Lead Sanders supporter might vote for Trump to bring “Leninist” revolution

Top Bernie Sanders supporter, actress Susan Sarandon, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, it might be better to vote for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton.

When pressed by an incredulous Hayes, Sarandon said that Donald Trump might “bring the revolution immediately.”

Hayes then clarified, “you’re saying the Leninist model?”

Sarandon replied “yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“Don’t you think that’s dangerous?”, Hayes asked.

Dangerous indeed.

Sarandon’s odd comments come on the heels of new complaints from the Clinton camp that Sanders has gotten too negative in his campaigning against Clinton. Sanders has been calling for more debates than were previously negotiated, and Team Clinton has responded that they’d consider it if Sanders toned down the negativity.

There are a few problems here for Sanders, and Democrats.

1. Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for this country, and for many of the issues that progressives care about. Donald Trump is pro-life, against renewable energy, pro-gun, against regulating greenhouse gases, for repealing Obamacare, against immigration, and against marriage equality. And that’s just for starters.

No one should be suggesting that anyone vote for Trump rather than the Democratic nominee.

2. Sanders has been fortunate in that Clinton has not played the “socialist” card against him during the primary. (As for Sanders being a “democratic socialist and not a ‘real’ socialist, that point is debatable — and in any case, the nuance will likely be lost on an American public that tends to abhor anything with the “socialist” label.) The Republican nominee will be much less reticent, as Trump already routinely refers to Sanders as a “communist.”

Lest anyone claim that the terms socialist and communist no longer carry the sting they once did in American politics, I think that’s wrong. Americans still associate socialism with the Soviet Union, and many Americans still have concerns that many longtime American socialists have, in the past, been too sympathetic to left-wing (often communist) dictators. And there’s also concern that American socialists aren’t “American enough,” that they’re too willing (and happy) to criticize the US.

You can disagree about whether it’s fair for people to conclude this. But I think they will, and it’s something a political campaign should be concerned about.

And that’s where Sarandon comes in. Calls for a Leninist revolution are not the talking points I’d be embracing, were I representing someone who thought it was unfair to tie me to the Soviet Union.

And mind you, this isn’t the first time that a key Sanders supporter crossed the line with the revolutionary rhetoric. Just a few weeks ago, Sanders’ top pollster, Ben Tulchin, was interviewed by the New Yorker. In that interview, Tulchin questioned the merits of capitalism:

Sanders has long embraced the socialist label, and it seems not to hurt him among younger voters. Ben Tulchin, Sanders’s pollster, told me that millennials support Sanders “because their generation is so f*cked, for lack of a better word, unless they see dramatic change. What’s their experience been with capitalism? They have had two recessions, one really bad one. They have a mountain of student-loan debt. They’ve got really high health-care costs, and their job prospects are mediocre at best. So that’s capitalism for you.”

Tulchin, who is forty-two, joined the Sanders campaign for the same reason that many disaffected Democratic voters joined: the candidate’s populist message, which he wasn’t hearing from the President. “Obama is the guy who hangs out on the North Side of Chicago with wealthy people and he raises money from them,” Tulchin said. “Not to denigrate him, but, I mean, if you’re from the kind of moderate business wing of the Party—which he isn’t exclusively, but he is partly—you don’t speak that language.”

Now, again, the issue isn’t whether Tulchin is right (and I don’t think he is). The issue is whether a top Sanders campaign official is feeding this negative meme about Sanders being a real, scary socialist — the kind many of us grew up with in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Millennial Sanders supporters might wish for a revolution. And maybe even some older voters are on board with that as well. But the majority of American’s won’t sign off on any revolution inspired by Vladimir Lenin. Team Sanders needs to get some message control, and they need to tamp down on the extremist talk. Susan Sarandon is a prime example of how Bernie Sanders is now turning voters away from the eventual Democratic nominee — and worse, towards Donald Trump.

America, progressives, and the people we care about, deserve better.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis  — Win a pony! (not really)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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92 Responses to “Lead Sanders supporter might vote for Trump to bring “Leninist” revolution”

  1. Firegod says:

    Can you share the drugs that you are on that would make you believe such things, because they must be fantastic!

  2. Cedrik Thibert says:

    Almost all reasons are good not to vote for Hillary Clinton.
    She’s got this one.

  3. Cedrik Thibert says:

    All the reasons are good not to vote for Hillary CLinton. :)

    But this one is bizarre though.

  4. Cedrik Thibert says:

    There won’t be a Revolution if he MAKES USA GREAT AGAIN :)

  5. Firegod says:

    How dangerous is it? How much can the President change if he doesn’t have the support of congress. Not very much is the answer, but it is far too early to tell what is going to happen in the GOP, but one thing is sure, a GOP controlled congress will obstruct either Sanders or Hilary and anything they want to do.

  6. Firegod says:

    It isn’t destroying the Republican brand though, it is his hijacking of the party from the GOP leaders that would cause the GOP to be divided in two.

