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Sanders’ Celebrity Cohort Split Over “Bernie or Bust!”

After Hillary Clinton’s near-sweep of five states on Tuesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign is in dire straits. While Sanders is still fighting for the nomination, he now trails Clinton in the pledged delegate count by a convincing 327 votes. Still, even if the rest of the primary season goes according to plan for Clinton — as it most likely will — there’s no guarantee that Bernie’s impassioned fans will turn their support to the Democratic nominee.

Enter the “Bernie or Bust” movement, in which the most diehard Sanders fans have announced their intention to stay home on Election Day, or vote for someone else, rather than supporting Hillary Clinton. This crusade is picking up steam, especially among Sanders’ celebrity devotees.

Susan Sarandon was among the first of Sanders’ Hollywood spokespeople to push for this ultimatum. Back in March, she made headlines with a controversial MSNBC interview in which she hinted — though she disputed such accusations later — that Donald Trump might “bring the revolution” if Sanders failed to attain the nomination. Then, during an appearance last Wednesday on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she said “I’m more afraid of, actually, Hillary Clinton’s war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall.” Though she also added, “but that doesn’t mean I would vote for Trump.”

Actress Rosario Dawson has been one of Sander’s leading advocates throughout this cycle. While she hasn’t aligned herself with the #BernieOrBust hashtag movement on Twitter, many recent posts criticize Clinton’s political record while boldly reaffirming Sander’s slogan #NotMeUs. Should Dawson throw a vote Clinton’s way come November, expect it to be cast with far less social media fanfare than we’re used to seeing from her, or maybe just a frowning emoji.

Still, not all of Sanders’ famous friends have pledged their undying loyalty to him. Last week on Real Time with Bill Maher, the brazenly liberal host tore into Sanders supporters who claim they’d rather vote for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. After outlining key differences between a Trump and Clinton presidency, Maher proclaimed, “That’s your choice. Don’t be assholes about it.”

The original Star Trek’s George Takei, a self-proclaimed “fan of Bernie Sanders” posted a video on Wednesday to promote a new slogan, #VoteBlueNoMatterWho. Calling upon his fellow Democrats to be realists, Takei argued that Sanders had still won through his invigoration of the progressive left, and reminded viewers that the Vermont Senator himself had said that Clinton would be a far superior choice to any Republican candidate.

Author Anne Rice withstood a flurry of online attacks and insults Tuesday night after posting an anti-Sanders status on her Facebook page. Rice, who months ago touted Sanders as the superior Democratic candidate, wrote, “I’m very sorry I ever contributed a nickel to Bernie’s campaign. I had no idea his followers would become obstructionist and go to the depths they have with the politics of personal destruction. They’re worse than Republicans.” The post has since been removed.

Endorse This: Susan Sarandon Is ‘More Afraid’ Of Clinton Than Trump

In an interview a few weeks ago with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, actress and activist Susan Sarandon ruffled more than a few feathers by asserting that “some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately, if he gets in. Then things will really, you know, explode.”

Sarandon said later that the ensuing media frenzy took her words out of context, but regardless of if she meant that Donald Trump’s ideas were compatible with Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution” — she doesn’t sound like much of a Trump fan — the damage was done: Sarandon became the face of the #BernieOrBust movement, which claims as a foundational principle that Hillary Clinton just isn’t acceptable as the Democratic nominee.

Yesterday, in an interview with Stephen Colbert, Sarandon continued to ride the line between condoning Trump and vowing never to support the Clinton campaign.

“How can I go back with her? I don’t trust her,” Sarandon said of Clinton’s support of the $15 minimum wage law in New York. Clinton supports a $12 federal minimum wage, and higher minimums at the state and local level where voters want them.

“I’m more afraid of, actually, Hillary Clinton’s war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall,” Sarandon said later, after Colbert asked about her interview with Hayes.

“But that doesn’t mean that I would vote for Trump.”

Maybe not, and maybe Sarandon is still genuine when she says that she believes Sanders will win the Democratic nomination.

But the systematic downplaying of the seriousness of Donald Trump’s proposals — especially by celebrities like Sarandon, who won’t face Trump’s “">deportation force,” a very real proposal which we must assume he will really employ — doesn’t reflect well on her or the #BernieOrBust movement.

Oh, Susan Sarandon

Susan, Susan, Susan.

This Democratic primary is starting to feel like the family reunion that should have ended weeks ago in a house full of relatives who refuse to leave.

Earlier this week, actor and progressive activist Susan Sarandon showed up for Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC to talk about why she supports Bernie Sanders.

Fine. I mean it. I was fine with that. I had already accepted that Thelma’s friend Louise was not going to support the first viable female candidate for president. I’m a teensy bit troubled that, for the first time, I don’t feel that pang of regret when I think of them driving off that cliff, but I’ve been hanging on to that for too long anyway.

Besides, I’ve got friends and people in my own family who are a lot like Susan Sarandon, whom I have long admired. Like her, they go on and on about the purity of their commitment, pausing just long enough to give me an unsolicited tutorial on why my support for Hillary Clinton proves I can’t possibly be a true progressive.

Please. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up with the Jack and Jesus wall. There they were, Jack Kennedy and Jesus, hanging shoulder to shoulder — a tag-team reminder that every fight for justice starts with a true believer and ends with a pragmatist to hammer out the details.

