10 Things Everyone On The GOP Debate Stage Actually Agrees On

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Break out the popcorn and uncork the rosé — the first primetime presidential debate of the season is on Thursday night. With the Republican presidential field more crowded than a Kardashian family reunion (and equally dramatic), it’s bound to be a fun one. A debate is an opportunity for candidates to tell voters what they believe, and why those beliefs are different from or better than their opponents’ (in approximately the same amount of time it takes you to brush your teeth). It’s the best chance they get to set the record straight, and set themselves apart from the pack. But as you watch Thursday, do not be fooled. There is little daylight between these candidates when it comes to the issues that matter. Their agendas are basically identical — and all about rolling back the clock for women. If they had their way, we’d all be stuck in the Mad Men era. We’re here to set the record straight. Here are 10 things everyone on the debate stage agrees on. 1. Women should not be paid equally for the same work as their male counterparts.
You might be living under a rock if you haven’t heard that men and women are paid differently for doing the same jobs. (On average, women make 78 cents for every dollar a white male makes, and for women of color it’s even less.) Equal-pay legislation has been proposed at the state and federal levels, only to be met with resistance from the GOP. Marco Rubio called the Paycheck Fairness Act “a welfare plan for trial lawyers.” Jeb Bush didn’t even know what it was. And Scott Walker even went out of his way to repeal an equal-pay law in Wisconsin. Guys, gender discrimination in pay is a thing, women know it, and you should do something about it. 2. Women should pay for their own birth control.
Obamacare has made our country healthier, fairer, and is putting money back in your pockets — around $255 per year, to be exact. That’s the average amount a woman saves on birth control pills covered under Obamacare. Every single Republican presidential candidate is hell-bent on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which means that if one of them were at the wheel, the burden of cost would go back on, well, you. 3. Employers should be allowed to discriminate against you because of your sex life.
Guess who cheered on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Hobby Lobby? The dudes on stage today. Guess what the Hobby Lobby ruling means for you? Certain employers are now allowed to decide whether you get birth control coverage in your health insurance plan. And with an uptick in so-called “religious freedom” legislation — thinly veiled attempts to discriminate based on gender, race, or sexual orientation — Republicans have been advancing new and inventive ways to single out women. (Our favorite is this new GOP bill that would allow your boss to fire you for being single and pregnant. Seriously!) 4. A woman should not be able to choose when she becomes a parent.
Yes, I am talking about abortion. A deeply personal decision that's between a woman and her doctor, right? These guys on stage want to add themselves to the mix. From chipping away at a woman’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortion to targeting funding for clinics that provide abortion care, Republicans have prioritized limiting access to health care for women at every turn. The Senate voted on a measure to defund Planned Parenthood just this week (it failed), with U.S. Senators and stage-mates Rubio, Cruz, Graham, and Paul voting to deny vital services to millions of women — while everyone else on stage cheered them on. These guys are not to be trusted when it comes to women’s health. 5. You should not be allowed to marry the person you love.
Hooray! It’s 2015 and you can marry whomever you love! Not so fast. The day of the historic Supreme Court decision to strike down anti-marriage-equality laws from coast to coast, the GOPers protested and pouted. Walker even proposed a constitutional amendment to let states define marriage (i.e., undo all the progress we’ve made). 6. It should be harder for people to vote, not easier.
Voting rights comprise the core of our democracy, and access to the voting booth is a hard-fought civil right. But Republicans have come up with new, creative ways to disenfranchise voters. Like women with recently changed last names. Elderly voters without driver’s licenses. Students who attend out-of-state universities. You get the picture. While each GOP candidate may have a different idea of the "how," they all agree that restricting the vote is the only way for Republicans to win. 7. DREAMer? Dream on.
Current GOP front-runner Donald Trump has turned quite a few heads with his anti-immigrant comments lately, asserting that Mexican migrants are drug-toting “rapists” and stating that the entire population of undocumented people living in the U.S. should be deported. I will leave open the possibility that perhaps a candidate or two disagrees with Trump on this. But they've all slammed President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which, if implemented, would free approximately five million hardworking migrants — including the parents of U.S. citizen children — from the threat of deportation. These are people who live in fear of separation from their families every day. 8. Climate change: If it’s real, we shouldn't do anything about it.
Pro tip: Don’t play the “I’m not a scientist” drinking game when this question rolls around. These candidates assert that climate change is probably not real, and if it’s real, we should do nothing about it. 9. Education is a privilege, not a right.
Last go-around, Rick Perry said he wanted to, “uh,” eliminate the Department of Education. This time around, he is not the only one. More than a few of the candidates want to get rid of the department and of critical funding that aims to make our education system a level playing field. Between promoting charter schools, eliminating Common Core, and working to disenfranchise teachers' unions, Republicans would destroy the foundation set to give students across the country a fair shot. 10. Donald Trump and his friends should pay fewer taxes than you.
This isn’t a new one for the Republican field. Democrats and Republicans have been debating this during, I kid you not, EVERY presidential election since people could watch TV in color. Republicans believe in giving tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, in hopes that it will trickle down to everyone else. Democrats believe that we should all pay our fair share, and that we all do better when everyone gets a fair shot. With millionaire and billionaire candidates like Jeb Bush and Donald Trump in the race, this cycle will be no different. So make no mistake — this is not your grandpa’s Republican party. This field takes extremism to a whole new level. We’re keeping tabs on these guys, and so should you. Or better yet — you should run for office. We all deserve better. And another glass of rosé. Marcy Stech is the communications director for EMILY's List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women to office at all levels. Follow it on Twitter at @emilyslist.

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