The Bernie Cult

It was disgusting.

At first I thought I had dozed off watching television last night and was having a bad dream. But it was no dream. Actress Susan Sarandon, showing herself not to be a Democrat but only a Bernie groupie, did actually tell MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that she wasn’t sure she could vote for Hillary Clinton, should her beloved Bernie fail to win the nomination. Sarandon claimed that because Bernie-ites were “passionate and principled,” there was “a good possibility” that they might not be able to support Clinton’s candidacy because the Democratic front-runner doesn’t believe what Bernie believes.

sarandonWhat nauseating nonsense. What depressing drivel. Sarandon sounded exactly like your average Tea Party nut. At one point, the prominent Bernie supporter said she had talked to people who will write Bernie’s name on the ballot in November because they feel Hillary is “not authentic, that she’s a liar, that they don’t trust her, so what difference does it make?” By now, that line of attack should sound familiar coming from Bernie’s side. After all, his supporters learned it from his campaign.

Hayes suggested to Sarandon that when faced with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Drumpf, even Bernie Sanders would “probably” have to support Hillary—there is some doubt about that because Bernie has hinted he won’t support her unless she and the “Democratic establishment” meet his demands. Responding to Hayes’ suggestion, the star-struck actress responded:

I think Bernie would probably encourage people, because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing. But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to do that.’

“Probably”? Are you kidding me? Sanders would probably encourage people to vote for the Democrat in the general election? Jesus. Susan Sarandon isn’t part of a political campaign, she is part of a cult. There is the evidence right there in her statement about Bernie: “he doesn’t have any ego in this thing.” Oh. My. God. No ego? All politicians have ego and Bernie Sanders is no different. Someone who wants to be the most powerful person in the world definitely has an ego.

In fact, one could argue that it is Bernie’s rather large ego that prevents him from acknowledging the reality that his quest for the presidency is increasingly quixotic. And one could argue that it is his rather large ego that prevents him from productively sanders on young turkschanneling the amazing energy of his younger followers into a movement to win back control of Congress. If Bernie had no “ego in this thing,” he would start attacking Republicans in vulnerable districts and spend his resources and his political capital in support of Democratic candidates who can actually help bring about some needed change. But he won’t. Like almost all politicians, his ego won’t let him.

Sarandon didn’t limit her fantasizing last night to Bernie-worship and Hillary-bashing. As bad as it was that she said she couldn’t be sure she personally, or Bernie-ites in general, would support Hillary Clinton in a race against Drumpf, what she said subsequently was worse. Chris Hayes, rather emphatically, said he couldn’t believe that faced with a choice between Clinton and Drumpf that folks like her would sit it out. Sarandon then said,

Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately. If he gets in, then things will really, you know, explode.

Huh? Was she really saying that there are Bernie devotees out there who think it would be best if Drumpf actually wins in November because the much-awaited revolution will then come—after the country explodes? Yes. She really said that. And, again, she sounded just like a strange member of a strange cult. Chris Hayes even suggested to her that such an idea was “the Leninist model,” which she did not deny. Oh, my.

Susan Sarandon was co-chair of Ralph Nader’s National Steering Committee in 2000, the year that Nader and his cult following helped make George W. Bush president by taking votes away from Al Gore in Florida. Sarandon has a history of being blind to reality. We can only hope, those of us who don’t want to see America Drumpfed or Cruzed, that there aren’t a lot of Bernie-cultists out there wearing revolution-at-any-cost blinders.

And, my God, at this point we can only hope—we can no longer be sure—that Bernie himself won’t get caught up in the cultic atmosphere that is starting to define his campaign.




  1. Anonymous

     /  March 29, 2016


    Not all Sander’s supporters are flakes as you have accurately described Sarandon. We still support the Democratic platform but value the issues Bernie has brought to front. Even Elizabeth Warren is still cheering him on.

    The fact that he represents over 6 million other Americans views in no way suggests that a significant majority of his supporters would do as Sarandon has stupidly suggested. Sanders is not Trump, he will support the nominee, but the DNC, including Hillary, will need to address the issues in his platform that has resulted in his support among voters. The following NPR article is in my opinion reflective of myself and most other supporters position.


    • I hope you’re right. I imagine, when it comes down to it, most Bernie supporters–at least those who have a habit of voting–will come over. But I’m a little perturbed at Bernie. His answer to Rachel Maddow last night about helping Democrats raise money was bullshit. It’s no wonder he doesn’t have many superdelegates. He’s openly disregarding the interests of the party.


