The second Republican presidential candidates’ debate Wednesday offered little in substance and much more in slap-fighting, which CNN clearly eyed. One moment Jeb Bush is going after Donald Trump for something, and then Trump retaliates and somehow spins it against Rand Paul. And then Carly Fiorina jumps in against Trump, but then as Trump criticizes Fiorina, Ted Cruz butts in with a remark.
And poor Mike Huckabee whines about not getting any time to answer questions.
The headbutting will continue as long as more than five candidates are standing, and after Wednesday night, there will still certainly be more than five candidates standing.
From a millennial’s point of view, nothing about the Republican debate struck a chord. CNN’s moderators spent plenty of time on foreign policy, immigration and Planned Parenthood, according to FiveThirtyEight. These issues are only tangentially related to millennials but are targeted to the GOP base: middle-America, middle-class, white.
“Middle Class,” of course, is a code term I’ve only slightly explored. When politicians talk middle class, they’re normally talking about that American Dream nuclear white family out in middle America. I don’t think millennials immediately relate to being “middle class,” but I’m not positively sure. That’s a place where I plan on doing significant research.
One can say millennials would be interested in tax policy (most millennials are in the lower tax brackets and don’t want substantial taxation), SCOTUS (recent major decisions have affected plenty of millennials), vaccines (some millennials now have school-age children), climate change (we’re the environmentally conscious sort) and Kim Davis (LGBTQ is a millennial issue in some ways). But these topics, again, aren’t completely millennial topics, and they didn’t get headline billing in the debate.
Minimum wage is the most millennial-now topic listed by FiveThirtyEight, but that received minor billing. That makes sense. Minimum wage isn’t necessarily a “Middle Class” (as thought of by politicos) issue but an “inconvenient thing that affects those people we don’t want to talk about so, uh, states rights” issue. But let’s be real: minimum wage is a poor/broke American issue. That affects millennials plenty.
The drop: These GOP candidates are shunning millennials by not tackling the issues that matter most to them, which include college tuition and student loans; health care; income inequality; early-childhood education; environmental conservation; and police brutality. There’s one simple answer that’s not really as simple: the candidates think alike on these issues. Again, that’s not completely true, but then again, tell me which of the GOP candidates has positioned his or herself as a candidate for young America?
Rubio? He has style but very little substance. Anyone else? Please show it.