Actress Susan Sarandon hit a raw nerve, even among some Bernie Sanders supporters, when she appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. Acting as a Bernie Sanders surrogate, she blasted Hillary Clinton and said that she might not vote for Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination.
A few weeks ago, I proudly cast my vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders. I think he is what this country needs to correct itself after decades of ceding ground to corporate interests at the expense of the middle class.
However, when I cast my vote I did not cast aside my sanity. If my first choice, Sanders, does not win, for the good of the nation, I will campaign and vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. In this instance I will be proudly pragmatic because the alternatives are catastrophic: Sen. Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. The former thinks he was anointed by God to lead the world, and the latter’s ego is so large he looks in the mirror and thinks he is God. Both men are dangerous extremists who could do irreparable harm to this nation.
Yet, Susan Sarandon believes that it may be necessary to place the nation in peril and jeopardize our future. She apparently believes that we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and that we may need to take our country to the brink of ruin before we can usher in a golden age of renewal.
As someone who loves Bernie Sanders, I want to offer some cheerful advice to my fellow travelers. Those of you who say Bernie or bust are doing a real disservice to the campaign. The Vermont Senator can only win the nomination if he woos Clinton supporters. There are many would-be Clinton voters who actually prefer Bernie, but are leaning towards voting for the former Secretary of State because they believe she has the best chance to win the general election. The way to court this large voting block is to talk about Sanders’ momentum and viability.
Instead, these overzealous Sanders supporters are offering contradictory messages. On one hand, they are correctly highlighting polls showing that Sanders outperforms Clinton in general election matchups. But then they undercut their point by proclaiming that winning the White House is not their first priority. Such incoherence, targeted at people who desperately want to win for the sake of controlling the Supreme Court, is a huge turnoff and is unpersuasive to the very people Sanders needed to get the nomination. They are essentially saying that Sanders is a winner, but they are okay with losing. People like me are not okay with losing, given the dire consequences.
Another issue is that these spirited Sanders fans are undermining a candidate who has fought to be taken seriously. By saying they will not vote for Clinton, they appear unsophisticated, ridged and doctrinaire. If you are going to act like you are a member of a cult, don’t be surprised if people treat your candidate like he’s a cult of personality. A mere cause célèbre, who is running to make a point – not to actually occupy the White House.
Furthermore, supporters like Susan Sarandon unwittingly propagate unfair stereotypes of the Sanders campaign. Right wing extremists like Rush Limbaugh refer to Sanders as “Crazy Bernie” and dismiss his voters as hopelessly naïve. So, what do some of his most ardent fans do? They play right into the hands of Bernie-bashers by acting irrational and loopy. It is time they get out of the Bernie Bubble and into the real world where decisions have ramifications that can last generations.
If you think I’m wrong, let’s not forget when self-righteous Democrats told us that there was no difference between the “corporate” Al Gore and George W. Bush. Tell that lie today to the families who lost loved ones in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To elect a Republican is to vote for endless war and more body bags. Not to mention the lives of immigrant families that would be cruelly targeted and torn asunder as they come under sustained attack from a Republican president.
There is a certain solipsism and arrogance to those who would not vote for the eventual Democratic nominee. I fought for more than 20 years for marriage equality and finally won. There are many people who have fought for decades to ensure women have the right to choose. African Americans and their allies are fighting to stop police abuse and racial profiling. Environmentalists are desperately trying to save the earth before the GOP destroys it though inaction on climate change. All of the hard-fought gains we have made on these issues, and so many others, are in serious jeopardy if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But apparently, some of these privileged Sanders supporters don’t give a damn about the fate of their gay or black friends. They are willing to let Roe v. Wade vanish and harm women. Personally, I’m offended by this attitude and it will likely cost Sanders votes, because these Bernie Bots don’t have the back of people who depend on a progressive Supreme Court.
Finally, electing Trump or Cruz will not bring the revolution. Instead the trauma caused to our citizens will have the opposite effect. It will likely make voters risk averse. The people will be hungry for a calm existence, which would usher in a period of staid politicians who promise serenity, security, and stability.
As the actual candidate, Bernie Sanders, has stated, the revolution is not about one man. If Bernie wins in Wisconsin, New York, and California he may yet be the nominee. But if he comes up short, his fervent followers should, ironically, follow the lead of televangelist Pat Robertson. He lost his bid for the presidency in 1988. He took his campaign mailing list and formed the Christian Coalition – a true revolution that, sadly, turned the Religious Right into a perennial powerhouse.
If Sanders supporters really want to make a difference, it won’t be in 2016. The more important year is 2018 – when the midterm elections come. Here’s why:
Columnist Jonathan Capehart explained in The Washington Post, between the election of 2008 and 2010, Democrats saw a plummet of 26 million voters, from 65 million people to 39 million people. Meanwhile, Republicans saw a drop-off of just 7 million voters, from 52 million to 45 million. The GOP took over the House.
Six million fewer Republicans voted for Senate candidates in 2014 than in 2008. But 14 million fewer Democrats went to the polls. That 42 percent drop in turnout allowed the GOP to take over the Senate. The 2014 election also saw the Republican majority increase in the House to its largest since World War II.
These are the elections that matter and determine if the Sanders campaign is a revolution or a trendy fad.
GO Bernie! But if he does not win, then GO vote for Hillary Clinton.
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Thank you so very much for this post. Well stated.
It is difficult to find one rational argument in this diatribe. The writer has completely missed the point. He doesn’t mention even vaguely why people say Bernie or bust. If one wants to argue against the idea, one needs to direct criticism at the rationale, not concoct straw men. Everything he is saying amounts to telling people Bernie isn’t receiving support because Bernie is right but he isn’t receiving enough support. Instead of tearing down Bernie’s most ardent supporters why isn’t he lambasting the people who are too chicken to express their support for Bernie.
Agreed. But it would be a lot easier to support Secretary Clinton enthusiastically if she were to take up three messages: we will lead a national movement of electoral districting reform to elect a Congress that represents Americans’ interests; we will overturn the Citizens United ruling, and most important, we will help Americans adapt to a new global economy, with far better basic education and credible job training that doesn’t require a university degree.
Hillary Clinton is the second most unfavorable candidate. The only one that polls worse is Trump. Shillary admitted she was Wall Street’s senator. The cognitive dissonance in your head, Wayne, is quite disturbing. She is also a war monger. The only anti-war candidate is Bernie. Trump would be the second choice because he seems to favor isolationism. Hillary voted for the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, and more. We already have a record of what Shillary has done. Trump has never been in a position to hurt anyone. Shillary has been and took full advantage.
Shillary supporters are the ones out of touch with reality. You are the Starbucks’s latte sipping entitled snobs. Bernie supporters are broke and angry (like Trump supporters). The difference is that we know where to direct our anger: Wall Street. Shillary is in their pockets and does not have best interests in mind. She is no friend to blue collar union workers, immigrants, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, or anyone else who isn’t on Wall Street.
She is nothing like Bernie. She only magically flipped progressive when Bernie decided to run. She was pretty much center right before then. She is a sociopath. She will manipulate and say anything to get the nomination. She is hungry for power and doesn’t have our best interests in mind.
As a rule, I always assume a candidate is lying when telling us about their positions or making campaign promises. Therefore, I judge them based on their history and track record. Bernie’s message has been consistent for four decades. Shillary’s track record has been abysmal.
Keep in mind, most Bernie supporters are independents. We may lean left, but we definitely aren’t part of the “blue” team or the “red” team. We are the ones that swing elections. If Shillary wants our votes, she is going to have to earn them. As for me, I will not vote for a racist hypocrite like her. At least Trump is honest with who he dislikes.
And stop accusing us of being young idealistic hippies who want free stuff, We are well educated and very aware of politics and other issues around the globe. We realize nothing is free. We are not asking for free. We contribute taxes. We demand that our tax dollars be used in an efficient and responsible manner. Currently, we have a lot of waste, fraud, and abuse. We throw money away on endless wars and expansion of the empire; yet we can’t find the money needed to fund our schools or provide healthcare to our citizens. That is pathetic. All we have to do is shift existing tax dollars from one thing to another.
no one cares what a republican thinks. any true democrat that cares which direction this country is headed will vote hillary OR bernie, no questions asked. No democrat ever bought up Benghazii or took it seriously after the W debacle. I wish wayne would stop letting them use their propaganda on his show.
I love Bernie But I will vote for Hillary . If a Rethug wins, the US Supreme Court will be run by right wing anti middle class pro wealth judges…for decades to come ! We must NOT allow that ! Sarandon may not have thought this through ( or been on weed ) Not voting for the Dem candidate will do great harm our country, ! Not voting at all ? ‘Despicable ‘ when so much is at stake !
To Hillary NO TPP NO FRACKING Bring back Glass Steagal !!