  2. henrygmorgan

     /  March 29, 2016

    Duane: “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” This is a phenomenon beyond understanding. Even my extreme right wing siblings have yet to match the vitriol of the Anti-Hillary attacks of some progressives that I have heard or read. I remember well the Whitewater hysteria during the Bill Clinton era and how the enormous “scandal” erupted and grew without a single piece of solid evidence to support it, and how eagerly the Republicans pursued the case, the Benghazi of its day, even to the extreme of accusing her of the murder of Vince Foster.

    I greatly admire Sarandon for her acting as well as her willingness to fight for her beliefs, but I deplore her penchant to take everything too far. This tendency seems to afflict a great number of people who turn their beliefs into travesties by their failure to understand that beliefs do not gain strength or validity by the earnestness of their holder. I include among this number religious people who insist that their views are the only ones and that everyone must hold to them or pay the price; genuine liberals, like some of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances from the sixties such as the Weathermen, the jihadists of their day, whose way was the only way, regardless of how many had to suffer and were hurt in pursuit of their way; add those who loved the law and called for its constant support, except when that law allowed an innocent young woman raped by her father to end her pregnancy and her distress.

    As greatly as I admire talent, creativity, and intelligence, I am equally appalled at their abuse and the damage they often cause. It is even more distressing to witness this abuse when it comes from someone on my side, someone I admire until something like this occurs. However, for all its disturbing elements, perhaps it can serve as a good antidote to self-righteousness. Bud


    • Bud,

      I like the way you put it: “This tendency seems to afflict a great number of people who turn their beliefs into travesties by their failure to understand that beliefs do not gain strength or validity by the earnestness of their holder.” 

      When you think about it, we tend to give people a lot of credit for their earnestness, for the profound sincerity with which they hold their beliefs. We tend to praise people for authenticity, for holding to their principles even when it is hard to do so. But should we do that? Should we admire such fealty to any belief or set of beliefs?

      Probably not so much. As you suggest, earnestness can lead to self-righteousness. Earnestness is a character trait of, say, suicide bombers. No one can doubt their sincerity or the earnestness with which they hold their beliefs. Blowing yourself up for your belief in jihad or any other such cause is the ultimate proof of your authenticity. Thus, before we designate earnestness and sincerity and authenticity as good character traits, we should first designate things like broad-mindedness and humility and restraint as necessary ingredients of civilization, and then admire those who, while holding sincere beliefs, are willing to recognize that no one person, or group, or belief system, holds all the answers.

      Susan Sarandon is probably a great person. I don’t know obviously. But I do know, from what she said in that interview (if you listen to it all), that what has happened to her is that she has come to see Bernie Sanders as completely “authentic” and Hillary Clinton as utterly dishonest. It appears to be that black and white for her. And like most ideologues, she probably isn’t constitutionally capable of seeing the world in any other way.

      Which brings me to my final observation. You said that you greatly admire “talent, creativity, and intelligence” and that you are “appalled at their abuse and the damage they often cause.” You know what that made me think of? Oddly, it made me think of Rush Limbaugh. As you know, I have listened to him for some two decades, the first fourteen years or so as a “dittohead,” a complete fan. Rush is one of the most talented, creative, and in his own way, intelligent people out there doing what he doesSince my political deconversion, I have listened to him and wondered many times what our politics would look like if Rush Limbaugh had used his talents not to promote—for profit—bigotry and hate and division, but their opposites. I am convinced that the Republican Party would be in much better shape. And so would the country.

      Thus it is that as much as we might admire talent and creativity and intelligence, as much as we might praise earnestness and sincerity, what we should admire and praise—and thereby cultivate— much, much more than we do, are those basic ingredients of civilization I mentioned: broad-mindedness and humility and restraint.



  3. King Beauregard

     /  March 29, 2016

    I think the thing to remember is, even if Drumpf becomes president and controls both chambers of Congress, Susan Sarandon will still be doing just fine.


  4. King Beauregard

     /  March 30, 2016

    Just because I love me some Barney Frank:

    God damn, why can’t Barney Frank be running for president, with Bernie Sanders enjoying his retirement?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barney Frank is the best example I can think of someone who understands, first, what needs to be done, and, second, how to properly evaluate the doable. I am afraid he would get demolished in a general election campaign, though. But he would be a load of fun to watch every day, especially against a Cruz. Nobody can articulate, extemporaneously, the progressive vision as well as he can and I happen to love his sarcastic style. That article was a great example of his quick mind.


      • King Beauregard

         /  March 31, 2016

        I sometimes think that a political campaign is like a chess game, where the candidate (the King) cannot do it all himself, he needs pawns, bishops, knights, rooks, and a queen or two to do the fighting.