  7. Firegod says:

    That assumes that the GOP is going to just forget that Trump hijacked their party and cut them out of the decisions making. It is going to get really ugly on the GOP side, and if Trump wins, he may not be able to do anything. Trump is not a consensus builder, and consensus is required with our system of government.

    Traditionally, the current vacancy would be appointed by Obama. You think the GOP is going to lay down and start confirming Supreme Court nominees if Sanders or Hilary are elected? They will find some other excuse to obstruct, after all, it is what their base wants.

  8. Firegod says:

    How do you know that she lives in a bubble? Some of us have friends that are on the opposite side ideologically. You just don’t know.

  9. Firegod says:

    What difference does the way she looks make to her ideas?

  10. Firegod says:

    So I have been wondering lately, would a Donald Trump presidency really be a disaster? First, I will concede that Trump is risky because he is inconsistent in his polices flip around all the time, so not sure they mean much. But what really happens if Trump is elected? Many in the GOP dislike Trump, the party may end up divided in two. This could split the house and senate making many issues a 3 way between Trump supporting GOP, the Trump hating GOP, and the Democrats. Trump does have some positions that are more liberal/progressive, so on those issues, maybe Democrats could align with Trump supporting GOPers and get some movement on some liberal issues, potentially. On the other more conservative issues, the question is whether the Trump hating wing of the GOP party would be willing to align with the Trump supporters. There will most likely still be a lot of bad blood between these two groups.

    Now compare this to voting for a candidate who actually represents your values, for me that would be Bernie. But Bernie will still have to deal with a GOP controlled congress, and given we have 8 supreme court justices for the foreseeable future, and looking at the Obama presidency, there is little doubt that the GOP would dig in and do anything they could to stop Bernie, and their constituents would most likely cheer them on. The same could be send of Hilary. The end result is, nothing of significant changes, and we continue on this path we are on.

    Cruz is probably the most dangerous of the candidates. But with Trump, it looks like the party may be split in two, which would limit conservative power at the national level for a generation. To me, it may be worth it to take the risk and vote for Trump for the chance of removing political power from the GOP. The ends may justify the means, the only real risk is that if Trump is successful in delivering on all of his promises (I’ll wait while you stop laughing). Other than that, Trump will just make a bunch of mistakes, or he will realize that he has to play the political game of building consensus. I just don’t really see Trump as a consensus builder.

    What other options are there for liberal/progressives to bring the change we want to see given the political climate?

  11. Moderator4 says:

    Please stop using all caps. It amounts to Internet shouting.

  12. Rudy Ruacho says:


  13. Rudy Ruacho says:


  14. Carolee Masterson says:

    what an ugly woman, with ugly attitude toward the most qualified candidate ever…

    will NEVER watch another movie from her, he paramour or any of these ridiculous hollywood HO’S who go around half dressed, calling it fashion while flashing their rubber balloons and botox…as if that somehow makes them MORE than the rest of us aging ladies…

    she is a fool, personifies the CORPORATE W***E designation…

    Vote for Future President Hillary Rodham Clinton 2016, 2020

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    WaPO supported Obama. They’re very right wing.

  16. devlzadvocate says:

    Yes, a “Leninist” revolution because Lenin himself was a demogogue. Helpful Sarandon. Good actor. Dumb activist. Not even close to Sanders philosphy. I like Bernie, but glad I’m still 4 Hillary.

  17. SunnyDay says:

    She just doesn’t care because she is plenty rich enough to not feel the effects.

  18. Badgerite says:

    Excellent post. As usual.

  19. Ol' Hippy says:

    Sanders is NOT a socialist, at least not in a real sense. He’s not talking about the state taking over control of business and letting workers set their pay scales. He just wants to take all the money making schemes put of healthcare and make education available without being staked to a big debt before working. The top of the countries richest pay far fewer taxes than their fair share and the GOP wants to CUT their taxes as if that’s ever helped in the past. The propaganda we that are old enough to remember the cold war is that socialism is bad. It’s not what’s being spread we just need to take the profit motive out of medicine and healthcare and socialize it. So Sanders is a good alternative to the party line and remember to VOTE this fall.

  20. kladinvt says:

    Again, how much is Aravosis being paid by Hillary?

  21. sane37 says:

    who says she’s the top Bernie supporter? This article smacks of click bait

  22. Dan Gronlie says:

    Um… The Republican party Establishment machinery would take Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz gladly. She would serve their interests far better than either of those loonies. Sanders, on the other hand, is more dangerous to them than all three. But they’re learning from the Trump problem – some candidates’ support actually increases when they are attacked in the GOP fashion.

    Every major corporate media outlet, as well as the entire web of local affiliates, has been instructed to utterly ignore Bernie Sanders. They’ve dropped the ‘isn’t it cute that old guy who can’t possibly win is running – y’know, he may push Hillary to the left’ talking point and are now in full ‘marginalize him at every opportunity’ mode.

