Will Obama and Romney be asked about any of these issues? (Photo credit: Flickr user DonkeyHotey)

Last night’s vice presidential debate marked the second debate between the Romney-Ryan ticket and the Obama-Biden campaign. There are two presidential debates left to go, and both will be between Obama and Romney.

These debates are supposed to serve to educate Americans about the differences between the candidates. But we’ve done a review of the questions asked at the debates and we’ve found five important issues that have yet to come up at all. Here’s the list, in no particular order:

  1. Labor Unions: In the three hours of debate so far between the two campaigns, labor unions have not come up once. In a question related to education, Romney didn’t even resort to his normal teacher-bashing by attacking teachers unions. The absence of unions from the debate is stunning, given that research shows that the decline of unions in America has corresponded with the decline of the middle class.
  2. Economic Inequality: The word “inequality” didn’t arise once during the two debates. The moderators did not ask about the growing class divide in America nor the candidates’ solution to the problem.
  3. Climate Change: There hasn’t been a single question asked about global warming. This is at a time when scientists are predicting that entire island nations like the Maldives will disappear thanks to rising sea levels.
  4. The Drug War: The drug war is one of America’s greatest failings, and it’s estimated that half of our prison population is nonviolent drug offenders. But the issue simply didn’t arise during the debates.
  5. LGBT Equality: President Obama was the first sitting president ever to endorse marriage equality, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the debates. The Obama-Biden ticket was not asked whether it supports repealing the “Defense of Marriage Act,” and the Romney-Ryan ticket was not asked to defend its bigoted anti-equality positions.

Americans deserve to have a robust debate between the presidential candidates. Future moderators should take heed of issues that have so far not come up and make sure to address them in the future.