In a new interview with actress Lena Dunham, Hillary Clinton urges young women make pragmatic political choices even when they can’t “get excited” about candidates.
Dunham, the star and creator of HBO’s “Girls,” is often portrayed as a spokesperson for the millennial generation. Her interview with the Democratic presidential candidate is set to be released Tuesday, but in a portion shared with MSNBC on Friday, Clinton defended young people, and encouraged them to get involved in politics.
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“Whenever I’m talking to young women about politics, I always say, look, you don’t have to run for office, you don’t have to be actively involved, but you do have to exercise your brain in deciding what you believe and who you will support,” Clinton said. “And sometimes, it is choices between people that none of whom excite you, but study it enough to figure out, OK, if I vote for this person over that person, I’m more likely to see progress on something I care about.”
Clinton went on to urge young women to not “get turned off by the negativity and nastiness that is unfortunately too much in our politics today.”
“You kind of can cut through that and say, look, I not only have a right, I have an obligation to make a choice. That’s part of the service I pay for living in our country. So I’m going to vote for X or Y. Not because I think that person is perfect, but it’s going to be better than the alternative. If you can’t get excited, be pragmatic and do it anyway,” Clinton said.
Clinton herself has been criticized, most recently in a Des Moines Register editorial Friday, for having difficulty exciting voters, even though qualified.
The former secretary of state, who has praised the often-maligned millennial generation in the past, also told Dunham she believes “the millennial generation is so public service oriented.”
Dunham thanked Clinton for saying that, since young people today – like young people of almost every era – are often accused of being overly self-involved.
And the former secretary of state said she hoped that public service would translate to political involvement. “I meet young people who are doing incredible non-profit projects, charitable, faith-based, all kind of great work. But I always ask them, are you going to do that work for the rest of your life?” Clinton said. “Because you’re helping one person, but there are many more people like that person who need help. That’s why we need political leadership and decisions that actually lift everybody up.”
Politics, Clinton added, “can seem cold, it can seem hostile, it can seem mean, all of that. I’m not sure it’s ever been any different, but now it plays out on the global stage and literally second by second we can follow what is or isn’t happening.”