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Susan Sarandon Says Democrats Can’t Unify Party By Taking Voices Away

Susan Sarandon, a well-known actress and surrogate for the Bernie Sanders campaign, said at the Democratic National Convention, “I don’t think you unify by taking people’s voices away. That’s not unification.”

A press conference was called to support Nina Turner, a former Ohio state representative and prominent Sanders surrogate, who was silenced by the Democratic National Committee. She was scheduled to give a speech seconding the nomination of Sanders, but at the last minute, the DNC blocked her from speaking at the convention.

Asked about the walkout by hundreds of Sanders delegates and convention people, who are suppressing expression by ripping up signs, she said, “You unify by agreeing on the issues, not by taking people’s signs away when you disagree. So, if they’re trying to unify, I think they should change their strategy.”

Sarandon mentioned the emails released by WikiLeaks, which confirmed what people supporting Sanders knew—that the Democratic National Committee, which is supposed to be neutral, made sure Sanders “was at a disadvantage.”

Collectively, this made progressives “feel that they needed to do something to be heard.”

Both of the candidates from Democratic and Republican Party are “really scary,” Sarandon argued. Hillary Clinton’s “history on foreign policy is completely hawkish, and where she gets her money from, who funds her superdelegates” is at odds with any progressive platform.

Sarandon expressed concern that Clinton doesn’t grasp how the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is dangerous for the environment and “NAFTA on steroids.” She is not reassured that Clinton will not say she is against it and will stop the trade deal.

Natural gas fracking is also a pressing issue to Sarandon. Clinton has received millions of dollars from lobbyists or individuals associated with oil and gas companies. Her appointees to the platform committee blocked a ban on fracking from inclusion in the platform.

“Everyone should vote their conscience,” Sarandon said, when asked about Sanders supporters who may vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. “You wait and see who speaks to the issues and not the hype. I don’t think you can make decisions from places of fear.”

“You don’t have to pick the lesser evil. You can go vote for Jill Stein or for the independents.”

Bernie Sanders supporters rally outside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by becker271 on Flickr.
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Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek is an associate editor at the Electronic Intifada and co-host of the weekly podcast Unauthorized Disclosure. Her work has appeared at Al Jazeera, The Nation, Salon, Truthout, FAIR, Vice, AlterNet, and more.