(Last Updated On: October 5, 2016)

In an election system dominated by presidential candidates, vice presidential nominees are expected to be their shadows, but vice presidential debates can be consequential. Performances of vice presidential candidates had rescued the sinking fortunes of campaigns in the past. In 2012, Joe Biden made up for President Barack Obama’s slump in the first debate against Mitt Romney.

Later on Tuesday, V-P candidates Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence are scheduled to face off in the only debate between the two. In the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton outsmarted Republican Donald Trump, and subsequent opinion polls have indicated gains for her.

The latest one by CNN shows her leading by five percentage points nationally. More significantly, Ms. Clinton’s debate performance has raised the level of enthusiasm among her supporters, a lingering deficiency in her campaign.

Mr. Kaine will be under pressure to sustain the gains made by Ms. Clinton, but that will be easier than Mr. Pence’s task of making up for Mr. Trump. Between the first debate and now, a series of embarrassing revelations, including the fact that he may not have paid any federal taxes at all for nearly two decades, has further cornered Mr. Trump.

Mr. Kaine, a missionary-turned-politician and Mr. Pence, who described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order” at the party national convention, are both understated.

 But both serve a crucial role in enhancing the influence of their respective presidential candidates. Mr. Kaine is to the right of Ms. Clinton in terms of economic policies and is considered friendly to business.

Mr. Pence is highly regarded by conservatives and evangelicals, who are dubious about the presidential candidate’s credentials to lead them.

Questions on taxes

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has dug his heels in on the question of evading taxes by using legal loopholes. Mr. Trump told rallies on Monday that the tax code work in favour of rich people like him and accused professional politicians like Ms. Clinton for the situation.

“Though I have been a beneficiary of the tax code, I will change it. Because now I will work for you,” Mr. Trump said. This line of argument has become a hallmark of Mr. Trump. Every time he is caught on the wrong foot an issue, Mr. Trump argues that since he knows best how to rig the system, he also knows how to fix it for the people.

Source: The Hindu

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