Statement by Chair of NOW PAC Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the Nov. 20th debate finally included questions on paid family leave and #MeToo, an updated analysis by the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) found that of the 470 questions asked of the Democratic presidential candidates so far, only a handful addressed topics most important to women voters.
In a detailed review of every debate held so far, NOW PAC found:
- 14 questions about education – but zero were about sexual assault on campus.
- 34 questions about gun control, but zero questions about domestic violence, despite the fact that 52 women each month are shot and killed by an intimate partner.
- Only one question asked to one candidate about LGBTQIA+ rights – even though the Supreme Court is currently hearing historic cases on LGBTQIA+ job protections.
- 42 questions about immigration – but zero about violence against immigrant women.
NOW PAC hand-delivered our analysis to Politico, which will co-host the next debate, as well as a “Decisive Dozen” suggested questions that are not “niche issues” or “identity politics,” but urgent topics that are on the minds of millions of Americans. We also submitted these questions to co-host PBS NewsHour.
Additionally, NOW supports the nationwide #AskThemMore campaign about the issues that face women and their families and launched a social media campaign to encourage the moderators to ask the candidates about these concerns.
The sixth debate, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 19th, will be one of the last before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3. In early stages of the primary, candidates like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris had to proactively bring up issues like abortion and equal pay – and their voices will be extraordinarily missed on the debate stage.
Our message to the moderators: Get the candidates on the record on the issues that women and families live with, worry about, and have to overcome each and every day.
Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-570-4745