Wary of Clinton, Sarandon and Silverman Make Case for Once-in-a-Lifetime Sanders Campaign
Celebrities' critique speaks to widespread distrust of the establishment candidate, pointing to vulnerabilities of Clinton campaign
Susan Sarandon and Sarah Silverman suspect another presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders won't come along for a very long time. Or ever.
Actor and activist Susan Sarandon, an outspoken Sanders supporter, caught MSNBC's Chris Hayes by surprise during an interview on Monday when she told him she's not certain she could ever bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton.
When Hayes lobbed the accusation that rejecting Clinton in a Trump v. Clinton general election might be "dangerous," Sarandon argued that a vote for Clinton is a vote for the status quo—which is itself a dangerous decision. "If you think that it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now," Sarandon said, "then you’re not in touch with the status quo. The status quo is not working."
"If we continue the way we are with a militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with the threats to women’s rights," Sarandon continued, "and you think we can’t do something huge to turn that around because the country is not in good shape? If you’re in the middle class, it’s disappearing."
Sarandon's profound problems with Clinton's candidacy reflect a deep distrust of the former secretary of state shared by many voters, and signals potential trouble for the Democratic establishment as the election continues. Clinton and Trump both have the lowest favorability ratings of any presidential front-runners since CBS began polling voters on the question in 1984, as Common Dreams reported last week.
"Voters are sending clear signals that Clinton may jeopardize the Democrats ability to win in the general election," social policy analyst Laurie Hanson Riegle pointed out in the Huffington Post, "making her a weaker candidate than Sanders would be in November."
Throughout the interview, Sarandon specifically condemned Clinton's acceptance of high speaking fees from Wall Street and campaign donations from industries such as fracking and Big Pharma.
Hayes countered by presenting the defense Clinton often offers regarding her acceptance of corporate campaign contributions, arguing that "there are a lot of politicians—Barack Obama is the one that Hillary Clinton cites—who have done things to effectively rein in industries, or reform industries, that they’ve taken money from."
Sarandon scoffed in disbelief. "I’d like to see that," she said. "I don’t buy it at all, because she’s been selling fracking all over the world. There’s her talking about Monsanto, and not talking about Roundup and what’s in it, or what it’s done to our economy."
"What makes you think that once she gets in, she’s going to suddenly go against the people that have given her millions and millions of dollars?" Sarandon quizzed Hayes. "I think that’s incredibly naive and egotistical to think that suddenly she’s going to see the right."
Of Sanders' calls for universal healthcare and free higher education, Sarandon said, "We’ve been told for so long it’s impossible. It’s like we’ve been in this bad relationship and now we have to break up with the guy because we realize we’re worth it. We should have these things."
Watch the whole interview with Sarandon here:
Comedian Sarah Silverman struck similar notes to Sarandon on Monday, as she released a new video urging viewers to vote for the Vermont senator.
As a feminist, Silverman says, she was once excited to vote for Clinton: "A Democratic woman president? Yes please! But she takes a lot of money from big corporations and banks," Silverman laments, "the very people she says she’s going to stand up to."
In contrast, "Bernie is not for sale. This man is running for president on a platform which is just a giant 'fuck you' to the billionaire class."
To those viewers who might fear Sanders' democratic socialism, Silverman retorts, "Good lord, don’t worry, under President Sanders you can still become a super-rich asshole! It’s just that your fellow hardworking citizens don’t have to feed their children cat food in order for you to do it."
"Do you like firefighters?" Silverman continues. "Is that something you like having around? That’s socialism. That’s a socialized program. That’s a program that the government pays for so that everyone can have it. It’s not un-American. It’s wildly American."
Silverman also spoke to voters concerned about Sanders' electability: "A lot of people will vote for Hillary because they don’t think Bernie can win. That is what my shrink would call a self-fulfilling prophecy. All you have to do is look at his track record. He’s been on the right side of history every single time."
Sarandon and Silverman both described Sanders as a once-in-a-lifetime candidate.
"This is not a shot that we’re going to have again in my lifetime," Sarandon argued on MSNBC, "to have a candidate who’s so morally consistent, whose judgment proves to be true but who does it at a time it’s not popular, when it’s not comfortable."
"I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who genuinely represents the interests of people, not as a stance, but as a core belief, as his guiding principle," Silverman said. "Don’t be suckered into an American dream Ponzi scheme that was never intended to include you. Vote!"
Watch the rest of Silverman's video here: