MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed actress Susan Sarandon on Monday and right now I. Can’t. Even.
The surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told Hayes, “I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens” when he asked whether she would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Not committing to voting for Clinton wasn’t terribly shocking. Sarandon had spent a considerable amount of time knocking the former secretary of state’s record. But what she said about Trump was out of this world.
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: 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.
When Hayes asked Sarandon if she didn’t think that argument was “dangerous,” she said, “The status quo is not working, and I think it’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around.”
Let me state clearly that the passion with which Sarandon campaigns for Sanders is something we need more of in American politics. If more were as engaged and active as she is, our ongoing national discussion of the issues would be as dynamic as they would be thrilling. But the Academy Award-winning actress displayed the downside of such fervent participation: the inability or unwillingness of too many to see that their insistence on political purity could lead to calamity.
This is not Sarandon’s first time making the perfect the enemy of the good. In the 2000 presidential campaign, when misguided progressives believed that a vote for Vice President Al Gore was the same as voting for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, she was an active supporter of Ralph Nader. And we all know how that turned out.
It defies logic that a progressive would find anything redeeming about the Trump candidacy. Sure, the Republican presidential front-runner “will bring the revolution immediately” if, God help us, he’s elected. But that revolution would be fueled by a campaign that thrived on racism, xenophobia and misogyny. And, as far as we know, that revolution would involve deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, restricting all Muslims from entering the United States and alternately treating women like pretty prized possessions or objects of ridicule.
Clinton is not perfect. We all know it. And she would be the first to admit it. But it is monumentally insane to argue that a Trump in the White House would be preferable to a Clinton in the Oval Office. The Manhattan billionaire’s meeting with The Post’s editorial board and interview with the New York Times last week should disabuse anyone of that flawed logic. Even Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and no fan of Clinton, told Glenn Thursh of Politico that he prefers her to Trump.
If Sarandon truly cares about all the things she says she cares about, not only will she actively campaign against Trump but she will also vote for Clinton. At a minimum, to not do the latter is tantamount to casting a vote for the former. And that cannot possibly happen.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj