All the things that were left unsaid during the first presidential debate and why it matters

What parents need to know about President Trump's first debate against Joe Biden.

Presidential debate
CNN/Screenshot

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Parents in America have been living in survival mode for half a year now. Mothers are depleted and burned out, but most plan to use some of their precious-little energy to vote in the upcoming presidential election. According to a recent survey by Peanut, 93% of moms will be voting on November 3.

The "mom vote" will be very important in this election. The Democratic Party is counting on moms who are angry with President Donald Trump, while a Republican PAC called Moms for Safe Neighborhoods hopes its 30-second ad is scary enough to convince suburban moms to re-elect the sitting president.

But this election isn't about mom rage versus maternal fear. It's about looking forward to a future where both are reduced. That is what America's moms really want, and need.

The two men vying for the leadership of America would do well to remember that, and should be paying more attention to the issues that impact families every day.

On Tuesday night when they took the debate stage for the first time, President Trump and Joe Biden talked about a lot of topics (sometimes at the same time), but they missed some real opportunities to talk to American mothers.

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Here's why that matters:


The pandemic got airtime, its impact on parents didn't

The candidates traded barbs about the COVID-19 pandemic, but they failed to talk about how this pandemic is impacting parents, especially mothers.

We know that mothers of young kids are three times more likely than fathers to have lost jobs during the pandemic. Moms have lost 2.2. million jobs, a new analysis from Pew's Stateline finds. American mothers are in crisis, but childcare was not mentioned during the debate.

Chris Wallace gave the candidates plenty of opportunities to talk about a plan for economic recovery, but neither candidate talked about how they're going to prevent working mothers from being set back by a decade or more.

So many useless things were said, but so many important words were left unuttered.

Healthcare got airtime, but America still doesn't have a plan for affordable births.

Systemic racism was recognized, but white supremacy was not unequivocally condemned by the sitting president.

Three men were on stage, and no one mentioned how Black mothers are dying in the United States.

The message to the candidates is simple: American mothers are prepared to vote, so you better prepare to give them something to vote for. That debate didn't do it. There are two more to come.

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