By now you’ve likely heard that the actress, Susan Sarandon, a surrogate spokesperson for Senator Bernie Sanders, gave an interview in which she strongly suggested that she’d prefer Donald Trump to Secretary Hillary Clinton if that were the choice in November. Her “reasoning” is essentially that things will get so bad under a Trump Presidency that in the NEXT election, things will swing much farther to the left and will THEN usher in the glorious socialist revolution that Senator Sanders advocates. (She’s not the only fan of Senator Sanders to make this suggestion, although, for some reason, one doesn’t hear many of Secretary Clinton’s supporters saying they’ll vote for Mr. Trump instead of Senator Sanders.)
Most of the reaction to her comments has focused on the fact that Ms. Sarandon is white, well-to-do, influential and, as a result, unlikely to experience too much personal harm should Mr. Trump win the election. Poorer people, Muslims, Mexicans, women still in their reproductive years, and African Americans, not to mention the countries against whom Mr. Trump declares war and the people upon whom he practices his promised torture — they might not do as well as Ms. Sarandon during the period while they wait out the Trump administration and anticipate the glorious revolution to follow. And that’s true.
But there’s another reason why I say that Ms. Sarandon is an idiot. There is zero evidence that electing right-wing nut jobs then leads people to “swing left” because they finally see how bad right-wing rule can be. The scales don’t fall off their eyes and they don’t suddenly realize that wealth doesn’t trickle down, that abstinence education leads to unsafe sex and unwanted pregnancies, that “othering” whichever group is the current bad group doesn’t help their own lives, etc. If anyone knows of a single time when this has happened, I’d be grateful to hear of it.
In fact, if evidence mattered, Kansas would not have given Governor Sam Brownback a second term. He’d have been thrown out by Kansas’ own version of Senator Sanders. That’s not what happened and it’s not what ever happens.
Instead, what happens is that the Democrats look at their electoral loss and decide that they erred by not appealing to enough “centrists” or Evangelicals. That’s exactly what happened after Bush stole the first election. And it happened again after he Diebolded the second one. We got Harry Reid, who is anti-abortion, as Democratic leader of the Senate. Because that was going to make the Evangelicals vote for us. And after eight years of Bush, we didn’t get a flaming liberal. The best we could do was then-Senator Obama, who proclaimed that he wasn’t a member of the “anti-war left,” said that he was really a 1950s Republican, and explained that his political hero was Ronald Reagan
And you know why? Because by then, after eight years of the most disastrous Republican rule ever, the Overton Window had been yanked so far to the right, that the American people were worried that even then-Senator Obama was “too liberal.” As just one example, thanks to Bush, now candidates can declare that they support torture and not have the entire country rise up in horror. Mr. Trump’s full-throated advocation of torture is the Overton sequel to Bush’s use of waterboarding. Bush refused to call it torture, but now even that’s no longer necessary. After the Trump administration, Ted Cruz will look liberal and moderate.
And, not only did we not get that big electoral swing to the left that Ms. Sarandon imagines would happen, the government was stocked full of appointees, and employees, and judges selected for their right-wing politics. Voting districts had been gerrymandered to ensure Republican control of Congress and many states. Republican judges were in place to strike down any regulations or laws that ALEC didn’t like and to approve any that ALEC did.
So Ms. Sarandon is an idiot. And how big an idiot is she? She’s a really big idiot. She was co-chairwoman of Ralph Nader’s National Steering Committee in the 2000 election. Mr Nader, too, argued that it would be a good thing if Vice President Al Gore lost because that would — you guessed it — lead to a big leftward swing. If Ms. Sarandon doesn’t learn from experience, why does she expect voters to do so?
Picture found here.