During the first Republican presidential debate last month, the candidates talked about Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump's extravagant wedding in Palm Beach a decade ago, but couldn't find the time to address climate change, gun violence, or inequality. The second Republican debate was hardly different. They were happy to debate the merits of the Spanish language, but managed to ignore these issues:
Gun Violence: Donald Trump briefly mentioned Kate Steinle, a woman shot in San Francisco this year by an undocumented immigrant, but neither he nor any other candidate mentioned gun violence, even though 89 people die from it every day in the United States.
Student Debt: Seven of every ten college seniors graduate with student loan debt. The closest anyone came to the subject was Senator Ted Cruz, who said that students are graduating with "loans up to their eyeballs." Carly Fiorina also mentioned debt, but a very different kind—the multi-million dollar deals that left Trump on the brink of bankruptcy four times. "You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people’s money," she said. None of the candidates offered any substantive solutions to ballooning student loan debt.
Paid Leave: While most Democratic candidates have called for at least twelve weeks of federally mandated paid leave, not one Republican candidate brought up the topic on Wednesday.
LGBT Discrimination: None of the candidates acknowledged that many Americans are discriminated against for their sexual orientation. In fact, Bobby Jindal argued that Christians are discriminated against for believing that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Race: Only one candidate, Rand Paul, suggested that America's drug laws are racist, saying, “Kids who have privilege like you do don’t go to jail. But the poor kids in the inner city still go to jail.”
Equal Pay: Bush mentioned that the average salary for a woman in Florida grew three times the national average, but no one else ventured near equal pay. What they all failed to mention is that women still earn only 79 cents on each dollar that a man earns.
Voting Rights: It's not surprise the candidates avoided this subject entirely, given that Republican legislators are trying to stall voting rights legislation on Capitol Hill.