11 Topics The Vice Presidential Debate Didn’t Even Touch On, But Should Have
The Democratic and Republican vice presidential candidates sat down with CBSN's Elaine Quijano on Tuesday for their one and only debate of the general election. With the debate scheduled to last just 90-commercial-free-minutes, Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence clearly weren't going to be grilled on every issue raised during the course of the 2016 election. However, while Kaine and Pence responded to questions about the economy, immigration, foreign policy, and even faith and abortion, there were 11 prominent election issues the vice presidential debate didn't touch on.
As moderator of Tuesday's debate, Quijano attempted to squeeze in as many questions on the economy, immigration, faith, social security, foreign policy, law enforcement, racial relations, and voters' concerns about their running mates. Kaine was asked about preventing cuts to Social Security. Pence fielded a question about why Russian President Vladimir Putin would trust GOP nominee Donald Trump in the White House over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. However, many viewers expressed disappointment and frustration via social media over the fact that several key issues went completely unaddressed during the debate They included, for example, LGBTQ rights and religious freedom bills.
Here are 11 key issues not touched on in the vice presidential debate:
1. LGBTQ Rights
Despite Pence's controversial support of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law many said would have legalized discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, not one question regarding LGBTQ rights was asked during the vice presidential debate.
2. Climate Change & Environmental Policies
Pence recently reversed his position on climate change (he'd previously said it was "a myth"), saying "there's no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate." However, he has a long Congressional record of voting against environmental interests. While Kaine opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline and supports the president's Clean Power Plan he has reportedly supported offshore drilling and planned to put a coal plant in Virginia at one point in the past.
3. Women In The Military
Before he became the Republican vice presidential nominee, Pence made some controversial comments about women in the military. While arguing the Disney film Mulan was propaganda geared at changing public attitude towards women in combat, Pence claimed women in the military was a bad idea because of sexual attraction.
4. Citizens United Or Campaign Finance Laws
Despite being a major issue in the presidential primaries, there was not one question asked about money in politics, campaign finance laws, or Citizens United.
5. Income Inequality
Although income inequality has emerged as an important issue for many voters — two-thirds of Americans voiced dissatisfaction with the nation's current income distribution in a Gallup poll — the topic wasn't raised during Tuesday's debate.
Like their running mates, Kaine and Pence have significantly different opinions when it comes to healthcare. On top of that, the Affordable Care Act continues to be a divisive issue for voters. While the ACA was briefly brought up in the debate, neither Kaine nor Pence were asked any questions regarding their ticket's healthcare policies.
7. Education Or Student Loan Debt
The issue of making college affordable is one that has been raised a few times during the 2016 election. Unfortunately, it wasn't raised during Tuesday's vice presidential debate. According to PolitiFact, average in-state tuition at four-year colleges in Virginia rose 31.2 percent while Kaine served as governor from 2006-2010. Pence was one of the first state governors to oppose Common Core.
8. Gun Control
A spike in mass shootings has made gun control a major topic of conversation this election, with five people killed when a gunman opened fire in a shopping mall in Burlington, Washington, on Sept. 23. Despite voters' interest, neither vice presidential candidate was asked about gun control, although the topic was brought up by Kaine.
9. Supreme Court Nominations
With Congress still sitting on President Barack Obama's March nomination of Merrick Garland to fill Justice Antonin Scalia's vacant Supreme Court seat, the issue of Supreme Court nominations has become a major focus for some voters in the 2016 election.
10. Privacy & NSA Surveillance
While government spying and NSA surveillance isn't exactly a hot topic in the 2016 debate, it absolutely should be. We know a bit about where the Democratic and Republican nominees stand on the issue. Clinton wants greater transparency from the NSA and has voiced support for legislation aimed at restricting its cellphone surveillance. On the other hand, Trump has implied that security is more privacy and said he wouldn't object to removing limits placed on the NSA's phone surveillance earlier in the year. Still, it would have been nice to hear the vice presidential candidates expound upon their ticket's stance on the issue.
11. The Equality Act
The Equality Act seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the classifications federally protected against discrimination. It was endorsed by Clinton while Trump reportedly declined to support the bill. Given Pence's previous record supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation, a question on the Equality Act would have been merited.
Though these topics weren't covered this time around, there are two more presidential debates left before election day. It's possible, then, that these issues will gain the attention they deserve during one of the two events.