021 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity. 3greatmen.com  chido@usafricaonline.com   follow @Chido247

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