Hookers for Hillary — a Nevada brothel's endorsement of Hillary Clinton — is, in one sense, a silly publicity stunt, the sequel to the Bunny Ranch's "Pimpin' for Paul" campaign for libertarian Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012.
Except that no one told the women at the brothel not to take politics seriously.
The Guardian's Maria L. La Ganga visited the Bunny Ranch and, while pointing out the brothel owner's opportunism in endorsing Clinton to get attention for his business, had conversations with the workers that show why the election really is important to them:
Taylor Lee, a 26-year-old from Houston, used to be a cake decorator before arriving at the brothel. It was hard work, she said, at low pay. She also waited tables, but her wages could barely keep up with the epilepsy medication that keeps her seizures at bay.…
"Being a server, helping out my family, and my epilepsy medication, which I had to have, was $10 a pill," Lee said. "That’s a lot for a 20-year-old to pay. I have seizures in my sleep. If I don’t take my medicine for one night, I will begin a seizure. And that’s a lot of recovery time. I sleep for a day or two afterwards and feel bad."
Politics, she says, is her favorite subject. She is a deep believer in Obamacare and its ability to change lives by allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be covered by health insurance. She plans to vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana when it’s on the ballot this November.
Health care comes up repeatedly. One woman La Ganga interviews explains that she's faring better economically as a prostitute than she did as a retail worker by saying, "I had Medi-Cal. I’m no longer on Medi-Cal. … I have private Kaiser [insurance] that I just pay."
For Nevada prostitutes, it turns out, like many other voters, economic issues outweigh just about everything else. (Nobody mentions abortion rights, for example.) La Ganga's whole story is worth reading. By taking a silly stunt seriously, it gives a platform to people not usually seen as political heavyweights: working-class women in their 20s and 30s who talk about how they struggled to pay for health care and feeding their kids.