Who Won the Vice Presidential Debate: Biden and Ryan Debate Will Not Matter in the Grand Scheme of Things

Why it Doesn’t Matter Who Won the Vice Presidential Debate

Reading through my friends’ Facebook statuses and tweets, it would seem that the vice presidential debate was a hugely important event. Everyone seemed to be watching it and posting their opinions about it. However, I would argue that it doesn’t really matter who won last night’s debate.

Though Joe Biden looked a lot better in the vice presidential debate than Barack Obama did in the first presidential debate last week, it’s largely irrelevant. Let’s be honest about it, the vice president’s role is one of the least powerful in Washington. Aside from being the first successor to the presidency, the VP’s only other constitutional role is to break ties in the Senate. Any further influence is entirely dependent on how much the president decides to listen to his VP. As such, why do we really care whether Joe Biden or Paul Ryan won the debate?

Both candidates did throw out a lot more specifics and statistics than their running mates. While that was certainly better than the platitudes we saw at last week’s debate, watching the VP debate was rather like watching a cheerleading competition for Obama and Romney. Biden wouldn’t stop smiling like a beauty queen, while Ryan told anecdotes about how great of a person Romney is. Ultimately, the vice president is largely irrelevant, so I doubt the debate could have been much more than that.

Overall, I’d call this debate a draw. Biden came across very strong and aggressive, especially in comparison to Obama. However, Ryan also gave a solid performance and held his own. In contrast to the first presidential debate, there was no clear winner.  Yet it was just political theater by two men who likely won’t have much influence in the next administration. 

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Ella Peterson

Ella is a graduate student at the University of Denver where she is working on her Master's in International Studies. She is particularly interested in international trade and economics and how the ideas of liberty and free markets can improve people’s lives around the world. She is also active in the student liberty movement.

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