Here’s a simple approach to this evening’s vice-presidential debate.

Tim Kaine has only one job to do.   Introduce America to the Republican Party’s platform.

Platforms are generally ignored by the voting public, written only to unify the disparate factions of many different people and views.  Platforms are ordinarily compromises between the angry and the satisfied.

In 2016, the Republicans had to satisfy a man they never believed would be a standard bearer.  Worse, or better, they had to please members who never wanted to see the nation made “great again.”   Rich, yes.  Biased, yes.  Privileged, yes.  But also bitter, hungry, vengeful.   “Great again” actually meant “the same,” i.e., the party had learned it could say NO and that was as far as it wanted to go.  The government could be shut down and no office-holder would ever be penalized or criticized.   The platform committee was free from fault, just as Wells Fargo believed it was.   Voting under the aegis of the NRA was safe and comfortable and rewarding.

What Mr. Kaine can do this evening is hang the Republican platform around the neck of Mike Pence and thereby Mr. Trump and every other Republican, “Rino” or real.    Said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, “This is a statement of not Donald Trump’s campaign, but of the Republican Party.”

Let’s begin with the Wall.

Follow that with additional restrictions on abortions of all kinds.

Defund Planned Parenthood.

Cut taxes for the wealthy.

Make voting increasingly difficult for “minorities….”  read students, the elderly, women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, the disabled, felons of many kinds (state-by-state regulation).

Use religion as a guide when drawing statutes with which to control modern life.  “Man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”

The Bible is to be taught in the public schools since a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry”.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage is to be overturned and judges are to be appointed “who respect traditional family values.”

Less gun control, more religious expression, and bathroom use are, of course, included.

Women are barred from combat.

Coal is described as a “clean energy source.”

Need we even mention the platform’s stance on climate?

We have been led to believe that Mr. Pence is a God-fearing man.   So, we are told, is Mr. Kaine.

This could lead to a genuine (dare we hope: polite?) series of disagreements.   It might also lead us into learning how the Republicans plan to safeguard the US Constitution.

Mr. Pence is thought to be a conservative evangelical.   Mr. Kaine has a history of “liberation” theology.

While millions will ignore the debate this evening, we think it may well be the most literate ninety minutes of television in twenty months.


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