Rosario Dawson has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the U.S. Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. In addition to participating in his campaign appearances, she has been organizing political protests, and even trying to gather momentum for his campaign on the internet. Her efforts have inevitably led to many controversial statements from her, as well as heated exchanges with those who support candidates other than Senator Sanders. Dawson is often seen as the face of the Mexican-Americans in Hollywood. So, what she has to say does matter in the public’s eye. In the context of her consistently controversial statements and actions, it is difficult not to wonder, if her role in the current U.S. Presidential election has gone too far.
Earlier this month, she was taking part in a round table during a Harlem Town Hall hosted by the Bernie Sanders camp. There, she attacked the current President of the United States. She said that people supported Obama and thought that he was their ‘guy’. But, they lost their faith in him within two months of him becoming the President. Her statements caught the attention of Jamil Smith, who is MTV’s senior national correspondent. He slammed her on Twitter for her statements, and asked her to explain her statements.
Dawson reasoned that Obama didn’t utilize social media tools like Twitter to mobilize voters and overcome the opposition offered by the Republican Party throughout his Presidential term. “Republicans will laugh in President Sanders’s face if he tells them to look out at protesters”, he added. The entire issue did not result in any healthy discussion or insights into anything of importance. It looked more like an attention grabbing exercise on part of Dawson, which made many people cringe. This is not the first time Dawson expressed strong opinions regarding a political personality.
The Hollywood star, who donned the role of a Mexican-American civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta, in Cesar Chavez, hit at the very person whom she portrayed in her movie. Huerta has been supporting Hillary Clinton in the current Presidential election. Following Huerta’s announcement, declaring the same, Dawson wrote an open letter to her. She claimed that Huerta’s political stance was misguided. Huerta criticized Sanders for his voting history on immigration, and explained that Hillary Clinton has a more realistic plan to pass a comprehensive immigration reform. She even added that even though Sanders may have had a change of heart, he has largely remained disconnected from the entire immigration issue for decades.
Responding to Huerta in her open letter, Dawson explained, with a number of detailed charts, how Clinton’s stance is in direct contrast to her actions over the years. She even went as far as claiming that Clinton’s track record goes directly against what Huerta was saying, and that is exactly what activists like her have fought for. She later ended the open letter hoping that such meaningful debates continue and make things better for immigrants.
This was not an isolated case of Dawson’s criticism of Clinton. Dawson has been very vocal in hitting against Hillary Clinton for quite a while now. In a discussion hosted by Young Turks on Clinton’s foreign policy credentials, Dawson claimed that Clinton exhibits her hypocrisy in her stance on the matters of Israel. She said that while Clinton considers Trump a horrible person for proposing to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, she does not condemn the Netanyahu for wanting to do the same between Israel and Palestine. She even liked Clinton to Madeleine Albright, the once Secretary of State, who had claimed that 500,000 dead Iraqi children were worth the war. Further, Dawson claimed that Clinton’s immigration stances are dubious at best as the former First Lady has never interviewed any Syrian, Honduran, Libyan, or Iraqi kid.
Then, recently, Dawson was arrested at a Democracy Spring rally held in the capitol. The political protest had been going on for a week, during which she had received multiple warnings from the police. Democratic Spring has been arguing that elections have been dominated by special interests, and money. The activists had been pushing Congress for dropping laws that make it difficult to overturn
Supreme Court laws that are anti-people. Dawson was detained and was let go after she paid a small fine of $50. Later, she explained that the police gave her many warnings, since the arrest of such a celebrity can generate a lot of publicity.
Dawson is not entirely wrong about one issue. She has been getting a lot of publicity. In fact, she has been the celebrity element that was missing from Sanders’s campaign. She has been so active throughout the campaign that many consider her to be the vocal surrogate of Sanders. For instance, Sanders has always stayed away from any dirty politics, at least in the media. He has not used Hillary’s
husband, former President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky during their time in the White House to try and hurt his opponent’s prospects. In one of the interviews, however, he called Bill’s affair “disgraceful” and “unacceptable”. When the same topic was brought before him again in Iowa, he simply said, “I am running against Hillary Clinton. I’m not running against Bill Clinton.” That was as far as he was ready to comment on that issue.
On the other hand, it appears that Dawson is serving as the sharp end of the stick when it comes to the Sanders campaign. Although, she too did not directly use Bill-Lewinsky affair to tarnish the image of the Clintons, she broached the subject of the affair on her own. One can argue that this was done to jog the memory of voters, and turn their opinions. She said to the Wilmington, Delaware crowd, “I’m with Monica Lewinsky on this … bullying is bad.”
It is typical of political campaigns to be wrought with image attacks, lies, promises, and a lot of drama. For now, it appears that Dawson has been doing everything that is characteristic of every Presidential election over the past few decades. While it is certainly not appreciated, it is not wrong to say that this is how politics have come to work in this country. So, Dawson’s political agenda is quite in line with the dynamics of all Presidential candidates’ election strategy. Whether her actions have Sanders’ complete support, can only be speculated at best.