Donald Trump assured viewers near the start of Thursday's GOP presidential primary debate that “there’s no problem” with the size of his equipment, foreshadowing an event filled with attacks on Trump but short on actual issues.
Fox News’ moderators and Trump’s opponents went after his failed business ventures, his ever-changing policy positions and his clothing made abroad. But that meant there was less time to explore policy disagreements between the candidates on issues that are sure to factor into the general election.
Here are some topics that went ignored while Trump was rebutting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s suggestion that the businessman and former reality television star has small … hands.
Retirement And Social Security
Social Security is an increasingly critical income source for seniors and people with disabilities, but the program faces a gap in funding that will prevent it from paying out all of its scheduled benefits starting in 2034 unless changes are made. Trump has promised to protect Social Security from benefits cuts but hasn’t explained how he would do this. On the other side of the race, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders frequently accuse Republicans of wanting to privatize the program -- and both say they want to expand benefits.
The moderators didn’t ask about what the Pentagon calls a major security risk and the candidates didn’t bring it up, as per usual.
The nation’s heroin and opioid epidemic was discussed in debates before New Hampshire’s primary in February, because the state is facing a major crisis, but the candidates have moved on.
Alternatives To Obamacare
Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) both vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but neither bothered to say what he'd replace it with, and the moderators didn’t ask.
Unions, Workplace Protections, Paid Leave, Equal Pay…
Ohio Gov. John Kasich was asked about the minimum wage, but the moderators didn’t ask the candidates any other questions about the workplace issues that Democrats like to hit them on. Rubio was asked whether he had created any jobs and Cruz was asked how he’d bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, but that was about it.
Republicans have backed strict voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, eliminating same-day registration and other restrictions on voting access. But the candidates haven’t been asked about any of these measures in the debates.
The candidates were asked about the Flint water crisis, which was expected because the debate was held in Detroit, and Rubio said “the politicizing of it, I think, is unfair.” The Democratic presidential candidates, in contrast, have questioned whether the crisis would have gone on as long as it did if it had happened in a majority white city.
Criminal Justice Reform, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality…
These issues haven’t loomed as large for Republicans as they have for Democrats.
The Democratic candidates frequently spar over their respective higher education proposals to make college either debt-free (Clinton) or tuition-free (Sanders). But the GOP’s debates have been totally devoid of discussion on these issues, even though roughly 40 million Americans carry more than $1 trillion in education loans owned or guaranteed by the Education Department.
The GOP’s voters are angry at huge financial services firms, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the debate.
The word “women” was uttered twice during the debate. Check the transcript.