Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

GOP Debate: A Liberal Perspective



From my view, this debate was heavily focused on international affairs, and the Republican party failed to address many domestic issues that need to be handled by the next president of the United States.  These candidates overwhelmingly spoke about the Iran nuclear deal and relations with Vladimir Putin and Russia, but failed to discuss issues of climate change, racial injustice, income equality, and affordable education, just to name a few.

While healthcare wasn’t a heavily discussed topic during the debate, Planned Parenthood was a big topic of discussion.  All of the Republican candidates are in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.  Some candidates, including Chris Christie, even supported a government shutdown in order to cut it from the budget.  Jeb Bush even said, “I’m not sure we need to spend half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,” in a previous interview, but when Trump confronted him and asked him why he said that, Bush ignored him and discussed how he supposedly helped women in his position as Governor of Florida. Trump retaliated by saying that he, “respects women,” yet he also supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood, which seems contradictory.

Carly Fiorina began to describe one of the controversial videos that sparked the Planned Parenthood debate; however such a video does not exist.  Many of the videos that the Republican candidates continue to refer to were heavily edited and created by anti-abortion interest groups to help further their own personal agendas.  It seems that these candidates don’t find women’s health to be a priority. They fail to realize that Planned Parenthood helps men as well, and only three percent of their services are abortion-based procedures.  Planned Parenthood’s main foci are to provide cancer screening, contraceptives, and STD testing and treatment, and defunding this program is going to be a detrimental setback in both healthcare and gender equality.

Possibly the most interesting part of the entire debate was one of the closing questions. Moderator Tapper asked, “Earlier this year, the Treasury Department announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill. What woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?” Astonishingly, many of the candidates were unable to name a woman who has impacted American history. While some candidates mentioned Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, and Abigail Adams, other candidates chose people who would never even be considered, including their wives, mothers, and daughters. Jeb Bush even mentioned Margaret Thatcher, who was the Prime Minister of England. These candidates did not take the question seriously, or some were genuinely unable to produce an answer; both of these hypothetical explanations just highlight the lack of female representation and respect in the history of our nation.

The issue of gay marriage was only discussed in terms of the Kim Davis case in Kentucky, and those candidates that spoke made it clear that they oppose the Supreme Court ruling.  If we are unable to uphold human rights in our own nation, then I don’t think that we as a nation can go to developing nations and punish them for “human rights violations.” These candidates are oblivious to the fact that inequity is largely existent in our nation, and they seem to have no plans to combat it. In my view, if we as a nation want to lead by example, we need to set a good example first.  Otherwise, the United States will be criticized for hypocrisy, and we really won’t be treated as the global superpower if we have such a negative connotation attached with our name.