In an interview with the Guardian published Sunday night, actress Susan Sarandon – a noted anti-war and climate progressive – described her former friend Hillary Clinton as “very dangerous” in response to an interviewer’s question about why she supported Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Furthermore, Sarandon, who has been the subject of vicious and persistent attacks by leftists for supporting a third-party candidate that many blame, wrongly, for throwing the election to Trump. She said she had to change her phone number because – get this – angry Clinton supporters left a torrent of death and rape threats on her voicemail.
Sarandon, who fist became involved in activism as a young woman when she became an early and vocal proponent of the anti-War movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, even suggested that Clinton might’ve been “more dangerous” than Trump.
Did she really say that Hillary was more dangerous than Trump?
“Not exactly, but I don’t mind that quote,” she says. “I did think she was very, very dangerous. We would still be fracking, we would be at war [if she was president]. It wouldn’t be much smoother. Look what happened under Obama that we didn’t notice."
Though she supported Clinton’s first bid for the senate in 2001, Sarandon said her support for Clinton evaporated when the then-senator voted in favor of the war in Iraq.
It is often overlooked that in 2001, Sarandon supported Hillary Clinton’s run for the Senate. There are photos of them posing chummily together, grinning. Then Clinton voted for the war in Iraq and it all went downhill. During the last election, Sarandon supported Bernie Sanders, then wouldn’t support Clinton after she won the nomination, and now all the moderates hate her, to the extent, she says, that she had to change her phone number because people she identifies as Hillary trolls sent her threatening messages. “I got from Hillary people ‘I hope your crotch is grabbed’, ‘I hope you’re raped’. Misogynistic attacks. Recently, I said ‘I stand with Dreamers’ [children brought illegally to the US, whose path to legal citizenship – an Obama-era provision – Trump has threatened to revoke] and that started another wave."
Wait, from the right?
“No, from the left! ‘How dare you! You who are responsible for this!’"
In a jab at her critics on the left, Sarandon said she isn’t worried about the threats or the criticism from people who bizarrely blame her for throwing the election to Trump. Instead, she’s worried that the left’s refusal to reckon with the true nature of the problem – that the DNC rigged an election to favor a flawed, unpopular candidate - will harm progressive causes in the long run.
“Well, that’s why we’re going to lose again if we depend on the DNC [the Democratic National Committee]. Because the amount of denial ... I mean it’s very flattering to think that I, on my own, cost the election. That my little voice was the deciding factor."
Is it upsetting to be attacked?
“It’s upsetting to me more from the point of view of thinking they haven’t learned. I don’t need to be vindicated."
But it’s upsetting that they’re still feeding the same misinformation to people. When Obama got the nomination, 25% of [Hillary’s] people didn’t vote for him. Only 12% of Bernie’s people didn’t vote for her."
But she didn’t advocate voting for Hillary! Come on.
Didn’t she advocate voting for Jill Stein?
“I didn’t advocate people voting for anything. I said get your information, I’m going to vote for change, because I was hoping that Stein was going to get whatever percentage she needed – but I knew she wasn’t going to make the difference in the election.”
Luckily, Sarandon said her friends have stood by her, at least.
Has she lost friends over all this? “No. My friends have a right to their opinions. It’s disappointing but that’s their business. It’s like in the lead-up to Vietnam, and then later they say: ‘You were right.’ Or strangely, some of my gay friends were like: ‘Oh, I just feel bad for [Clinton]. And I said: ‘She’s not authentic. She’s been terrible to gay people for the longest time. She’s an opportunist.’ And then I’m like: ‘OK, let’s not talk about it any more.’"
Still, I think while there was vast political error on both sides, the inability of Sarandon and her ilk to embrace the lesser of two evils permitted the greater of the two evils to rise. And yet I like Sarandon. It takes real courage to go against the mob. Her inconsistencies are a little wild, but in the age of social-media enforced conformity, I have never met anyone so uninterested in toeing the line.
When it comes to deportations, Sarandon said a hypothetical Clinton administration probably have continued with Obama’s strategy of “sneakily” deporting immigrants.
Given his record on immigration and extrajudicial drone-enabled murder, Sarandon said she was shocked that he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
It seems absurd to argue that healthcare, childcare, taxation for the non-rich wouldn’t be better now under President Clinton, and that’s before we get to the threat of deportation hanging over millions of immigrants. “She would’ve done it the way Obama did it,” says Sarandon, “which was sneakily. He deported more people than have been deported now. How he got the Nobel peace prize I don’t know. I think it was very important to have a black family in the White House and I think some of the stuff he did was good. He tried really hard about healthcare. But he didn’t go all the way because of big pharma."
This isn’t the first time Sarandon has suggested that Clinton could be a greater national security risk than Trump. She made similar comments in June 2016, just as Clinton was clinching the nomination. At that time, Trump’s “America First” foreign policy pledge – which was based on a philosophy of noninterventionism – was arguably more dovish than his rival.
Of course, Trump has pivoted away from that stance since taking office, authorizing more troop deployments in Afghanistan and threatening North Korea with nuclear annihilation, chagrining many of his early supporters.