Candidates vying for their shot at the White House in 2016 stepped into the spotlight this week for a series of interviews, debates, and forums in the hopes of highlighting why they are best suited for the presidency.
Amid all the chaos, you may have overlooked Ben Carson comparing abortion to slavery, John Kasich attributing the gender pay gap to paid family leave, and Martin O’Malley releasing his “Worker’s Bill of Rights.” Here are the stories on the campaign trail you might’ve missed this week:
Ben Carson Promises to Confront Supreme Court on Abortion, Like Lincoln Did ‘With Dred Scott‘
Ben Carson fell back on comparing abortion to slavery again, this time claiming that Roe v. Wade should be confronted by the next president in the same way President Abraham Lincoln took on slavery in Dred Scott v. Sandford.
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Speaking on Catholic television network EWTN as part of its “Candidate Conversation” series, Carson said he would be willing to sign anti-choice “personhood” legislation if elected president in order to confront the Supreme Court on the topic.
“Yeah, I would definitely be willing to engage in that kind of confrontation, you know very much the same way that Abraham Lincoln was willing to engage in confrontation with the Dred Scott case,” Carson claimed, according to Right Wing Watch.
“[Lincoln] felt that slavery was immoral, it was the wrong path to take. And the Supreme Court was defending slavery as they defended several things that were incorrect. We have a history that shows that they are not infallible, and therefore we shouldn’t simply submit to something we know to be wrong,” Carson said.
“There is not only the right to intervene, there is the duty to intervene,” Carson concluded.
Conservatives have long used the Supreme Court’s notorious decision in Dred Scott, which upheld slavery by ruling that Black Americans were not U.S. citizens, as proof that the Court sometimes gets things wrong.
But Carson’s comparison ignores that Roe expanded—not drastically limited—the rights of millions of people in the United States.
Carson has repeatedly jumped to compare abortion to slavery throughout the course of his campaign, most notably telling NBC’s Chuck Todd that those who have abortions are like slave owners who “thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave.”
Martin O’Malley Unveils “Worker’s Bill of Rights”
Former Maryland Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley rolled out his “Worker’s Bill of Rights” on Thursday, outlining 11 key areas for workplace reform.
O’Malley’s long list of worker’s rights included promises to help workers “balance work and family life” by supporting the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would mandate 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or sick family member. The plan set a goal of guaranteeing that no family “has to pay more than 10 percent of their income on safe, affordable childcare in a given year,” which would be accomplished through the expansion of federal child care tax credits.
Elsewhere in the “Bill of Rights,” O’Malley vowed to provide workers with more predictable schedules, promising to “lobby for, pass, and implement the Schedules That Work Act,” a bill introduced last July by House Democrats that would have regulated unstable work schedules, including placing workers “on call.”
The legislation would have helped address how unreliable scheduling practices “disproportionately affect low-wage workers and workers in retail, food service, and cleaning occupations, and make it hard for these workers and their families to maintain stable child care, care for other family members, pursue career development or other education, get or keep a second job, or take care of their own health,” according to a press release on the bill.
O’Malley’s platform also called for the implementation of a “living wage” by raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, protecting collective bargaining, and enacting the Paycheck Fairness Act to end pay discrimination.
Although Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) have both publicly supported many of the same ideas, a spokesperson for O’Malley’s campaign told the Huffington Post that the candidate was the first one to offer a comprehensive package to address them.
“No other candidate has laid out in such detail the specific actions they would take to strengthen workers’ rights and increase wages — beyond vague, big-picture ideas or Republican-lite proposals,” Sean Savett told the publication.
Kasich: Paid Family Leave Hurts Equal Pay Efforts
Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich came out against federal paid family leave legislation last Friday, claiming that such mandates hurt equal pay efforts.
Speaking at a town hall event in Hampton, New Hampshire, Kasich advocated against paid family leave, arguing that it should be “up to employers to try to be creative about” these policies and that women instead need better telecommuting policies and more support to stay at home.
“The one thing we need to do for working women is to give them the flexibility to be able to work at home online,” Kasich said, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“And we need to accommodate women who want to be at home, having a healthy baby and in fact being involved, however many years they want to take care of the family,” he continued.
The governor went on to blame paid parental leave policies for inhibiting equal pay, claiming, “When women take maternity leave or time to be with the children, then what happens is they fall behind on the experience level, which means that the pay becomes a differential.”
During a different town hall event later in the day, Kasich said he was unsure about whether he supports a mandate on paid sick leave.
Kasich is far from the only member of the Republican primary field to voice opposition to paid leave policies—Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush have also spoken out against federally mandated parental leave.
Just one Republican primary candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), has come out with a paid family leave plan. Instead of a federal mandate, Rubio has proposed a tax break for companies who offer the benefit, a move criticized for doing little to broaden access to leave.