1619 Project, African Americans, Barack Obama, Biden, budget deficits, CCP Virus, censorship, China, Confederate monuments, Constitution, coronavirus, COVID 19, education, election 2020, Electoral College, filibuster, Founding Fathers, free speech, healthcare, history, history wars, Im-Politic, inequality, investment, Kamala Harris, Mike Pence, national security, Obamacare, police killings, propaganda, protests, racism, riots, semiconductors, slavery, spending, Supreme Court, systemic racism, Taiwan, tariffs, tax cuts, taxes, Trade, trade war, Trump, Vice Presidential debate, Wuhan virus
Since I don’t want to set a record for longest RealityChek post ever, I’ll do my best to limit this list of questions I’d like to see asked at tonight’s Vice Presidential debate to some subjects that I believe deserve the very highest priority, and/or that have been thoroughly neglected so far during this campaign.
>For Vice President Mike Pence: If for whatever reason, President Trump couldn’t keep the CCP Virus under control within his own White House, why should Americans have any faith that any of his policies will bring it under control in the nation as a whole?
>For Democratic candidate Senator Kamala Harris: What exactly should be the near-term goal of U.S. virus policy? Eliminate it almost completely (as was done with polio)? Stop its spread? Slow its spread? Reduce deaths? Reduce hospitalizations? And for goals short of complete elimination, define “slow” and “reduce” in terms of numerical targets.
>For Pence: Given that the administration’s tax cuts and spending levels were greatly ballooning the federal budget deficit even before the virus struck, isn’t it ridiculous for Congressional Republicans to insist that total spending in the stimulus package remain below certain levels?
For Harris: Last month, the bipartisan Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled a compromise stimulus framework. President Trump has spoken favorably about it, while stopping short of a full endorsement. Does Vice President Biden endorse it? If so, has he asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to sign on? If he doesn’t endorse it, why not?
For Pence: The nation is in the middle of a major pandemic. Whatever faults the administration sees in Obamacare, is this really the time to be asking the Supreme Court to rule it un-Constitutional, and throw the entire national health care system into mass confusion?
For Harris: Would a Biden administration offer free taxpayer-financed healthcare to illegal aliens? Wouldn’t this move strongly encourage unmanageable numbers of migrants to swamp U.S. borders?
For Pence: President Trump has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese exports headed to U.S. markets. But U.S. investors – including government workers’ pension funds – still keep sending equally large sums into Chinese government coffers. When is the Trump administration finally going to plug this enormous hole?
For Harris: Will a Biden administration lift or reduce any of the Trump China or metals tariffs. Will it do so unconditionally? If not, what will it be seeking in return?
For both: Taiwan now manufactures the world’s most advanced semiconductors, and seems sure to maintain the lead for the foreseeable future. Does the United States now need to promise to protect Taiwan militarily in order to keep this vital defense and economic knowhow out of China’s hands?
For Pence: Since the administration has complained so loudly about activist judges over-ruling elected legislators and making laws themselves, will Mr. Trump support checking this power by proposing term limits or mandatory retirement ages for Supreme Court Justices? If not, why not?
For Harris: Don’t voters deserve to know the Biden Supreme Court-packing position before Election Day? Ditto for his position on abolishing the filibuster in the Senate.
>For Pence: The Electoral College seems to violate the maxim that each votes should count equally. Does the Trump administration favor reform? If not, why not?
>For Harris: Many Democrats argue that the Electoral College gives lightly populated, conservative and Republican-leaning states outsized political power. But why, then, was Barack Obama able to win the White House not once but twice?
>For Pence: Charges that America’s police are killing unarmed African Americans at the drop of a hat are clearly wild exaggerations. But don’t you agree that police stop African-American pedestrians and drivers much more often than whites without probable cause – a problem that has victimized even South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott?
For Harris: Will Biden insist that mayors and governors in cities and states like Oregon and Washington, which have been victimized by chronic antifa violence, investigate, arrest and prosecute its members and leaders immediately? And if they don’t, will he either withhold federal law enforcement aid, or launch such investigations at the federal level?
For Pence: Why should any public places in America honor Confederate figures – who were traitors to the United States? Can’t we easily avoid the “erasing history” danger by putting these monuments in museums with appropriate background material?
For Harris: Would a Biden administration support even peacefully removing from public places statues and monuments to historic figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because their backgrounds included slave-holding?
For both: Shouldn’t voters know much more about the Durham Justice Department investigation of official surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2015 and 2016 before Election Day?
For both: Should the Big Tech companies be broken up on antitrust grounds?
For both: Should internet and social media platforms be permitted to censor any form of Constitutionally permitted speech?
For Pence: Doesn’t the current system of using property taxes to fund most primary and secondary public education guarantee that low-income school children will lack adequate resources?
For Harris: Aren’t such low-income students often held back educationally by non-economic factors like generations of broken families and counter-productive student behavior, as well as by inadequate school funding – as leading figures like Jesse Jackson (at least for one period) and former President Obama have claimed?
For Pence: What’s the difference between the kind of “patriotic education” the President says he supports and official propaganda?
For Harris: Would a Biden administration oppose local school districts using propagandistic material like The New York Times‘ U.S. history-focused 1619 Project for their curricula? Should federal aid to districts that keep using such materials be cut off or reduced?
Now it’s your turn, RealityChek readers! What questions would you add? And which of mine would you deep six?