Wednesday’s Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris was far more civil than last week’s Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, but the issues during the hour and a half debate took a backseat on social media to a house fly and possible case of pink eye.
While many people may have said at some point, “I’d like to be a fly on the wall” during famous moments in history, after Wednesday’s debate the question may be whether anyone would have wanted to be a fly in the hair of Vice President Pence.
Instead of real issues being discussed on social media, it was all about the fly – #pencefly!
Morning news anchor Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) took to Twitter and posted, “I miss the bug. It was best thing about him.”
Mark Cuban (@mcuban) responded by tweeting, “Forever more this debate will be known as ‘The Fly Debate’. I feel bad for Pence.”
Horror writer Stephen King (@StephenKing) may have summed it up best, stating, “The fly knows.”
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won multiple Emmy awards for playing a Vice President and later President on the HBO satire Veep, took to Instagram and wrote, “I really wish we had thought of this on @veephbo – who is controlling that fly?”
Comedy gold it was.
Even Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) used the chance to tweet the somewhat confusing “flywillvote.com,” which only makes one wonder if Vice President Biden understands Twitter or how websites work!
By the time the debate was over someone even created the Twitter account, Mike Pence’s Fly (@MikePenceFly__) and tweeted, “That was awful.”
Red Eye Mike
Clearly Vice President didn’t have a good night – but #FlyGate was just part of what dominated on social media as the two candidates attempted to debate the real issues facing the nation. The other topic of discussion was Mike Pence’s rather red left eye, which was all the most noticeable as he had Senator Harris to his right and had to turn to address her.
TV host and political commentator S.E. Cupp (secupp), who is a self-declared Republican but who announced she would be voting for Biden, was actually quite blunt on Twitter stating only “Is Pence’s eye Okay?”
There were plenty of pop culture references to Pence’s case of bloodshot eyes all over Twitter.
Actor Kumail Najiani (@kumailn) mocked Pence, tweeting, “Every time Pence says, ‘The American people’ stab yourself in the eye.”
Daryl Oliver (@bigdtampa), tweeted a photo of Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars and stated, “#VPDebate mike pence has a look in his eye which I have seen before…”
Attorney Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) went another direction – that is to Middle Earth – in a tweet, “Mike Pence looked like he felt the eye of Sauron turn to him through the camera as he was asked about Trump paying $750 in taxes.”
Film producer Aaron Stewart-Ahn (@somebadideas) tweeted, “Pence looks like the fake Arnold Schwarzenegger head that cuts it own eye out in Terminator” with a photo of the T-800!
Comedian Josh Gad (@joshgad) wasn’t as clever with a cool reference, instead just tweeting, “Look, I don’t like Pence either but I don’t think it was necessary for Trump to hit him in eye before the debate.”
It is unclear at this point who won the debate, but all of this attention to a fly and Pence’s eye really do show that those who watched for an hour and half weren’t really interested in the issues. And perhaps that is the greatest threat to democracy – we don’t need to worry about foreign meddling if this is the reaction we get.