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What Was Susan Sarandon Thinking?

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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.



  1. elw March 30, 2016

    Susan Sarandon is an actress not a politician. Personally I am glad she is a Bernie supported, the more the better since I am one also. I heard what she said, I did not take it so literally to believe that she was talking about a large portion of Bernie supporter or to think that there are none who would do as she described. As a Bernie supporter, I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt – I doubt she meant her comment the way the author took what she said. Let the Republicans tear each other down – we are better than that.

  2. Otto T. Goat March 30, 2016

    Who cares.

  3. Theodora30 March 31, 2016

    What was she thinking? Apparently that her support of Nader worked out well….What a fool.

  4. I of John March 31, 2016

    Actors usually avoid politics for good reason. Somebody is bound to be offended somewhere. It just isn’t good business. Here is a case in point.

  5. marriea April 4, 2016

    I don’t know what people think a ‘revolution’ would turn be. One in which I see a lot of them taking selfies to prove they were a part of this revolution?
    When I hear Bernie talking, my first thought is ‘how is going to do that without the support of Congress and possibly the Supreme Court.?
    If people are thinking that automatctically their finances are going to change and the rich guys are going to get their. I don’t quite think it works that way.
    Nor do I think that their high tuition rates are going to disappear.
    When I listen to how some people think by the word they are using, it seems that with many they are thinking they could then live like the rich guys do.
    If that is the case, it brought to mind a friend once said about the cruxifition of the one called the Christ.
    It seems that the people of tthat era complained about the Romans. Christ purpose, people thought was to clear out the Romans so as they could then acquire all of the Roman spoils. Christ, so the story goes, is saying ‘I didn’t come here to destoy the Romans, but to destroy the Roman in you”.
    We have that Roman in us when we try and maintain the lifesyle and act like them when we live beyond our means. We want the lives of the ‘stars’ and go to extreme measure to have what they have, dress like they dress, buy the type of houses they buy.
    For every penney we have, they have thousands of dollars to back it up. We are constantly bumbarded with commericials that hint at a ‘good live’. Every year something new comes out and we rush to buy those unneccesary things like this is something that is life shattering if we don’t. We hate them because we can’t do the things ‘the big boys do. But why would you want to?
    It is no secret that the ones with has more access to things most of us want. It has always been. Oft timesthouse with have cheated or taken advantage of those without to achieve their goals. But if we didn’t play their games in the first place we wouldn’t be as victimized as many think they are now. The solution, don’t play their games. Hold ones cards close to the vest. They can’t cheat us unless we rush into that game.
    Very few times has the little guy been put in a position to play that game and the ones who think that they are now end, ends up back where they started from.
    Sanders can’t do anything about human studidity. and ego.
    No president can. Start at a local level. The mayors, local comitteepersonss, your state reps and governors hurt us more than any president ever could. Learn who your adversaries truly are.


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