By Erin Donnelly
In a recent episode of Under the Skin, the podcast fronted by British comedian and activist Russell Brand, McConaughey spoke out about political divisiveness and the need to “meet in the middle.” Like Brand, he also criticised Hollywood figures and those on the “far left” who he says antagonise and belittle those with other beliefs.
‘Oh, they’re dumb, they’re voting for Brexit, they’re voting for Trump,’” Brand said of the “condemnation and criticism of ordinary working people” he sees among his celebrity peers.
“I don’t like it, and I don’t like to hear it.”
“There’s a lot on that illiberal left that absolutely condescend, patronise and are arrogant towards the other 50 percent,” the Oscar winner agreed.
“I’m sure you saw it in our industry when Trump was voted in four years ago, they were in denial that was real. Some of them were in absolute denial,” he added.
“[Now] it looks like Biden’s our guy. Now you’ve got the right that’s in denial, ‘cause their side has fake news. And I understand, they’ve been fed fake news. No one knows what the hell to believe, right? So they’re putting down their last bastion of defence.”
The actor went on to accuse the left of missing opportunities to appeal to a broader audience by alienating people with “gotcha” attacks.
“This is where the left misses it for me, just as far as being a marketeer of a political side,” he explained. “You say, ‘Hey, we want to get out the vote. We want people to go vote. We’re going to do a campaign to let people vote.’ I’m like, 100 percent. Yes, everyone. Is there anyone who would say no to that? That’s universal. You have 100 percent of the audience going, ‘I’m in. That’s a constitutional right as an American, I’m in. Yes!’
“And then they can’t help themselves,” he continued. “At the very end of it they go, ‘So, we don’t let those criminal b*stards get back in office!’ You’re like, ‘No! Don’t say the last part! You lost 50 percent of your audience.’”
Watch: McConaughey on running for office
According to McConaughey, that sort of vilification is partly why “so much of the nation looks at us in Hollywood” and groans at “another celebrity over there, and the West Coasters, and the elite in the Northeast.”
The answer, he says, is to “meet in the middle.”
“I actually think that is more of a dare than it’s ever been,” he told Brand, then shared a response someone had recently fired back at him: “You know what it’s in the middle of the road, McConaughey? Yellow lines and dead armadillos.”
But the actor was undeterred.
“I said, ‘Let me tell ya something, buddy. I’m walking down the yellow line and the armadillos are running free, having a great time.’ I said, ‘You know why? The two vehicles on either side of the political aisle are so far apart, their f***ing tires aren’t even on the pavement anymore.’ It’s free over here. There’s plenty of room.
“Let’s get aggressively centric,” he added.
McConaughey’s interview comes a couple of weeks after he told Stephen Colbert he had no plans to seek political office, explaining, “I don’t get politics. Politics seems to be a broken business. Politics needs to redefine its purpose.”