Bruce Springsteen spent the summer playing stadiums with the E Street Band and preparing to release his autobiography, Born To Run, while largely staying clear of this year’s presidential campaigns. In an excerpt from an extensive interview that will appear in the next issue of Rolling Stone, Springsteen shares his thoughts on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, while addressing his own absence from the trail.
What do you make of the Trump phenomenon?
Well, you know, the republic is under siege by a moron, basically. The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it’s a tragedy for our democracy. When you start talking about elections being rigged, you‘re pushing people beyond democratic governance. And it‘s a very, very dangerous thing to do. Once you let those genies out of the bottle, they don‘t go back in so easy, if they go back in at all. The ideas he’s moving to the mainstream are all very dangerous ideas – white nationalism and the alt-right movement. The outrageous things that he‘s done – not immediately disavowing David Duke? These are things that are obviously beyond the pale for any previous political candidate. It would sink your candidacy immediately.
I believe that there’s a price being paid for not addressing the real cost of the deindustrialization and globalization that has occurred in the United States for the past 35, 40 years and how it’s deeply affected people’s lives and deeply hurt people to where they want someone who says they have a solution. And Trump’s thing is simple answers to very complex problems. Fallacious answers to very complex problems. And that can be very appealing.
You haven’t chosen to do anything with the campaign this year. Have you lost faith in whatever power you might have to affect these things?
I don’t know. I think you have a limited amount of impact as an entertainer, performer or musician. I feel what I’ve done was certainly worth doing. And I did it at the time because I felt the country was in crisis, which it certainly is right now. I don’t know if we’ve been approached or not to do anything at the moment. If so, I would take it into consideration and see where it goes.
No, I haven‘t really lost faith in what I consider to be the small amount of impact that somebody in rock music might be able to have. I don‘t think people go to musicians for their political points of view. I think your political point of view is circumstances and then how you were nurtured and brought up. But it‘s worth giving a shot when it’s the only thing you have.
Is there a lack of enthusiasm for Hillary on your own part?
No. I like Hillary. I think she would be a very, very good president.
The rest of this interview will appear in the next issue of Rolling Stone.
Find out five things you didn’t know about Bruce Springsteen. Watch here.