Beyond #FeelTheBern: Susan Sarandon Flips the ‘Lesser-Evil’ Script | Acronym #05

UPDATE, 5:15pm ET.
I’ve expanded on the article below, including some of the social media reaction to it, in today’s Acronym podcast:

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Susan Sarandon did a beautiful thing in an interview with Chris Hayes last night.

Not only did she refuse to play along with a dominant mainstream media narrative, she artfully deconstructed a blind spot of privilege from which the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument claims power.

Here is how it went down:

As Sarandon was defending her support of Bernie Sanders, Hayes shifted the conversation down the well-worn path of “well now, won’t you support Hillary if she wins the Democratic nomination?”

Summarizing the growing concern from within the establishment Hayes said: “In certain quarters there is growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton- or reject Hillary Clinton and should she be the nominee, they will walk away.”

Sarandon acknowledged the truth that, despite flirting with “demands” Sanders would “probably” urge his supporters to support Hillary where she to secure the nomination.

Sarandon was not making any promises.

“I think Bernie would probably encourage people, because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing,” Sarandon told Hayes. “But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to [vote for Hillary].”
“How about you personally?” Hayes asked.

“I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” Sarandon said.

Chris Hayes nearly choked on his tongue, acting like a Broadway actor whose scene partner just started speaking lines from a different play.

Watch the full interview below; the relevant section starts at about 1:45.

“Really?” he asked.

“Really,” Sarandon said, explaining further “some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode.”

Hayes pushed back: “Isn’t that dangerous?”

And here is where Sarandon exposed a blind spot of privilege in the “lesser of two evils” argument:

“It’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are,” explained Sarandon, flipping the script. “With the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, threats to women’s rights and think you can’t do something huge to turn that around.”

Defining the crisis as one we are living through right now as opposed to a future to be avoided is not an easy thing to do for those of us who benefit from the status quo, but acknowledging one’s privilege is an essential step in creating a more equitable world.

And so Sarandon sat comfortably smiling across from Hayes, who was visibly confused and seemingly worried that a statistically significant block of those who currently #FeeltheBern would not line up behind Hillary if and when the #Bernout comes.

If not vote for Hillary, where can people like Sarandon turn to ease their #AfterBern?

There is no doubt that there will exist a huge opportunity for the emergence of a meaningful third party of the left.

Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party candidate, will be presented with a major opportunity to make her case as the standard bearer for the left if Hillary wins the Democratic Party nomination. The current campaign (disclosure: I was Communications Director for Jill Stein for President when the current campaign launched through most of 2015) has been operating under the long shadow cast by the popularity of the Sanders campaign for a long time, but it’s moment in the sun may come soon.

To make the most of the coming moment, Stein will have to make good on her promise to bring the issues facing frontlines communities into the frontlines of the presidential dialogue. The campaign has made some major stumbles in that effort so far, but those stumbles have been made far from the glaring light of the frontlines of the presidential dialogue. The frontline of the Presidential dialogue is a place the campaign (with some notable exceptions) has largely not had access to, due to the myopia of the mainstream media.

All that may soon change.

A Clinton nomination, combined with a lawsuit to open the Presidential debates, means that Jill Stein’s case to the American people (summed up in the two minute video below) may soon be juxtaposed with the case Donald Trump will be making and the case Hillary Clinton will be making.

When that time comes, Susan Sarandon and others will have the option of fighting for the greater good instead of voting for the lesser evil.

(Disclosure: I co- produced the Jill Stein campaign video above while employed by the Stein campaign)


  1. I’d like to know how Stein plans to deal with war criminals…..war mongers and an BFF ally that is an apartheid ‘demock-racy’ ? I never hear her speak up on these issues….paramount import.

  2. I think you touched on some of the zeitgeist that we’re experiencing with the worse of the two evils argument. People are fed up, they are feeling more independent . They recognize the corruption of the two party duopoly. Occupy doesn’t get enough credit for creating the tinder… But people are voting strategically of course more than ever. I like the the podcast very much… sounds good.

  3. Thanks – @greatUnwashed – the lesser of 2 evils argument drives me crazy. I think I am guilty of investing too much hope/thought/energy into electoral politics at times.

    It seems like the lens through which we are asked to view everything – and I need to remove that lens more often…

    anyway, if you like the podcast please take a sec and subscribe/rate/review it on iTunes or stitcher (links in the post above, right below the podcast player).

  4. Dennis,
    Not sure what Jill Stein’s stance on nationalization of the Federal Reserve, but if she’s an advocate for nationalization, a press conference with an address and Q+A would shake up campaign 2016 – big, big,big time. Unfortunately, though nationalizing the Fed would bring significant improvements for Americans, persons advocating such a move put their lives at risk (see Lincoln and Kennedy).

    Uncertain of your opinion of Ken O’Keefe, but on his YouTube channel he gives a 2-hour talk in California from days ago where he dives straight into this matter. If one has an inclination to speak truth to power, talking about Fed nationalization is speaking truth to the real power.

    Before Sanders announced, two summers ago I was able to get through to Hartmann’s “Brunch with Bernie” and asked Bernie (on air) about the trillion-dollar global tax haven evasion industry, and whether “it was time to nationalize the privately-owned Federal Reserve”. He responded to the tax haven part, but then the music break occurred, and upon return there was no response to the Fed nationalization part – just moved on to the next caller. My guess is Bernie knows, and could divulge what the Fed is all about, but has decided it’s impossible to take the presidential oath after being assassinated.

    All the best.

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