Analysis: Why Both Candidates Dodged Questions on the Supreme Court and Health Care

Sen. Kamala Harris dodged questions about whether she and Democratic presidential nominee favor adding to the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence wouldn’t answer questions about how the Trump administration would handle pre-existing conditions, a popular part of the Obama-era health care law the administration has tried to repeal and said it would replace.

There’s a simple reason these candidates wouldn’t answer those direct questions: They pose complications in winning over voters.

Ms. Harris’s avoidance of taking a position on so-called court packing helps the Democratic ticket avoid a sticky issue within the party. Polls show that adding justices to the nation’s highest court hasn’t really caught on broadly.

But the liberal side of the party is particularly inflamed about the Supreme Court after Republican senators in 2016 blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and yet are moving quickly to confirm Mr. Trump’s pick just weeks before Election Day. Many liberals are calling for the addition of justices.

Pre-existing conditions is one of the most broadly favored parts of the health care law. Mr. Trump hasn’t released a health-care plan of his own, even as his administration tried to dismantle the law that passed under Mr. Obama’s watch.

If voters tuned in wanting clear answers to those important questions, they didn’t get them during this debate.

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