The One Shocking Issue That No GOP Candidate Mentioned at the Debate

September 17th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

After nearly three hours of contentious debate between the top 11 Republican primary candidates running for president, there was virtually no conversation about student debt or college affordability—two major important issues for young voters in America. During Wednesday's GOP debate—the second of election season—young people yet again took a back seat.

Here's Why You Have More Student Debt Than Your Parents

Here's why you have more student debt than your parents...

Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Instead of addressing concerns that the majority of young voters say they care about—namely making college affordable and creating jobs for graduates—the candidates have taken turns commenting on their respective plans to defund Planned Parenthood, stop illegal immigration, end Obamacare, and overturn the Iran nuclear deal, among other talking points. In that respect, the debate so far, which was moderated and hosted by CNN, has been uneventful for Millennials.

The top 11 candidates include businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Cruz did note that, while students may face an inordinate amount of student debt, they can at least rest assured that he'll cut taxes so that they can expect jobs to pay off that debt.

In their efforts to appeal to conservative voters, these candidates appear to have stuck to the issues that play best to the party's primary voting demographic: older, while males. By doing so, however, these 11 presidential hopefuls have neglected to acknowledge key topics for young voters. This was also the case in the first GOP debate, as ATTN: previously reported.

Students across the U.S. are currently drowning in debt, and as the costs of a college education have continued to rise, more students are tuning in to debates, following speeches, and attending other political events in order to stay informed on how prospective leaders plan to address their concerns. If young people tuned in to Wednesday's debate, they did not learn much in that respect.

In last month's debate, hosted by Fox News, Rubio briefly mentioned his own personal experience with student debt, responding to comments made by Democratic presidential primary candidate Hillary Clinton, but not even that much could be said of the second debate. That's despite the fact that a Pew Research Center poll found that college affordability ranks as the most important issue for young voters.

To win over young voters, it stands to reason that these candidates should stop dodging one of their biggest priorities. It was the second debate of the season, and the lack of conversation surrounding student debt and college affordability has been telling.