Actress and Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate Lena Dunham has broken her silence after the Democratic presidential candidate’s loss to Republican Donald Trump earlier this week, describing in a blog post the agony of being at Clinton’s election night party in New York City and insisting that she “never truly believed” that Trump could win.
The 30-year-old Girls actress, who had hit the campaign trail repeatedly for Clinton for months leading up to the election, described waking up on Election Day feeling “rosy” and “thrilled,” only to see the good feelings evaporate hours later at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, when the election returns came flooding in.
“At a certain point it became clear something had gone horribly wrong. Celebrants’ faces turned. The modeling had been incorrect,” Dunham wrote in an essay for her Lenny Letter blog. “Watching the numbers in Florida, I touched my face and realized I was crying. ‘Can we please go home?’ I said to my boyfriend. I could tell he was having trouble breathing, and I could feel my chin breaking into hives.”
Dunham said she left the party early and was informed of Clinton’s loss when a friend called and told her.
The actress wrote that as a result of her support for Clinton throughout her campaign, she received “threats and abuse” at a level she could never have imagined. However, she remained hopeful that her detractors represented “the dying moans of the dragon known as the patriarchy being stabbed again and again in the stomach.”
We believed that on November 9, they’d be licking their wounds while we celebrated. It is painful on a cellular level knowing those men got what they wanted, just as it’s painful to know you are hated for daring to ask for what is yours. It’s painful to know that white women, so unable to see the unity of female identity, so unable to look past their violent privilege, and so inoculated with hate for themselves, showed up to the polls for him, too. My voice was literally lost when I woke up, squeaky and raw, and I ached in the places that make me a woman, the places where I’ve been grabbed so carelessly, the places we are struggling to call our own.
Dunham made several get-out-the-vote trips for Clinton during her campaign, including early stops in Iowa and New Hampshire, and, toward the end of the campaign, in North Carolina.
In her essay, Dunham predicted it would be too difficult for Clinton supporters to attempt to understand the motivation behind Trump’s support, suggesting the task would be best left to “strategists” and “men in offices who need to run the numbers.”
“It should not be the job of women, of people of color, of queer and trans Americans, to understand who does not consider them human and why, just as it’s not the job of the abused to understand their abuser,” Dunham wrote. “It’s quite enough work to know about and bear the hatred of so many. It’s quite enough work to go on living.”
Dunham closed her essay by thanking Clinton for “taking every shot and standing tall.”
Read Dunham’s full essay here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum