Bill Maher has little hope for the future of America if the Republican Party sweeps the midterm elections Tuesday as polls have predicted. “Democracy is on the ballot and unfortunately it’s going to lose. And once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said. “It’s not something you can change your mind about in reverse.”
Many of his usual fans on the left have accused the “Real Time” host and comedian of swaying too far to the right in recent months, criticizing Democrats and “kissing up to” the GOP. But in the “New Rules” segment on his HBO show Friday night, Maher laid on the doom, gloom and, frankly, fear pretty heavily if – or when – the Democrats take a beating in the midterm election just a few days away.
“I know I should probably tell you to vote in what honest to God is really the most important election ever,” he began. “So, OK, yes, you should vote and it should be for the one party that still stands for Democracy’s preservation. But it’s also a waste of breath because anyone who believes that is already voting and anyone who needs to learn that isn’t watching, and no one in America can be persuaded of anything anymore.”
The House hearings over the January 6 Capitol insurrection seem to have changed nobody’s mind, he pointed out. “After all the hearings, the percentage of Americans who thought Trump did nothing wrong went up three points,” he said. “That’s America now. It’s like trying to win an argument in a marriage. Even when you’re right, it still gets you nothing.”
He then laid out his prediction for not just the outcome of the election, but of the days, months and years to follow.
“Republicans will take control of Congress and next year they’ll begin impeaching Biden and never stop. They’ll impeach him for getting out of Afghanistan and getting into Ukraine, for inflation, for recession, for falling off his bike. It won’t matter and it won’t make sense,” Maher said. “But Biden will be a crippled duck when he goes up against the 2024 Trump-Kari Lake ticket,” he said, referring to the former local Phoenix news anchor poised to win election as Arizona governor next week.
“And even if Trump loses, it doesn’t matter,” Maher continued. “This timem he’s not going to take no for an answer because this time he will have behind him the army of election deniers that is being elected in four days.” The host was referring to the almost 300 GOP candidates on the ballot this year “who don’t believe in ballots, and they’ll be the ones writing the rules and monitoring how votes are counted in ‘24.”
“This really is the crossing the Rubicon moment when the election deniers are elected, which is often how countries slide into authoritarianism, not with tanks in the streets, but by electing the people who then have no intention of ever giving it back,” he said. “The Republican up for Wisconsin governor just said if he’s elected, Republicans will never lose another election. This is how it happens. Hitler was elected, so was Mussolini, Putin, Erdogan, Viktor Orban. This is the ‘it can’t happen to us’ moment that’s happening to us right now. We just don’t feel it yet.”
Maher partially blames technology and, yes, Fox News for the spreading of conspiracies and outright lies for the decline in people’s understanding of what a democratic government is supposed to look like – and everything they’ll be losing if it is gone.
“Democracy’s hard. Athens didn’t have to deal with Fox News or the smartphone that made everybody stupid and they only lasted 200 years,” Maher said. “I’d like to say a little farewell to some of the things that really did make America great that now we’re going to lose forever. Like the peaceful transfer of power, the jewel in our crown, that thing that so many other nations couldn’t pull off that we always did. Oh well. The Bill of Rights — when there is no accountability at the ballot box, there are no actual rights.”
It will be an entirely different way of life for many, he said, because “our elections will just be for show like in China and Russian.”
“I wouldn’t count on that one lasting,” he added. “I wouldn’t count on freedom of religion lasting. And the other shock troops of the Trump takeover of the Republican Party are all quasi-religious entities who want a Christian government. Oh, and the FBI might be replaced by an army of Proud Boys under the leadership of Michael Flynn. Even something like pot, will it stay legal? It probably depends on whether Snoop Dogg calls Trump brilliant one day. That’s how things will be decided, not by the rule of law.”
In conclusion, Maher urged everyone to vote. “But I’ve always been a realist. I’m afraid democracy is like the McRib – it’s here now, it’ll be around for a little bit longer, so enjoy it while you can.”
Watch the entire “New Rules” segment in the clip at the top.