Lena Dunham traveled through Iowa with humor and conviction Saturday, telling the state's early caucus voters why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has her vote.
“Nothing gets me angrier than when people say I’m voting for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s female,” Dunham said at her first event Saturday. “[It’s] as if I have some feminist version of beer-goggles, lets call it ‘estrogen blindness,’ and I kind of walk like a zombie towards the nearest [woman]. This assumption is condescending at best and it is sharply misogynisitic at worst.”
But as a self-proclaimed feminist, Dunham told audiences that she thinks a female commander-in-chief is what the country needs.
“While Hillary Clinton’s anatomy is not the reason I’m voting for her, there’s nothing that would send a stronger message to this country, and to the world at large than sending a competent, strong, essential woman to the highest office.”
And as Dunham’s unapologetic and candid comments in a "HILLARY" dress suggest, the HBO actress may serve as an antidote for Clinton’s politically correct, pantsuit-wearing personality.
“Lena can say things that Hillary wants to say but can’t,” one audience member told Time.
Dunham has become “a crucial ambassador for the Democratic presidential candidate as she looks to solidify her support among millennial women,” writes The New York Times.
Clinton could use Dunham’s pull on the Millennial front, as she is currently losing this demographic to her Democratic competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
In an October survey by NBC News, only 26 percent of Millennials supported Clinton which is far less than Sanders’ 54 percent. And a November survey of 18 to 29-year-olds by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found that 35 percent of Democratic primary voters favored Clinton, compared to 41 percent who favored Sanders.
And both candidates know they can’t underestimate the power of the Millennial vote: It could represent 36 percent of eligible voters in the 2016 presidential election.
The competitive Democratic race has invited celebrity endorsements on both sides. Besides Dunham, some of Clinton’s supporters include singers Katy Perry, Beyonce, and Snoop Dogg as well as actresses Olivia Wilde, Kerry Washington, and Jennifer Lopez. Sanders has less but still notable celebrity supporters including musician Dave Matthews, comedian Will Ferrell, and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey.
As both Sanders and Clinton try to win over millennials, young voters may agree with Dunham’s "it’s not about gender" argument – even if it actually ends up helping Sanders.
“It would be cool to have a woman president, but that’s not why I would vote for her,” Maggie Mineart, 26, told the Guardian after Dunham’s speech in Iowa. “If I wanted to just vote for a woman, I could vote for Carly Fiorina too, but I’m not.”
And Ashley O’Leary, 24, told Time after Dunham’s speech that celebrity endorsements and gender don’t impact her political beliefs.
“When you take all the celebrity away, I find Bernie honest and genuine and I think he’s with the people more than she is” says O’Leary. She wants a fellow female president, but gender doesn’t usurp policy. “It would be a huge milestone. But it needs to be the right woman to take that spot. I don’t know if this is our time.”