Checkered past

Hillary Clinton’s support among women in peril thanks to decades old scandals

(Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

When Hillary Clinton launched her 2016 campaign last April, women voters seemed like a natural base of support. Sure enough, she’s largely dominated the race to this point as the Democratic frontrunner, but now, the bedrock of her support — liberal women — is beginning to fracture thanks in part to the renewed swirl around her husband’s dalliances and alleged sexual misconduct, and what many see as her complicity in discrediting the women who spoke out against him.

According to a report by The New York Times, this fracture is embodied by one of Hillary’s most famous and outspoken supporters: Lena Dunham. The Times reports multiple sources, who declined to be named, recalling that Dunham, during a private conversation at a dinner party hosted by HBO’s CEO a few months ago, told others in attendance that Hillary’s conduct in the face of numerous allegations disturbed her. Publicly, Dunham’s enthusiasm for Hillary has been unwavering, but she declined an interview about the rumors with the Times, allowing a publicist to issue a response saying the depiction of her remarks was a “total mischaracterization.”

Still, many feminists are now rethinking how the women in Hillary’s circle attacked Bill’s accusers at the time. And many younger women voters are just learning about the sordid scandals for the first time, a phenomenon that could be benefitting Bernie Sanders, who is popular among young Millennial women voters. The resurfacing of the ’90s scandals could even be rippling into Hillary’s standing in the polls. Months ago, she appeared to be in complete control, sailing to the nomination. But a CNN/WMUR poll released on Tuesday shows that Sanders now holds a 27-point lead on Hillary among voters in New Hampshire. The primary in New Hampshire will be held February 8, the nation’s first primary and about a week after voting kicks off with the Iowa caucuses.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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