    He’s been attacked in the past, hard, on his ‘socialist’ views, and the result has been even more support, exposure, and popularity.

    If Sanders is the nominee, the right-wing attacks will mainly be focused on his age, because every single other line of attack will be foreclosed due to Trump’s exposure on the same subjects.

    Sanders was a conscientious objector during Vietnam? Trump stated that, even though he dodged the draft, his personal Vietnam was sleeping around and his concerns about STDs. And Sanders has a long history of pushing hard for veterans’ benefits.

    Sanders is a communist? Lol – when that comes out of Trump’s mouth it just generates more campaign contributions to Sanders. And if the Republicans and their PACs use it, they give Sanders the opportunity to ask what they consider the ideology of Trump to be… Sanders is a whiz at fielding that one.

    And so on… The Republican party and its mega-PACs would have to engage in some very rapid modifications to their attack playbooks, with very little to guide them.

    That’s why Sanders hasn’t been attacked by Republicans much this year – they recognize that their best shot at keeping him out of the White House is total silence.

  23. BeccaM says:

    We’ve already seen it in previous elections — 1968, 1972, 1980, and 2000 being the more notable examples. What each of those has in common is there were those on the far left who claimed it’d be better if the Republican won than the Democrat, because it would supposedly bring on a collapse and a social and political revolution.

    In a way, Obama almost fit that narrative…then we found out he really was just another centrist Democrat, one who kept trying to be bipartisan even though the opposition was sworn to bring him down. I mean, Obama wasn’t horrible for the most part, but neither was he the great populist savior the idealists thought was coming. (And I have news also for my fellow Sanders supporters: Neither is he.)

    Many (myself included) thought the GOP had hit bottom in 2000 and in the years following. After 9/11, Katrina, the deliberately open-ended wars, war crimes and the Great Recession, we thought there was no way the American voters would let the Republicans at the levers of power again, not for a generation or more. Then came the 2010 mid-terms, just two years after the election which was supposed to have changed everything — and it all unraveled. Why? Because the same people who swept Obama and the Dems into power, dissatisfied with the results, stayed home while the GOPers rabble-roused their angry right-wing mobs.

    You’re right: Historically, a true collapse of the United States as a functioning country with a viable federal government is right now far, far more likely to result in some strongman dictator coming along and being swept into power because he promises to “fix everything.”

  24. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    And yet, if Trump’s supporters didn’t react with violence, it’s very likely Trump wouldn’t call for it, and if Trump didn’t call for it or support it, his supporters would be far less likely to react with violence. Trump’s supporters enable him as he enables them, and the vast majority of people opposed to him are also opposed to his supporters, and recognize that he’s feeding off of their hatred.

    Of course, we’re on the internet, where the Men are Men, the Women are Men, the Children are FBI Agents, you don’t care about Trump’s supporters, and nobody knows I’m a cat. ;) On the off chance that you really don’t judge someone by the company they keep, then you are in a very very small minority, and in my estimation, are wrong, too. You can learn a lot about a person based on who he or she calls friends. If all your buddies wear sheets and shout racist jokes, I’m going to assume you’re a closet racist as well. Likewise, if I like all your friends, and they introduce you to me, I’m going to lean towards liking you, because hey, if your friends are good guys, it’s likely you are as well. That’s just how the world works, and no amount of bellyaching is going to change that.

    I support Sanders because I think he has the best answers going forward. I don’t think he’s a Bolshevik, and I believe that he will bring us closer to European models of mixed economies rather than trying to recreate Soviet Russia in the United States. But I know how the moderates and the independents view communism. No matter how much you bellyache because Sanders is not getting a fair shake, out here in the real world, that’s just how it is. A vocal supporter for Sanders starts talking Bolshevik revolution, and they’re all gonna start saying “oh, so these so-called moderate socialists ARE all commies in hiding, the GOP was right!” And if that surprises you, then let me be the first to welcome you to Earth. :)

  25. doug dash says:

    Another point of view.
    Tom Cahill: Democratic Party is “in for a shellacking” If They Nominate Clinton. Here’s Why.
    — from Down With Tyranny!

    Aside from [the fact that even the New York Times sees a path to a Sanders win, many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters aren’t Democrats. Sanders himself has identified as an independent throughout his entire career, with the exception of the 2016 election. And he’ll be the first to tell you that he only ran as a Democrat so the media would perceive him as a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton. Likewise, his supporters are largely independents and young voters under the age of 35, and roughly half of those young voters identify as independents, despite their tendency to lean leftward in their politics.

