The historic news that there would finally be female faces on U.S. currency only highlighted the GOP’s enormous problems with women. The day of the announcement, both Donald Trump and Ben Carson denigrated the change to honor abolitionist Harriet Tubman, with Carson suggesting a woman should go on the – basically non-existent – $2 note (out of the $1.2 trillion in currency in circulation, less than 0.001% are $2 bills) and Trump saying it was “wrong” to replace Jackson with a woman, calling it “political correctness.” When asked at the September 16, 2015 debate what woman she would add to the $10 bill, Carly Fiorina declined to give a name and suggested that women weren’t a “special interest group.” I agree that what’s important is an economy that drives the success of all people, including women, but changing our currency to reflect the heroes of our past – all of them, and not just the white men, doesn’t turn women into a special interest group, and isn’t “political correctness.” Rather, it is changing our institutions to actually reflect America’s history and reality.
Speaking of women, Trump’s unfavorability among women nationwide is about 70%, maybe as high as 74%. He’s winning despite women, and is predicted as GOP candidate to lose the women’s vote by the biggest margin in 50 years (remember Barry Goldwater?). On the other hand, women are carrying Clinton to victory in delegate-rich states like New York (where she garnered 61% of women votes) and they are expected to do the same in future primaries, including the next “super Tuesday” (CT, DE, MD, PA, RI). In 2012 the GOP clearly identified its own “gender gap” in the Growth and Opportunity project, but seems unable in this cycle to make meaningful change in its outreach. And the gender gap isn’t necessarily about traditionally women’s issues like abortion. Gender gap trends show women prefer policy positions that “help” the vulnerable. And that means wide-scale deportations and eviscerating Obamacare are not going to play well with this essential voter bloc.