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STORY BY RYAN LIZZA

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Published on October 8, 2020 1:54 AM

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The VP debate offers the nation a glimpse of a post-Trump future
At one point during Wednesday night's vice presidential debate, Mike Pence answered a question about abortion laws in Indiana by discussing Qasem Soleimani. Kamala Harris responded to a question about whether she and Joe Biden would expand the Supreme Court by invoking Abe Lincoln.

Let's say this at the outset: This was a boring, unfocused debate between two well-prepared and polished candidates who had little interest in answering the questions posed to them — and were under virtually no pressure from the moderator to do so.

n other words, it was sort of how debates used to be: professional politicians who are mostly civil to each other making their points, occasionally skirting the rules, and frequently spinning the facts. There was a lot to critique, but the participants were bound by some shared sense of propriety.

That was before Trump came along and turned the first debate into a spectacle, as he did on Sept. 29 by interrupting Joe Biden for 90 minutes. So maybe the way to see the Harris-Pence snooze-fest is as a peek into the future of American politics once this Trump-dominated era is over.

Harris and Pence are both younger, more well-spoken, and closer to the beating hearts of their respective parties. Considering the challenges anyone would have defending the Trump record on the pandemic, Pence's ability to leave the stage after 90 minutes without being gutted by ...