    In fact, between 2004 and 2014, the percentage of young voters who identified as independent rather than Democrat jumped from 38 percent to 50 percent. And in all of the states Bernie Sanders has won, and even the states he’s lost by considerable margins, like Virginia and Tennessee, he’s still managed to capture a wide majority of independents and voters under the age of 35. It’s unrealistic to expect these largely independent voters to switch to the Democratic Party and vote for an elite member of the Democratic establishment.
    Bernie Sanders has said he’s taking the fight to the convention in part to make the case to the superdelegates, should he be not far behind, that he, not Clinton, is the more electable candidate. After all, that’s the function of the superdelegates, right? To make sure the more electable candidate is the candidate, for the good of the party.

  26. trinu says:

    Trump gives me plenty of reason to dislike him on his own. I don’t care what a Trump supporter says or does. I do care that Trump has been praising violence at his rallies.

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  28. Scott Horn says:

    This article is loose with facts about the interview, but Mr. Aravosis is correct that worries about the Sanders camp not backing Clinton will have a real effect in the general election. A lot of them will not be swayed by red/blue talk because both parties collude on capitalist legislation and leave their barking to the divisive social issues. A President Trump would be castrated by the ire of both parties, but would be a symbol that the people are fed up with establishment candidates and false progress.

  29. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Guilt by Association is a thing. Sarandon makes the claim that America should elect Bernie to bring on the Great Socialist (read: Communist) Revolution peacefully, or elect Trump to bring it on violently. Many people hear that, and immediately start saying, “Well, if this whacko is for Sanders, that must mean Sanders is a Big Scary Communist ™.” Boom. Job done for Team Red.

    I wonder. What’s your thoughts on Trump’s supporters? Do you think they reinforce the image that Trump is a racist bigoted Fascist here to demonize dark-skinned people and create a Fascist dictatorship? I can’t be 100% sure that you do, but I’d consider it a safe bet that you do. Same thing with Sanders opponents and Sanders’ supporters….

  30. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Yep. Rarely does a democracy result from a revolution. It does happen (see us for instance), but more often than not, what arises from a bloody revolution is a strong-man dictatorship. Just see Trump…

  31. Opinionated Cat Lover says:


    Trump is everything the GOP wants. He speaks ‘truth’ to the power of civilized society, and tells Americans that ‘no, I won’t play by the rules and be civilized to my opponents.’ That’s been the GOP’s MO all along, but the Establishment clung to that last shred of dignity, saying “Oh, how will it play to the moderates and independents?!” The base said “WE DON’T CARE!” They are watering at the mouth to get their Hitler on, and Trump knows this. While he’s not so much Hitler as he is Mussolini, never let a good riot go to waste, right?

    Team Blue has spent so much time using Team Red as cover for its own bad behavior. The ultimate bad behavior is letting a Fascist near the reigns of government. Team Blue needs to have some principles here, and that means no suggestions of voting for Fascists to spite the voters who picked Clinton!

  32. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    In this case, no. It isn’t. It’s a simple observation. If you claim you’re going to vote for Team Red or sit out the election if Team Blue doesn’t give you EXACTLY what you want, then you can’t complain when Team Red gives you the business afterwards.

    I am a Sanders supporter. I want to see him win, and I’d definitely support a Democratic Socialist ‘upgrade’ to American politics and the economy. Clean up our education, health care, and military industries, and look more to the models of successful European countries. I would not support a communist revolution, however. There’s enough of a competitive streak in me that I want to have a chance to excel, and communism states that we’re all equal. Historically, it’s either failed outright, or led to just another form of dictatorship.

    Dictators bad, ‘mkay? And that brings me to my second point. If Sanders doesn’t win, I will hold my breath and vote for Clinton. Why? Because dictators are bad. Cruz is a theocratic Christian taliban type candidate, who will roll back religious freedoms left and right. Abortion? Gone. Gay Marriage? Forget about it. You’ll have conservative principles shoved down your throat, and already, there is a supreme court justice seat open, and no telling how many others behind it over the next 4 years. Cruz would be a disaster. But he’d be nothing compared to the other Team Red candidate. Let’s be clear — Trump is full-on Fascist. We elect him, and in a year, you might have to decide if you want to fight the revolution or just get out while you can. I expect we’ll be at war against the world in as little as 2 years, with Trump’s bellicose nature. And here in the US? It’ll look like the worst combination of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and Davis’ Racist Confederacy. And this is all because Team Blue didn’t get the candidate they wanted.

    Reality check time. You don’t get what you want all the time. But if you’re smart, you weigh the choices you have at the time you make them, and pick the best one. Sadly, in the current system, that amounts to two choices. Pick your poison — steaming mug of donkey pee or heaping elephant diarrhea sandwich — because if you don’t, someone else will pick for you, and there are enough sadistic bastards in these Disunited States to force you to eat the diarrhea sandwich. At least you can wash the pee down with a stiff alcoholic drink…

  33. Houndentenor says:

    The problem is that given who is loudest and angriest, a collapse might well create the rise of someone even worse than Trump. They can only see their own narrative. It’s just not likely even if everything fell their way.

  34. Houndentenor says:

    A number of Trump and also Sanders supporters seem to think we need to burn the country to the ground so they can rebuild. It’s lunacy, but I hear it all the time. Of course most of us don’t have the means to weather that storm. But then we don’t really matter anyway.

  35. Houndentenor says:

    Nobody is much talking about it because it was predicted. It also wasn’t that many delegates. If he crushes her in New York, that will be huge. In Alaska? Not so much.

  36. Houndentenor says:

    Several justices are quite old and have health problems. It could be worse than 5-4 if a Trump or Cruz gets elected and then no matter who is elected in 2020 it won’t matter.

    But this idea that people would rise up against Trump is absurd. If there was ever going to be such a “revolution” it would have happened after the 2000 election and it didn’t.

  37. heimaey says:

    I think everyone is giving her (Sarandon) far too much power and she didn’t say she was going to vote for Trump – she said she would “see what happens.” Which you know, to someone frustrated with the current system, and who believes that Hillary is tied to money and will do little to change or help the broken system that left millions homeless (with no repercussions) is totally understandable.

  38. Houndentenor says:

    She lives in a liberal bubble. And that liberal bubble is as devoid of dissenting opinions and facts that contradict the narrative as the bubble on the right.

    But this brings up a larger question: why does anyone care what an actor thinks about politics. She’s a very good actor and as a performer and teacher I’m interested in what she has to say about acting. About politics? How are her opinions any more valid than a random person off the street? Why is she being given this platform on what is presumably a news channel? Ratings? What nonsense. No wonder the ratings for “news” programs are declining.

  39. MoonDragon says:

    Re pro-life vs anti-choice, I prefer pro-forced birth.

  40. DCinDC says:

    She is not too bright. A vote for Trump will be a vote for a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Look at the damage that will cause over the next 20 years. Fight to get Sanders in but if he doesn’t get the nomination vote for the democratic nominee. The GOP nominee will be a disaster.

  41. sophie says:

    Why is it that whatever Ms. Sarandon says at any given moment to the media, a reason to infer that she has become the annointed Sanders spokesperson? I stopped listening to Susan Sarandon after her “I don’t vote with my vagina” idiocy. I respect her work as an actress. That’s it-that is who she is unless she decides to run for political office, or become a political consultant. She’s yet another celebrity with political opinions, and she is not running for POTUS. I have read a few commentaries claiming that she was being facetious, and what does that even matter, if true.
    This “Lead Sanders supporter, Leninist, etc.” post is the end of the Americablog road for me. Although as a straight person I found it very informative at times. However this anti-Bernie propaganda is getting stale, and it is so blatant the author should be genuinely embarrassed. But telling the truth is not the purpose of several supposedly “progressive” blogs-getting corporate loving Hillary elected IS. The “scary socialism” bit is simply ludicrous.
    And btw, if you’re going to say pro-life, put it in quotes or call them what they are: Anti-choice misogynistic extremists. Adios.

  42. sophie says:

    Red herring? No.

  43. Don Chandler says:

    What it does is lend credence to the notion that Hillary has it wrapped up…when in fact, Bernie just walloped Hillary good in Washinton and Hawaii and Alaska. In fact, nobody is really talking about that crushing victory by Bernie at America Blog. This is troubling. Keeping the superdelegates honest is keeping the issue on the front page.

  44. Ernesto Mestre-Reed says:

    Does everyone know that this ridiculous woman calling for a Leninist revolution who wants to be “on the right side of history” owns three 1 million-dollar–plus “homes” in New York City? The status quo is you. you moral hypocrite!!

  45. baileylamb says:

    Where are all these revolutionaries when ppl are actually protesting things?

  46. ComradeRutherford says:

    You’re NOT helping, Susan!

  47. BeccaM says:

    Honestly, the super delegates don’t mean a thing until the convention. We saw them switch in 2008 and we’ll see it again if Sanders takes the lead in pledged delegates.

  48. Don Chandler says:

    “Sanders has been calling for more debates than were previously negotiated, and Team Clinton has responded that they’d consider it if Sanders toned down the negativity.”

    You must be kidding. First, if hillary can’t deal with Bernies ‘negativity’, then she is not worthy of the spot Obama has occupied for nearly 8 years. The dems have been super civil in debates…even by the standards set by Obama vs Hillary.

    BTW, what is it with these super delegates? Isn’t that a bit if electioneering by establisment? Bernie should have more super delegates than he has based on popular vote.

  49. Webster says:

    If, if Hillary gets the nomination, I will reluctantly and with little enthusiasm, vote for her, but I will take a long, hot, steamy shower afterward because I will feel as though for the first time ever that I had just voted for…ew…a Republican. (And that vote will actually be for the sake of the SCOTUS and not for her.)

  50. BeccaM says:

    And some folks who think it’s better Trump than Clinton if she is the Dem nominee, really wouldn’t have to pay any price at all.


