I’m a firm believer that VP debates ultimately don’t matter. But the Trump campaign really needs Pence to do well tonight — to win a news cycle for a change, if nothing else. Besides the brief interlude when it was clear that the Democrats had made a big mistake in not denouncing rioting at their convention and Biden hadn’t yet addressed the issue, there hasn’t been a single day when Trump has been winning the message war. In part, this is because a hostile media keep rolling out attack pieces. But it is also because of his missteps, lack of discipline, and an October surprise that has put the focus back on COVID when the campaign hoped other issues would be dominating by now. The Trump campaign needs Pence to excel tonight, and hopefully open up some avenues for attack in the days following.