The most popular flavor of ice cream in America is vanilla. (Most surveys suggest it clocks in at 29 percent.) But I doubt many people choose to eat it plain. I know I’d rather eat the chocolate chip cookie dough — a pint of it, actually, while watching Netflix.

Vanilla is our choice to serve as a complement, often mellowing a too-rich dessert.

That’s how I view the VP candidates this time around. A La Mode.

After a year of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and Hillary Clinton’s scandals, our palates could use a break from the all-you-can-eat dessert bar.

Thank you, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, because while tonight’s vice presidential debate may be a showdown of vanilla vs. vanilla, I think America is more than ready for the reasonable, the understated, the likable.

Here’s what these two men need to do to balance this election cycle’s more complicated flavors.

Gov. Mike Pence: Breyers Premium Vanilla Bean

If Donald Trump is Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, the candidate who talks about a woman’s weight and appearance and slings mud at anyone who dares cross him, his choice of Mike Pence makes sense. He’s the polished and folksy white collar, well-dressed, well-spoken Breyers Premium Vanilla Bean. But he’s vanilla all the same.

He mellows Trump’s crassness. He brings in conservatives. He’s calm in his approach. He wears a suit well and has much better hair. He looks like a politician in a good way.

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Still, beyond needing to defend Trump’s rhetoric for the past year, Trump’s policies (or the lack thereof), and his own snag with a religious liberty issue in Indiana, Pence has to win over the undecideds in 90 minutes.

While he doesn’t run the risk of losing his composure (yelling, name calling, etc.) he should beware of low energy and tough questions. He needs to be engaging (good volume and intonation), and needs solid, confident answers to the toughest questions.

If Pence can do this, he might persuade more than just self-proclaimed conservatives. He might win over an undecided that can’t pull the trigger for Hillary but also hasn’t been able to stomach Trump.

Sen. Tim Kaine: Safeway, Gallon-Sized, On-Sale Vanilla

Tim Kaine serves as a good complement to Hillary Clinton’s dairy-free, vegan, “I don’t trust that it’s real, but I don’t think I have a choice” ice cream. He’s not fancy, but Tim Kaine is the blue-collar, local grocery store, on-sale, gallon-sized tub — the type of vanilla that is a hit at family BBQs. No complaints, not even from grandpa.

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Sure, we’re skeptical of his eyebrows, his apparent use of mascara in his speech at the DNC convention, and his poor clothing choices. However, he’s a shade less left than Hillary, likable, and seems like he’s never lied to voters or been bought off by foreign entities.

Though he doesn’t have many “uh-oh” moments in his past, Hillary Clinton has left him with quite a lot to defend. He needs to endorse her liberal, er, now-socialist policies. If he seems hesitant, or gives a weak response, his affable smile won’t go very far with the undecideds. In other words, he needs to up his game to defend her — because standing in the background while she coughed didn’t work the first time around.

And while the non-fancy getup is at least approachable, dressing well doesn’t have to alienate you from your base. He should choose a simple dress shirt (no button-down collar, white or blue) and a tie from this decade. And, really, lose the mascara.

I don’t think the expected — “are you qualified to serve in the unfortunate event that the president is no longer able to” — will hold the same weight in this VP debate. Beyond the assumption that many of us would prefer to vote for one of these two candidates instead of what we have at the top of the ticket, we’re also hoping that a scoop of vanilla can tone down the next president responsible for the nuclear codes.

Beverly Hallberg is president of District Media Group. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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