    A net worth of $50 million buys a lot of exemption from messy inconveniences, and makes it entirely possible to bail on the country when it starts burning to the ground.

  51. heimaey says:

    “Actual socialist movements” are just that – not anti-capitalist movements. Those sympathetic to Russia et al were not that many people. The McCarthy era did a number on the USA so much so that to this day smart people still associate many important figures with the wrong labels.

  52. heimaey says:

    I think you are confusing them with communists and anti-capitalists, personally. I have been a social democrat since the late 80s, and my family in Europe talked all about the socialism there and how well it worked, but I think many Americans just didn’t understand or lumped them all together. It is the awareness that grew it is not the socialists that changed.

  53. AdrianLesher says:

    I don’t know how you can say that in light of the Democratic Socialism in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Northern Europe, which Sanders explicitly references as what he means by Democratic Socialism. My Indiana University political science professor Norman Furness wrote a book about them in the 70s, which is one way I know about this, and my mother and her father voted for non-autocratic American socialists like Norman Thomas and Henry Wallace. Eugene Debs and Michael Harrington are other people in the Democratic Socialist tradition in this country. There are earlier roots in the utopian movements of the 1800s.

  54. Phil in FLL says:

    “That’s what they said about G.W. Bush.”

    Very insightful remark. Yes, GW Bush was a catastrophe from the Iraq disaster to a shattered economy. Did that kill the Republican Party? Obviously not. People, like Susan Sarandon, who think that Trump in the White House would destroy the Republican Party have not thought it through. The only other possibility is someone who says that a right-wing Trump administration would cause a socialist revolution but really doesn’t believe it–which is also known as misrepresenting yourself. There aren’t any bloggers or commenters like that here… well, except for He Who Must Not Be Named.

  55. trinu says:

    But you’re not voting for or against Sarandon. The vote is for Sanders or Clinton, and Sarandon isn’t affiliated with either one.

  56. Nelson Kerr says:

    Sarandon ranting like a loon makes that very easy to do,

  57. Nelson Kerr says:

    The Republican lemmings running off the cliff to the rights seems to have a few Democratic lemmings doing the same to the left. Full on crazy

  58. Amwatching2c says:

    Sanders has been leading this revolt from the halls of congress for a couple of decades. Where is his signature legislation. We know he was right on his vote against the war, most of Americans were for before they were against. He could be like the broken clock. Where were the rallies? Sanders is like the teachers suing the unions over dues. How long has he been afforded the perks of the party?

  59. JS says:

    this idea of letting Trump make a mess of things – how do people who actually have a lot to lose feel about this? I stand to have my marriage made illegal, and my spouse who isn’t wealthy, not get my social security when I die. And when the economy tanks, it’s the poor who are going to bear the brunt of that disaster.

    The story that comes to mind, is of the general at a military strategy meeting who says “I would give 100,000 men to take that hill”, to which another commander replied “How generous of you.”

  60. Finn says:

    More Sanders bashing by former Republican John Aravosis… yawn…

  61. Voodoo Chile says:

    Are you taking marching orders from David Brock now? I’m appalled that you would smear anti-war liberals as “Leninists.”

    Unsubscribed after reading your blog for at least a decade.

  62. trinu says:

    I absolutely intend to vote Democratic in the legislative races. I like the Democratic incumbents and where there are Republican incumbents, I like most of the Democratic primary candidates.

  63. Phil in FLL says:

    There is a distinction between socialists, which would include Bernie and Eugene Debs (1912), and Social Democrats, who were popular during the Weimar Republic and are popular in Europe today. Social Democrats never supported Lenin or the Bolshevik one-party dictatorship, but some socialists did.

  64. BeccaM says:

    I live in a blue-tinted purple state with few Electors…I could probably cast a protest vote without it meaning anything other than a sop to my political preferences. California though, for example, could absorb quite a few protest votes before it would matter at the presidential level.

    But here’s the deal, Trinu: It’s not just about the man or woman at the top of the ticket. There are Senators, Representatives, and their state-level equivalents. There are governors, mayors, county sheriffs and school board members. All too often when I hear someone saying they plan to cast a protest vote, they don’t seem to give any indication they care which party’s candidates run their states and counties.

    And to be honest, I’m of an age where I’m no longer convinced there are good reasons to affirmatively cast protest votes. I have yet to see a direct correlation between protest votes and positive changes in national party platforms.

  65. conium says:

    Exactly. Even if Sanders managed somehow to be elected, he would not get a Soviet honeymoon from Congress. Congress is where we must make real change happen.

  66. The_Fixer says:

    Awww, *blush* Thanks!

  67. trinu says:

    Not all of the number 2 folks live in swing states. Thanks to our electoral college, it makes no difference if I vote Green or Democratic, so I see no reason not to protest vote. Obviously things would be different if I lived in Florida or Ohio.

  68. BeccaM says:

    I need more upvotes for everything you just said here.

