Oscar-winner and Bernie Sanders surrogate Susan Sarandon brought to life Democrats’ worst fears this week when she told Chris Hayes that if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, she might sit out the election, even suggesting that a Donald Trump presidency might be a better catalyst for change than a Hillary Clinton victory. Bernie Sanders supporters looking for guidance from their candidate’s campaign might come away a bit confused, however, because Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver delivered some decidedly mixed messages in response to Sarandon’s rant.
On Tuesday night’s All In, Weaver assured host Chris Hayes that Senator Sanders will support Hillary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee, but then on followup, seemed to indicate that the toxic attitude toward Hillary that was exemplified by Sarandon’s rant is just science fact:
Weaver: Well, look, Senator Sanders has been clear he’s going to support the nominee of the Democratic Party in this process. We anticipate it will be him who will be the Democratic nominee. He has said quite clearly he’s running for the Democratic nomination. In the event he should not receive it, he would support the Democratic nominee, and obviously were he to become the Democratic nominee, we would expect Secretary Clinton would support him.
Hayes: Are you at all concerned that the longer this goes, the more a kind of image of Hillary Clinton is cultivated among the people that support Bernie Sanders that makes her fundamentally toxic to them?
Weaver: Well, it’s not about creating an image. It’s about having campaign where you talk about real issues. The truth of the matter is, Hillary Clinton claims she’ll take on the big banks but takes money from them. Claims she will take on the fossil fuel industry but takes money from them. Says she’s going to take on the gun lobby, but takes money from the gun lobby. This is not about creating an image.
That’s some sales pitch for Bernie or Busters right there. That toxic image you have of Hillary? That’s not an image, that’s totally real. But also, vote for Hillary if she’s the nominee.
It’s true that Weaver is trying to win an election for Bernie Sanders, but Hillary’s campaign has effectively managed to thread this needle by simply pointing out that whatever their differences with Sanders, they pale in comparison with the horrors of a Trump or Cruz presidency. If you’re a Sanders supporter listening to Jeff Weaver, he’s giving you no reason to go to the polls in November if Bernie isn’t on the ballot.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.