WASHINGTON – Academy Award-nominated actor Bryan Cranston said the 2016 presidential election is the “most bizarre” race in history but it is decreasing the “level of apathy” in America.
“It’s the most bizarre presidential election in our history, I would think. Presidential historians could probably have an argument about that, but this has got to be way up there and it’s very entertaining. On the other hand, the attention that it’s getting is actually in the long run, I think, good. I think it develops more interest,” he told PJM at the Hope Awards, sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The level of apathy starts to go away and people are paying attention, so I think that’s always good.”
Cranston, a past award recipient at the Hope Awards, was a presenter and featured speaker at the event, which recognizes leaders in child-safety advocacy.
PJM mentioned that the turnout among GOP voters in the primary election has been record-high. Cranston was asked if he would be supporting the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“No. I have no problem and no hesitation in announcing I would not support Donald Trump. I can’t even keep a straight face when I say it. The man has tremendous ambition but I find little behind the ambition. In fact, it appears to me it’s the emperor wearing no clothes. I don’t see anything behind it,” Cranston said.
“He just keeps the demagoguery going on and on, mentioning a problem in a generality and telling people that he’s going to fix it. It’s like, ah, that’s no policy. Let’s hear what you have to say specifically – and he’s very, very short on that so, no, he won’t be getting my support.”
The Breaking Bad star said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) staying in the Democratic race is “good” for the party in the long run.
“I love a lot of things Bernie is promulgating and I think it’s great he’s staying in. Also good for the Democrat Party to be able to see multiple sides of issues, and every tent, Republican or Democrat, should be able to be large enough to express opinions and engage in conversation. And despite the vitriol and the polemic nature in politics now, I am starting a thing in my own circles and now I’ll tell you and hopefully that sensitivity will start to grow,” he said.
Cranston said he is promoting the open exchange of political ideas in his circle of acquaintances on both sides of the aisle.
“I want to see an end to this divided culture in politics of if you are on the opposite side of the ideological fence and you have a good idea and I can’t support that, even though it’s best for the country, it’s nonsense. We’ve gotten into this weird sporting event kind of thing where if you win that means I lose and that’s not the case,” he said. “If you win with a good idea, we all win. America is better. So that’s the thing I want to present out there is to be able to reach across and truly appreciate good ideas no matter where they come from.”
Cranston, who plays LBJ in HBO’s All the Way that premiered Saturday night, said the first step to improving the divided nature of politics in America is for people not to “villainize” anyone who holds a different opinion from them.
“If I look at you and I say I trust you — and I would do this to Donald Trump. I believe Donald Trump loves America. I believe he does. I have just a different opinion of how to solve America’s problems than he does, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and I believe he loves this country,” he said. “I hope he feels that way about me, even though I don’t support him to be the president – and that’s the start from a neutral sense of respect, and grow from there.”