  69. The_Fixer says:

    We have a couple of divisions about how the word “Socialist” is perceived.

    Millennial aged people think of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland when talking about socialism. Older people think Lenin and the USSR. Two very different scenarios.

    Bernie has embraced the term “Democratic Socialism”, and does not call for the end of capitalism. He and his followers want to reign it in, and control it while redistributing wealth (which all forms of government do, it’s just that the current U.S. form distributes it upward).

    How well he makes that distinction between his version of Socialism and the extreme version of the USSR is important. I do believe that he will come under attack from whomever the Republicans nominate, and the credibility of all Republicans is up for grabs. Yes, they have the base. Do they have the Independents and those who are dismayed at the current state of the Republican party? I have my doubts. Will any attack against Sanders succeed? I think only limited success, if any, outside of the True Believers®.

    I do hope Ms. Sarandon thinks more carefully about this and changes her mind. I have a progressive friend who (kind of) trolled me a bit by saying that he was thinking of voting for Trump. His reasoning was that if Trump (AKA Drumpfo der Clown) gets into the Presidency, he will screw things up so badly that his reign will taint the Republican brand so thoroughly that the Republicans will never win office again. I countered with “That’s what they said about G.W. Bush.” That and careful thought on the matter convinced him that voting for the man in the center ring of “The Great Republican Circus” would be a mistake.

    Ms. Sarandon should also think about this and disavow her statement. This isn’t an experiment, it’s doing what’s best for the country.

  70. BeccaM says:

    I saw that Sarandon interview last night and was appalled.

    Being a little bit arbitrary, I see three potential camps here, among Sanders supporters:
    (1) Those like myself (and Dan Savage, as he was eager to clarify himself when he was on Hayes’ show later) who support Sanders and hope he wins. But who will also support whomever the Democrats nominate (probably Clinton) because the GOP alternative is monstrous.
    (2) The ones who just cannot stand the idea of Clinton or any other alternative over Sanders and would prefer either to sit out the election or vote Libertarian or Green as a protest vote.
    (3) The ones like Sarandon who, if they don’t get Sanders, actually want Trump to be President because they believe it will hasten the collapse of the country and a revolution they’ve convinced themselves will result in miraculously liberal/progressive reforms and a stable government.

    I can almost sympathize with the #2 folks, if not for what’s at stake with what the GOP is likely to do (Trump or Cruz). There is currently an empty seat on the Supreme Court and the very high probability of more vacancies over the next four years. (ConservaDem Bill Clinton gave us Ginsberg and Breyer. I don’t believe Hillary Clinton would nominate justices more conservative than those two. Cruz, however, is guaranteed to nominate extreme far right Scalia-like ideologues…and god only knows who Trump would consider qualified candidates, but I’d put money on them being manifestly unqualified for the position.)

    I also think it’s naive and misguided to think anything good comes out of protest votes which result in the far right conservatives being in control. Although on the other hand, given America’s stupid Electoral College system, there are indeed many states where a protest vote is irrelevant…provided it doesn’t tip the balance in favor of the Republicans. And also provided these people do realize that down-ticket races really matter.

    However, I feel nothing but disgust and disdain though for those who would willingly choose Trump over Clinton. No matter how neo-liberal / pro-corporate Clinton happens to be, even if she governs center-right or with Obama’s feckless bipartisan gestures, electing the modern-day unhinged Mussolini isn’t going to ever result in anything good. This ain’t ‘lesser evils’ territory, but someone who isn’t as liberal/progressive as Sanders (not by a long shot, to be fair) versus a Greater Evil which will determine the direction of the country for generations to come. Basically, the world’s leaders and policy wonks are already warning that electing Herr Drumpf is a guaranteed worldwide economic collapse, probable multiple wars, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and a man who many of us aren’t convinced would voluntarily leave the presidency after his term of office is up.

    Basically, history does not support the #3 vision. Allowing an authoritarian fascist to grab the reins of power results always in only one thing: Years, decades, or sometimes generations of otherwise avoidable human suffering and oppression. By time a revolution does come (or an invasion and forced overthrow by other intervening nations), the political culture has typically been habituated to the idea that authoritarian rule is the norm and that democracy and the rule of law are quaint but un-achievable notions. They may rule differently, but one dictator is nearly always replaced by another, then another.

    Electing a mentally unstable and deeply ignorant authoritarian fascist in the misguided belief his rule will result in a post-revolutionary golden age is flat-out delusional.

  71. trinu says:

    What are they going to say? Everyone already knows he’s a socialist, and has formed and opinion of him with that knowledge.

  72. trinu says:

    We’re supposed to be voting for candidates, not their supporters, but because it was so hard to dig up dirt on Bernie, apparently the Clinton campaign has resorted to attacking people who support him.

  73. Today’s social democrats are not social democrats of yesteryear. American socialists were traditionally not my current-day friends in France and Greece and Sweden. They were somewhat anti-American and somewhat pro-Russia (Soviet).

