No Bingo Win for First Presidential Debate
Just before the first Presidential Debate 2016 on Monday night, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) produced a bingo card to fill out over the 90-minute program. This is something they have done previously in advance of major public forums or policy addresses such as the State of the Union.
For this occasion, the center of the playing card was the word “women,” surrounded by key gender justice issues such as violence against women, harassment, the equal rights amendment, and campus sexual assault. The object, as in all bingo games, was to score by filling a line down, across, or vertically—the prize being the satisfaction of attention being paid to the concerns of women-identified voters and their allies.
What little attention was paid to any of these concerns happened in the first moments of the debate during the segment on prosperity. In this context one of the candidates mentioned, in cursory order: equal pay, affordable childcare, and family leave, with no follow up conversation or questions from the moderator. There were not enough squares filled in to come close to being able to call “bingo,” or to come away with any sense that other significant issues, like access to affordable birth control and abortion, received or will receive airtime at all. If so, this will follow the pattern of the primary debates for both major political parties.
Of course, the subjects that were covered matter to women, as women and as citizens: the overall economy, job creation, climate change, systemic racism, national security. But given the election-determining significance of the female vote, the lack of particular focus was more than noteworthy.
Following the debate—and ahead of the remaining scheduled ones, which will be more in the form of town meetings—the National Partnership for Women & Families issued an online poll. It asks whether the first presidential debate had addressed the issues that matter most to women and families, and which issues we would like to see discussed in greater detail at the next debate. Options include: economic and reproductive justice; high quality affordable health care; contraception and abortion care without barriers; quality maternity care; paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave; fair pay and a higher minimum wage; quality childcare; and an inclusive economy that lifts us all.
This survey, as well as their “We the Families” platform is available online.
View the 2016 party platforms: