Tilting At Windmills
Hillary’s Danish Superfans
Hillary Clinton fans are anxiously awaiting the official launch of her campaign—and not just in the U.S.
They’re ready for Hillary … in Denmark. The former first lady is gaining a cult following among some Europeans, who are preparing unofficial Clinton campaign parties, crafting online images in her honor, and hawking their own stump swag online.
“Danes for Hillary” is picking up steam as Scandinavia’s very own version of Hillaryland. “It’s important to have support from as many people as possible,” said Mira Borggreen, 32, of Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city. “I was asked at one point, ‘Why do you care about an American candidate? It’s not someone you can elect or vote for.’ But for me, as a Dane, it’s very important who is the president of the U.S.”
Borggreen, who works for Denmark’s health care system and founded Danes for Hillary last year, told The Daily Beast she spends hours culling the latest Hillary news for her website, Facebook and Instagram accounts—where stylish photos abound of the erstwhile secretary of state in sunglasses and pearls.
She posted “Brooklyn in a da house,” the only English text on her site, after news broke that Team Hillary had reportedly signed a lease for campaign headquarters in the borough.
Federal law bans foreign nationals from contributing to political campaigns, but the Danish super-fan said she’ll find other ways to support Clinton. Members of Danes for Hillary are planning to book a trip to the U.S., organizing a campaign launch celebration, and brainstorming “phone banking” tactics to ensure Americans living abroad vote.
After Borggreen posted a photo of a Ready for Hillary drinking glass, a crush of other Danes wrote to her asking where they could get one. She says an American pal had to purchase it for her because the political action committee’s site wouldn’t take Danish credit cards.
“A lot of people are asking now, ‘Would we be able to go to the U.S. and campaign for her next year?’” said Borggreen, who has a master’s degree in American studies and wrote her thesis on the development of Hillary Clinton’s political philosophy. “She does have a huge following in Denmark.”
Another public supporter of Danes for Hillary is Anne Nygaard, deputy mayor of Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city.
“Being a female politician myself, I want to see more women in top positions,” said Nygaard, 25. “Hillary Clinton could be the first woman elected for president of the United States, and if I can push forward that message by joining Danes for Hillary, I am more than happy to do so.”
Nygaard said she soon hopes to get a degree in American studies and come to the U.S. to volunteer for Clinton.
“I actually just reached out to the team behind Ready for Hillary asking if they wanted a college intern from overseas,” she said, adding that her boyfriend volunteered for President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
“Even though I live in Denmark, I’m a global citizen,” Nygaard added. “I feel responsible for having an impact on the election in America and who becomes the next president.”
Meanwhile, Christian Kautz, a graphic designer who lives in Bonn, Germany, is the mastermind behind the “World of Hillary Clinton” website—a factory for glamorous social media collages of Clinton, interspersed with breathy messages like “Love to see you again… In the White House!” and “She’s so exciting to me!”
The 40-year-old doesn’t know if he’ll be able to volunteer for Clinton. For now, she’s merely his muse.
“Hillary Clinton is the most important female figure in the present and has earned a place in the history books as first female president of the USA,” Kautz told The Daily Beast.
Kautz said he was “immediately impressed” by Clinton’s 2008 campaign. A year later, he launched a website called “Secretary Clinton,” which eventually morphed into its current incarnation.
It’s a destination for Hillary memes, video clips and links to Kautz’s artwork—including a painting of three Hillarys hovering below a pancake, which beams out rainbows and pantsuits like a ’90s UFO.
After the media lambasted Clinton for refusing to release official State Department emails from her private server, Kautz posted an image of Hill with “Move on, People. Run Hillary!” Other homemade memes include “She can rock it!” and “Hello world, are you ready?”
Kautz also sells Hillary pillows and buttons on his website.
“As for the circumstance that I can not vote for Hillary Clinton, such is life,” Kautz said. “But I can still make my contribution, for a fairer America, a better world. I’m just a little fan from Germany, openly gay, but my heart beats for Hillary Clinton, the U.S. and [the] Democratic party.”