Scroll To Top

GOP Debate Recap round 2: The End of Public Education, Climate Protections and Affordable Health Care.

GOP Debate Recap round 2: The End of Public Education, Climate Protections and Affordable Health Care

With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, Republican candidates nationwide are rallying to compete for the GOP presidential nomination. Tonight, the candidates (minus the failed President Donald Trump) gathered for the second presidential debate. 

The conservative candidates included: 

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
  • North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum 
  • Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
  • Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley 
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence
  • Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina

Listening to hateful and out-of-touch conservatives on the podium can be exhausting. So we listened and took notes so you don’t have to. Here are our takeaways from the evening:

  • Conservative candidates would end safe schools and strong public education

If one thing was evident during the debate, it was that none of the conservative candidates care about American students. Instead of taking the opportunity to share ideas for revitalizing and strengthening public schools, the candidates threatened to shut down the Department of Education and touted anti-LGBTQ+ policies that target youth. 

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis preached about “school choice” and ineffective policies like “school vouchers” that cut funding from public schools and send it to unaccountable private schools.

DeSantis touted his extreme plans to ban books and enact dangerous curriculum changes throughout Florida public schools that harm LGBTQ+ students and educators. 

When asked about the role of parents in public schools, Vivek Ramaswamy went on a tirade against trans youth and advocated for hateful anti-LGBTQ+ laws. 

Public schools are essential to our communities, children, and society. Instead of investing in public education, the GOP candidates made it clear that they would rather shortchange students in favor of extreme policies that bolster their conservative agenda and harm our communities. 

  •  The conservative candidates will make health care more expensive 

Fun fact: when President Joe Biden and Progressives in the United States House and Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, America saw a historic effort to fight back against large pharmaceutical companies that are price-gouging the cost of essential medications. 

Under the new federal law, the U.S. government allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, caps the out-of-pocket price of insulin, and stops Big Pharma companies from inflating the cost of goods.

Not a single Republican voted for the bill, including current presidential candidate Tim Scott.

But, instead of offering new strategies for combating health care abuse by mega-corporations and making care more affordable, the GOP candidates running for president seemed to think the best way to move forward is to just stay out of it…

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum argued that the federal government should stay out of health care altogether. 

Nikki Haley agreed, advocating for more business in health care and “tearing” down the health care system from within.

And Mike Pence shared plans to shut down government programs that help Americans access affordable health insurance. 

We know that greedy corporations can’t be trusted to put people over profit, which is why President Biden’s initiatives are essential for rebuilding our health care system and holding corporations accountable. The conservative candidates on the stage tonight showed no interest in the health and safety of Americans. 

  • The climate will suffer under conservative candidates’ agendas 

During the last debate, the candidates were asked if human behavior causes climate change, something we know is true from decades of science. Shocker: None of the candidates spoke up in defense of the climate and several claim climate change is a hoax. 

Tonight was one-in-the-same, with most candidates echoing Vivek Ramaswamy’s call for ending environmental safeguards that protect our climate from large oil and coal companies. 

Mike Pence even bragged about Trump-era policies that stripped the United States of essential climate protections. 

The response from the GOP candidates, though disappointing, was not surprising. 

Ron DeSantis previously said that taking action against climate change is “left-wing stuff” and that he’s not a “global warming person.”

The effects of climate change are becoming more visible every day. And Americans deserve a president who will stand up for the climate and future generations. 

It’s just getting started

These plans to shortchange students, sell our health care system to the highest bidder, and do irreparable damage to the climate in favor of big payouts for corporate polluters are unacceptable. 

The candidates didn’t even get the chance to tout their plans to enact a national abortion ban and strip millions of Americans of reproductive health care. (ICYMI: our recap from the last debate covers the bases.)

We need better from our leaders. 

Sign up to receive updates from ABM about politics and opportunities to get involved. 

Together, we’ll hold conservatives accountable and rally for a better Minnesota.

Join Us.