US: what does the VP duel tell us?

After the high-profile TV debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on September 29, the vice-presidential hopefuls Mike Pence and Kamala Harris took their turn to present themselves to US voters on television on Wednesday. Commentators appreciate the civilized tone of the debate but are divided over its impact.

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Politiken (DK) /

The problem with US politics is Trump

Politiken takes hope from the duel:

“This debate was far more worthy of a centuries-old democracy like the US than last week's presidential clash between Trump and Biden. The difference between the two duels shows that the main problem in American politics has a name: Donald J. Trump. If you remove the president from the stage, a much higher degree of normality will be established almost automatically. That is a cause for celebration. Because it means that American politics may be able to regain some degree of normality if Trump loses the election in November, as the polls have predicted in recent months.”

Spotmedia (RO) /

Maybe they won't just be vice-president...

Spotmedia focuses on the VP's role as substitute for the president:

“Perhaps the most interesting question asked by USA Today journalist Susan Page, who moderated the debate, was whether Pence and Harris had discussed with their bosses the possibility of having to substitute for them them during their term of office if something happens to them. Especially since both are advanced in age: Joe Biden is 77, while Donald Trump is 74. Kamala Harris affirmed that she had discussed this question with Joe Biden many times, and that an agreement exists between the two in the event of a crisis. Mike Pence avoided answering, indicating that he could not discuss such a topic with Donald Trump.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

A long decline

Corriere del Ticino sees no real differences between the candidates - and says the US is in decline anyway:

“A decline that may last a long time - see the Roman Empire - with an American army that is still the most powerful in the world and wins wars, but loses peace (for example Iraq). An innovative force in technology, menaced but not yet overtaken by China. An economic power that is still significant, with the privilege of holding a reserve currency. But unfortunately the US is a fragmented country, weakened and facing extremism and tribal feuds that are tearing it apart. ... A picture of worrying weakness that heralds a period of uncertainty for the rest of the world.”