Susan Sarandon has a lot to say about Bernie Sanders, but when the actress was asked if she could vote for Hillary Clinton in a race against Donald Trump, the Oscar-winning actress was stumped.

“I don’t know, I’m going to see what happens,” she told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. Then she added, “Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode.”

Which, she suggested, would be a good thing. Since countries really exploding usually comes with a lot of human misery, it says a lot about American politics that Sarandon and “some people” are willing to risk it rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic presidential campaign has been the less explosive one this cycle, with two contenders who generally stick to the issues and haven’t criticized each other’s anatomy.

While the Republicans’ debates look like reruns of “The Jerry Springer Show” (and the real Jerry Springer wants royalties), the Democrats’ have looked like something you might find some Sunday afternoon on PBS, like a “McLaughlin Group” with just Eleanor Clift and Jack Germond.

But lately there have been signs that the comity is wearing thin. There’s a report that the two contenders don’t call each other to congratulate that day’s winner anymore. Clinton supporters keep reminding everyone that Sanders can’t draw any votes from minorities; Sanders supporters keep looking at head-to-head polls that show him to be stronger against Trump, or whoever else might climb out of the Republican clown car.

But to hear a high-profile Sanders surrogate like Sarandon say that choosing between Clinton and Trump would be a tough call shows how deep the resentment goes.

Sure, Clinton took money from Wall Street, she used to be against same-sex marriage and she lobbied for the crime bill in the ’90s.

But Trump? Mexicans-are-rapists Trump? Must-be-a-pretty-picture-you-dropping-to-your-knees Trump? The New York Times-calls-his-foreign-policy-“dangerous babble” Trump?

And Sarandon, a Hollywood progressive, doesn’t already know how she’d vote?

Sarandon implies a Trump presidency might be better for the country than a center-left liberal like Clinton, because Trump would make life so horrible for so many people that they would want to rise up in revolution. Presumably, Clinton would not make things sufficiently horrible, and the lazy masses would stay home.

If Sarandon’s reasoning sounds familiar, it is. It was, as Hayes pointed out in the interview, the advice Vladimir Lenin and the other Bolsheviks offered in 1917. A few million lives later, you’d have to say that maybe incremental reform would have been a better approach.

Sanders, to his credit, doesn’t ever talk like this. When he says we need a revolution, he means a lot of people getting out to vote, not a lot of people trying to overthrow the government. We need a revolution like the Industrial Revolution – fundamental change in a short period of time – not like the French Revolution, where things did “really explode.”

When they are still in the process of asking people for their votes and campaign contributions, it’s awkward for candidates to say who they would vote for if they ended up losing. But the Sanders supporters who say that they would stay home rather than vote for Clinton should take a look at the other party and listen to what they are talking about.

In the context of the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton may be the most far-right, neoliberal, free-trade, establishment candidate around, but in the context of the planet Earth, she is somewhere in the middle.

It’s easy to see why people like Sanders better than Clinton. He’s like your grandfather who visits on the holidays; she’s like a mother who’s always mad at you. When you compare their policies, you see fundamental differences.

But when you compare both of them with Trump, they look almost identically sane.

People on the political left should not have to hem and haw when they are asked who they like better than Trump.

That’s an easy one – anybody.

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: gregkesich


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