        Pawns: rank and file columnists who make the case for the candidate. None of them superstars but they do the grunt work.

        Bishops: single-issue respected figures who operate on only certain squares. Liz Warren would be a bishop; she’s an unstoppable force when talking regulation of the financial sector but little else.

        Knights: the sort of speaker or writer or interviewer who, every now and again, just shows up with an angle that nobody was expecting and changes the board. When someone finally gets around to grilling Sanders about the failure of Green Mountain Single Payer, that will be a knight at work. Rachel Maddow is probably a knight, as are the various Daily Show descendants.

        Rooks: reliable heavy hitters that the other side wouldn’t want to go toe-to-toe with. Barney Frank is one: debate him and you’ll be up against someone with knowledge, experience, and sarcasm.

        Queens: these are rare, and the best queen on the stage today is Obama. That perfect combination of wit, style, experience, knowledge, and charisma that is devastating to the opposition. Bill Clinton was previously the best queen in Hillary Clinton’s corner, but Obama is going to supersede him. Thus far, nobody has been able to skewer Drumpf the way Obama has, because Obama is the queeniest queen to ever queen a queen. I mean that in a good way.


        • I like your analogy!

          I also happen to agree that when Obama gets started defending Hillary this year, he will outshine Bill, in terms of taking on Drumpf. Bill will be good at addressing some of those reluctant white working class voters, of course. My problem is I am not convinced at all that Drumpf will be the nominee. I can see a scenario where he is a few hundred delegates short and the thing will be taken away from him and handed to Kasich. Of course that will cause real problems for the party, but at this point I think many of the leaders would prefer that over the alternative. The wild card is the rules committee. No one knows how that is going to go.

          And then there is the possibility that Drumpf’s latest gaffe will finally hurt him enough that he bleeds away some delegates he would have otherwise captured. I know, I know. He has survived even dumber things he’s said, but this one seems to have really tarnished his brand. Not only did he say something stupid, but he was forced to retract it almost immediately. And he’s been damned quiet since it happened, like a whipped pup.

          I didn’t mention Cruz. I just don’t think he has enough support to win at the convention. If he does get the nod, though, conservatives will finally get the purist they say they want every election. They will no longer have an excuse, if they lose, that the party failed to nominate a real conservative. Cruz is about as real as it gets. And by real, I mean really scary.



  5. This is such an ironic post I would swear it was written by a right wing nut. A guy who can’t stop attacking Sanders and can’t stop pretending that the Anointed Candidate is in some sort of desperate situation tries to characterize Sanders supporters as flakes. Sure, there are a lot of flakes on Sanders’ side, but you really need to look in a mirror. It’s fairly obvious that most people support Clinton without thinking, but only because it really is obviously inevitable. You think it’s not inevitable because you’re obsessed and over-thinking and this motivates you to push blame for nonexistent threats on a scapegoat. Maybe you should stop calling him “Bernie” and start calling him “My Scapegoat”.


    • Do you know how to turn people off? By saying bullshit like this to them:

      It’s fairly obvious that most people support Clinton without thinking…

      I don’t know where you learned your manners, but to personally argue with someone by telling them they are not really “thinking” is, well, a good way to get ignored. If you really believed that, why would you bother to argue with such an unthinking person?

      In any case, if you think the election of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is “obviously inevitable,” then you and I are at an impasse. Nothing in American politics is inevitable. Just ask the 2008 Hillary Clinton.



      • I’m honestly trying to find a case of you demonstrating that you thought your way into supporting Clinton, that you understand the underlying dynamics of both parties, not reacting out of fear assuming that you had to vote for her in order to win because losing would be the end of the world. But you are pretty good at misinterpreting, and pretending that I would agree with your misinterpretation, most conservatives have to struggle at that. All I ever seem to do is ask you if you will acknowledge one fact or another, but in this instance you seem to think that I am asserting that something is inevitable when I am only pointing out that people are supporting Clinton because they *believe* that her victory is inevitable which has been demonstrated to be the primary motivation of most voters, which is another way of saying to confirm their biases.

        Incidentally, when I speak about your mental health, the primary symptom I often see from people in general is bias-related processes, which is not coincidentally the reason most people are discouraged from seeking help, and also why religious delusions are formally exempted. People around me in real life find that their expectations from me are more realistically satisfied by demonstrating to me that they actually understand the problem they want me to solve. While I am disposed to fix the problem, I will fix it the way I know how, not the way someone who doesn’t understand tells me. So if you want me to stop pestering you, stop ignoring me.


%d bloggers like this: