What Does The Vice President Actually Do?

We’re here at YouTube Studios at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio! Last week, Trump announced his pick for Vice President, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and like most of Trump’s decisions, it came with its own controversy  VP’s names appear on a nominee’s campaign advertisements and on the ballot, and many believe that a nominee’s choice can make or break their campaign

But, after the dust settles, how much power does a Vice President really have? What exactly does a VP do? Well, according to the US Constitution the VP is the first in line to take over the Presidency should the president die, resign or be removed from office However this has only happened 9 times, four presidents were assassinated, four died of natural causes, and one resigned Additionally, if the president is temporarily incapacitated, for example if he or she is under anesthesia, the VP becomes the Acting President The Constitution also states that the VP must preside over the Senate, although realistically that just means they are there to break a tie vote In fact, according to official senate rules, Vice Presidents are not even allowed to debate or address the governing body

What’s more, tie breaker votes are relatively rare Current VP Joe Biden, is one of 12 VPs who have never cast a such a vote But although such votes are rare, they can potentially have huge implications for the country America’s first Vice President, John Adams, cast 29 tie-breaking votes, more than any other VP in history, through which he determined the location of the US capitol, protected certain presidential powers and even stopped a war with Great Britain However, VPs do have a number of informal responsibilities, which vary according to their relationship with the President

Many VP’s have acted as the administration’s unofficial spokesperson, or as the President’s primary confidant One of the first to do this was Walter Mondale, who was reportedly a close advisor to President Jimmy Carter and an active participant in the day-to-day duties of his administration Similarly, Former Vice President Al Gore had a cozy relationship with Bill Clinton, particularly on matters of foreign policy and the environment Perhaps surprisingly, such cooperation is a fairly new phenomenon Most VP’s who served before the 1970’s were merely figureheads—standing by just incase they needed to suddenly take charge

VP’s didn’t give speeches, didn’t meet with foreign leaders or even work with the President on policy matters In fact, Presidents didn’t even begin choosing their VP’s until the 1800s Before that, whichever candidate finished in second automatically became VP, even if their views opposed that of the President Today, the Vice Presidential appointment is considered one of the most important decisions a nominee can make in their campaign, as it sends a powerful message about what they can expect from the administration Nominees tend to opt for VP’s who have an impressive or unique resume, or someone that offers different strengths than they do, as a balanced ticket generally appeals to different types of voters

For controversial nominees like Clinton and Trump, a widely respected second-in-command might just be their ticket into the oval office

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