If you ask me, I’ve been a pretty good sport about this Hillary-Bernie thing. And, no, I don’t think that Facebook photo of our dog Franklin in the Hillary Clinton wig was too far. This is the problem when you’ve got an entire generation of Democrats who never spent time in a union hall. So touchy.

Anyway, back to Susan Sarandon. When Chris Hayes asked her if she’d vote for Clinton over Donald Trump, she said, “I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens.”

A friend whose passion for Clinton makes my support look like a symptom of anemia sent an immediate text quoting Sarandon, along with a few other words we don’t need to get into right now. I texted — is that a verb yet? — my response: “I’m sure you heard her wrong.”

She has sent me a screenshot of that exchange only about 100 times now, always with a link to yet another story about Sarandon’s inexplicably ridiculous comments that followed.

Thank you to Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart for chronicling the ensuing exchange:

HAYES: Right, but isn’t the question always in an election about choices, right. I mean, I think a lot of people think to themselves well if it’s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and I think Bernie Sanders probably would think this…

SARANDON: I think Bernie probably would encourage people because he doesn’t have any ego. I think a lot of people are sorry, I can’t bring myself to do that.

HAYES: How about you personally?

SARANDON: I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens.

HAYES: Really?

SARANDON: Really.

HAYES: I cannot believe as you’re watching the, if Donald Trump…

SARANDON: Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in then things will really, you know explode.

Well, that went about as well as you can imagine, particularly on social media. If you haven’t see any of the tirades, let’s just say Susan Sarandon is either the mighty prophet who will finally conquer Sisyphus or so blinded by her privilege that she can’t picture the visual disconnect of someone like her claiming she needs a revolution.

Sarandon has since denied — via Twitter, of course — ever saying she would vote for Trump.

“Of course I would never support Trump for any reason,” she responded to actor Jamie Lee Curtis. “If you watch the interview you’ll see that’s not what I said.”

When my friend sent along a screenshot of that tweet, I responded with a line from Sarandon’s character Annie Savoy in “Bull Durham”: “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self awareness.”

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

What Was Susan Sarandon Thinking?

In an interview Monday with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Susan Sarandon said that it was a “legitimate concern” that Bernie Sanders’s most passionate supporters wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, should she be the Democratic Party’s nominee. Then, she said she could see the logic in voting for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, because “some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately.”

Hayes clarified — did Sarandon mean “the Leninist model” of voting for Donald Trump? Picking the worst possible candidate in recent history in order to “heighten the contradictions” between Trump’s decisions in office and the newly heightened potential for a real “revolution”?

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Sarandon responded. “Some people feel that.”

This campaign cycle has seen the Democratic Party maintain some level of stability, even though it’s been thoroughly shaken up by a successful insurgent candidate and the huge viral movement behind him. Compared to our Republican friends, Democrats — even new, energized Democrats — have kept a level head and our eyes on the ball: winning in November. And not only the presidency. If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president, which looks likely, we could take the Senate and even, maybe, the House of Representatives.

But if Sanders supporters, including myself, take our cues from Susan Sarandon, we can blame her ideology for the upcoming Trump presidency. And more than that, we can blame her ideology for the dysfunction of our politics.

Though Sarandon took to Twitter after her remarks to clarify that she would “never support Trump for any reason,” her ideology remains the same: that Bernie Sanders represents a “political revolution” against “establishment” politics, and that this establishment itself is a greater threat to American democracy than even the Republicans’ most extremist views.

If you believe this, so be it. But I would hope you consider a few things before doing so.

Do you know your options for your local congressional race? Who most closely aligns with your views? What about among candidates for the Senate? For governor?

These are the real “establishment.” These are what Bernie Sanders would need, as president, in order to ensure his über ambitious legislative agenda has a snowball’s chance in New York’s unusually warm winter.

When Bernie Sanders talks about a “revolution,” it is this: a revolution in political pressure on all levels of government. He wants to do more than he was ever able to do as an independent senator from Vermont.

Winning the presidency would be a huge mandate, but what if Sanders loses? Susan Sarandon, to take her word for it, wouldn’t mind if Sanders supporters “brought on the revolution” by electing Donald Trump.

These are two completely different revolutions.

One requires democratic engagement, vigorous debate, political organization, and systematic, long-term effort.

The other is a vain hope that the people most at risk of a Trump presidency — immigrants, refugees, Muslims, the poor, women — would be so at risk as to prompt some larger push back. To be honest, I really don’t know what kind of “revolution” this is. Protests in the streets? Tea Party obstructionism?

Surely, something will happen if Donald Trump becomes president and makes good on his promise to find and deport upwards of 11 million people, ban Muslims from entering the United States, and start trade wars with China and Mexico. It’s simply unavoidable.

But I would hope whatever happens, should Bernie Sanders lose the nomination — or win it and lose the presidency — fits his definition of revolution. We need a political revolution. Americans are traditionally very bad voters. We’re typically disengaged from politics. Our political media doesn’t hold our political leaders accountable, and neither do their constituents.

If we accept Sarandon’s definition of revolution, which requires installing what would be the worst president in a century, surely, none of that will change.

If we accept Bernie’s definition, we can have it all, even if he loses: a Democrat in office, and millions upon millions of politically engaged Americans holding her feet to the fire.