Republican candidates falter when asked about new female face of $10 bill

Laura Murphy, Contributing Writer

The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

On Sept. 16, 11 contenders for the high honor of the Republican presidential nomination stood up and debated what the GOP should focus on in the upcoming 2016 election. A variety of issues were addressed, including foreign and domestic policy, women’s reproductive rights, universal health care and the best way to “bring America back.”

It was expected that the recent debate over who should become the new female face of the $10 bill did not make the forefront of the debate. When moderator Jake Tapper asked each candidate’s opinion on the topic as a ‘light-hearted’ end to the debate, the results were surprising to say the least.

One of the more interesting responses was provided by Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

“I would go with Ronald Reagan’s partner, Margaret Thatcher. [It’s] probably illegal, but what the heck,” Bush said. “A strong leader’s what we need in the White House, and she was a strong leader.”

Leadership skills aside, Thatcher was a surprising choice considering her status as a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and non-U.S. citizen, but Bush was not alone in bringing up unusual candidates for Alexander Hamilton’s replacement. Ohio Governor John Kasich also suggested another non-citizen, Mother Theresa, while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former physician Ben Carson both suggested members of their own families. Donald Trump also jokingly brought up the idea of his daughter, Ivanka Trump, becoming the new face of the bill. 

“Well because she’s been sitting for three hours, I think my daughter, Ivanka, who’s right here,” Trump said. “Other than that, we’ll go with Rosa Parks. I like that.”

The sentiment of Rosa Parks becoming Hamilton’s replacement was also expressed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. While Rosa Parks, of all the suggested individuals, was probably the most appropriate, it was strange to see three separate candidates name her. It seems that it is difficult for Republican candidates to think of politically relevant women that are both from the United States and not directly related to them. Even if the selection pool was just limited to those women involved with the Republican Party, surely more women could fit the criteria.

In a time when women’s rights are still being heavily debated, it is unsettling to see how uninformed the potential candidates for the presidency are about culturally and politically relevant female citizens of the United States. Over 200 years of American history exists to draw names from, yet only four viable options surfaced during the most recent debate. Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson and Harriet Tubman were all brave and pioneering American women whose names never came out of the candidates’ mouths.

In future debates and policies, I hope the Republican candidates are prepared to understand that women and women’s rights are issues that cannot simply be tacked onto the end of meaningful political discourse. As the majority in the United States, but the minority in all institutions of power, there is still a long way to go for true equality to be reached for females this country. Acknowledging the culturally and politically influential female leaders on our currency is a great way to start, if only we could remember their names.