Last week, America was subjected to a brawl between President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President, Joe Biden (D), in a no-holds barred shouting match masquerading as a debate, refereed by Fox Sunday Anchor Chris Wallace. Last night, however, America experienced the “eye” of the Hurricane that is the 2020 Presidential Election as Vice President Mike Pence (R) and Senator Kamala Harris (D) sat down for a civil exchange of ideas that, for about two hours, almost had me convinced I had time-traveled back to when politics wasn’t a complete catastrophe.

The debate began with the moderator, Susan Page, Bureau Chief for USA Today and prominent member of the D.C Press Corps, explaining the rules of the debate, rules that largely went ignored in last week’s debate This week, aside from Pence and certainly Kamala Harris exceeding the usual time barriers to speak,. the rules were followed. (One can tell the bar is really low when following the rules is impressive in a debate for high office) That being said; the rules were enforced far more strictly with Vice President Pence. Sen. Kamala Harris was seemingly handled with kid gloves by the moderator. On several occasions, I used a digital stopwatch and timed each candidate. Usually, Pence clocked in at around 2:10, while Harris clocked in at 2:30, sometimes even 2:41. Clearly there was a major double standard being applied, but Pence still managed to be far more substantive, likable, and charming. Kamala Harris came off as snarky and condescending, while Pence came off as warm and confident.

THE GOOD:
-Mike Pence, at one point in the debate, brought up the issue of “packing” the Supreme Court and adding more justices. Kamala Harris refused to answer the question: “Will you and Joe Biden pack the court?”
-Kamala Harris didn’t call anyone a “clown” or a “racist” and she didn’t tell Pence to “shut up.” (Again, Joe Biden set the bar really low)
-The Debate was extremely substantive. This is clearly a major contrast to every single Presidential Debate in the last 8 years.

THE BAD
-The Moderator, Susan Page, was transparently biased against Pence, and I could’ve stood to have a more impartial moderator.
-Rules weren’t enforced as heavily for Kamala Harris.

Overall, this debate was a stark contrast to nearly every single debate we’ve seen this election season. One can only hope this level of substance in the next Presidential.Debate on Wednesday.