  74. There’s also that. Regardless of whether you think the critique is valid, it’s going to be used against Sanders, I think quite successfully.

  75. Sorry, but that’s a red herring. We’re talking about actual socialist movements around the world, and especially American socialists of a certain age. And they were traditionally sympathetic to Russia and rather unsympathetic to America.

  76. heimaey says:

    No, they’re not attacking him now just like they’re not attacking Hillary that much – because they are focused on attacking each other until the nominee is announced. Then they will focus outwards.

  77. timncguy says:

    it would be quite silly for the republicans to attack him now, that would kill his chance to win and they want him to be the candidate.

  78. heimaey says:

    That’s what you guys keep saying.

  79. timncguy says:

    the attacks haven’t started yet. once they do, the polls would change. Ask the republicans, they want to run against Bernie.

  80. 2karmanot says:

    Another anti-Sander’s rant on AB….disappointing, if only because it’s off mark. I am a left wing former Democrat who left the party because of Billo and his neo-liberal/Wall Street shift to the right. I am a Marxist socialist, but consider Bernie rather conservative in the old FDR mode of New Deal. I agree completely with Sarandon in that Hillary is an absolute disaster—-worse than Obama.

  81. Gindy51 says:

    No matter what happens, she will be comfortable since she has enough money to be able to wait out any crap that flies from a Trump administration. Most of us are not and her attitude scares the living shit out of me.
    Nothing more than an entitled selfish woman child.

  82. heimaey says:

    Why does she need to? Why did they need to? It’s their opinion. Who cares. I didn’t agree with Steinham or Albright but they are certainly free to say those things.

  83. heimaey says:

    That’s nice. I think you’re wrong. And so do the polls.

  84. timncguy says:

    well, I don’t think Sanders would ever survive a general election barrage that would come after him by the right. Guaranteed, on a daily basis the right would explain just how high the taxes and VAT rates are in those European socialist countries Bernie always talks about. Tax rates over 50% with VAT rates over 25% on purchases.

  85. timncguy says:

    Considering the amount of backlash Clinton got for remarks made by Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinham that had to be apologized for, and those statements didn’t suggest voting for someone other than a dem, I think Sarandon will be making some sort of back peddling statement soon.

  86. heimaey says:

    It doesn’t read that way, so we’ll see what John says. I think this attack about democratic socialism from the left is stretching it – he would be viable were he to make it to the general election. If we can elect a black man with the name Hussein we can elect a democratic socialist white guy. Sorry but it’s true.

  87. timncguy says:

    I think John stated in the post that he wasn’t talking about what might or might not be “true”, but rather what the republican attack machine would be able to convince low information voters of.

  88. heimaey says:

    Absolutely not true John. You know this. Socialism in name but not in actuality. Do we believe the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is Democratic? No. And we didn’t believe the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was anything but a brutal dictatorship. You totally know better!

  89. I don’t think that’s true. Historically, socialists have been to the far left. It’s only been in the last decade or two that they’ve gotten more mainstream, and less pro-Russia pro-Soviet.

  90. AdrianLesher says:

    Sarandon is wrong here, but your lack of even-handedness here is striking. People may associate the word “socialism” with anti-democratic regimes, but historically “socialism” has been associated mainly with democratic movements like the Fabian and the democratic socialists in democratic regimes in Europe and elsewhere. And even-handedness would address the implicit support of murderous right-wing autocracies that resides in Clinton’s uncritical praise of Kissinger. I will vote for HRC if she is nominated, but right-wing critiques of Sanders by Clinton supporters certainly don’t make me trust Clinton to be a real progressive.

  91. Dan Gronlie says:

    Well, it’s a pretty stupid thing to say, and if she means it, she has lost all my respect.

    Anyone who would actually vote for a narcissistic buffoon like Trump for the office of the Presidency for some sort of strange ‘he’ll mess things up so badly that change will have to come’ reason just doesn’t understand American politics. And I agree that acting on that kind of reasoning is dangerous – actually dangerous.

    And, although Susan Sarandon isn’t exactly a ‘Lead’ Sanders supporter, as John’s title indicates, what she said definitely qualifies as ‘news.’ Of a really crappy kind. So, of the three anti-Sanders posts that John has written, this one is probably the least biased.

    But, yeah, he’s appears to be hunting for everything anti-Sanders he can find.

    I think this’ll be my last communication on Americablog, so good to meet you in a cyber-anonymous way, heimaey :-).

  92. heimaey says:

    Yet another ant-Sanders post. What is this the WaPo? I take offense being a democratic socialist and being lumped in with evil people like Vladmir Lennin. I don’t agree with Sarandon about this, but I’m not happy about the idea of a Hillary presidency, no matter how much better it will be than a Trump one. I’ve heard plenty of neoliberal New Yorkers tell me they will vote for Trump over Sanders if he wins the nomination.

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