39 thoughts on “Maher on the downfall of the Democrats

    1. Michael Moore is predicting a blue tsunami. He is either totally delusional or truly a political genius. I hope for the latter, but I fear the former.

      1. Moore also predicted in 2016 that Trump would win. As for the current election Moore likes to point to Kansas as a possible bellwether. In deeply red state that voted, in August, on adding a constitutional amendment to make abortion illegal, it was expected that the race would be close, and in the closing days 538 had the Republicans’ affirming the idea up by four points. Democrats voted it down, and the Republicans were defeated by 18 points. Would that we see similar energy from Democrats across the country. We shall see. (Also, there was a recent special election in upstate New York where the Republican was expected to win in a rather red-leaning district. The Republican lost.)

        Elsewhere, Simon Rosenberg remains hopeful:


  1. Sad that Maher, like most of the Democrats, does nothing to address the reasons people would be voting against the Dems, other than calling them stupid. Here’s my prediction: In two years the Dems are once again going to be saying, No, really, THIS is the most important election ever.

    1. Two days ago on The WeeklyDish, Andrew Sullivan’s post on SubStack addressed the problem of what he considers to be the enabling of a probable victory by Republicans through the far-left rhetoric of the Democrats. The piece is entitled “Will Biden and the Dems Finally Get It?”, and it is well worth reading.

    2. DrBrydon, you are wrong when you claim that Maher “does nothing to address the reasons people would be voting against the Dems.” You are obviously not familiar with his show. He regularly skewers the excesses of the extreme left (ie, he is definitely anti-woke).

  2. Maher’s addressing not just the downfall of Democrats, but of American democracy itself.

    I set out my thoughts regarding the Republicans’ forsaking majority-rule democracy in favor of permanent, managed minority rule in a comment the other day here.

    1. Ken, in your comment that you cite you discuss briefly the concept of the “independent state legislature” theory and how can it be a tool to destroy democracy. If confirmed by the Supreme Court in the pending Moore v. Harper case, state legislature would be empowered to overrule the choice of the electorate and pick its own electors to the Electoral College. Certainly, the vast majority of the electorate has not the faintest idea of what this theory entails. Yet, the right-wing Court could uphold it. Attached is a link to an article by J. Michael Luttig, a conservative judge in which he goes into explaining the theory and why it is nonsense. But, we live in an age of the irrational and conspiracy theories, so we cannot rule out anything.


      1. Yes, I read Judge Luttig’s Atlantic piece and think he’s unquestionably correct.

        Luttig, as you likely recall, is the staunchly conservative former Fourth Circuit judge whose counseling of VP Mike Pence in advance of Jan. 6, 2021, put enough starch into Pence’s gelatinous spine to reject the lunatic theories put forth by (former Luttig law clerk) John Eastman and to do his clear constitutional duty of accepting the duly certified electoral college votes.

        Had Pence caved to Donald Trump’s relentless hectoring to do otherwise, it would have thrown American democracy into chaos.

  3. This was one of Bill Maher’s best monologues. For many people, perhaps a majority, the concept of democracy is an abstraction that they don’t understand or, more likely, care little about. They are only concerned with their immediate needs and will vote for those politicians that they think can meet them. If they are worried about inflation or the Woke then they will vote for politicians that they perceive can meet these challenges. If at some future date they realize that they no longer like these politicians, they will only be able to grumble, but only to themselves since it will be too dangerous to utter their views in public.

    I am glad that Maher present a mini-history lesson. Namely, that some of the worst dictators came to power through democratic elections, which were quickly banned once they took office. Democracy can be used to destroy democracy. All good demagogues know this. Restoring democracy is difficult to impossible once it is gone. Lacking historical understanding due to the fairy tale version of American history taught in schools or no instruction at all, the Republican voters have no conception of what is about to happen to them and the country. But, then again, they may think this is a good thing.

    1. Yes, the Right has been successful in instilling the idea that government is the problem and we’d be better off without it. Reagan literally said that.
      Most people have little idea of how the US federal government works and how they benefit from it, so they’re incapable of understanding what the republicans are planning to do and how much worse life will be for them.
      And Maher is right, this is how democracies always fail. They always self-destruct.

  4. We’re in the days of “bread and circuses” again. The cult of personality and cheap gas is what the people want. To hell with what is needed.

  5. I pretty much agree with Maher. I read, though, in the Economist this morning that a good number of polls are Republican-leaning. The article is most likely for subscribers only, and it won’t let me gift it to you all, but here’s the closing paragraph:
    “After all this calculating, our best estimate is that Republicans will win the House comfortably. The Senate is too close to call, though Republicans appear to have an edge there too. Candidate quality (or lack of it) does not seem to be hurting Donald Trump’s party much.”—”Bang average,” The Economist, Nov 3rd 2022

  6. It is all nonsense. Dems contributed to the campaigns of the people they are now complaining about.

    Political groups and nonprofits aligned with the Democratic Party have spent nearly $44 million on advertising campaigns across five states’ Republican primaries to boost the profile of far-right candidates in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland.

    Democrats strategy is rooted in the belief that these candidates — many of whom spread unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential race was stolen from former President Donald Trump — will be easier to defeat in a general election.


    Let’s also remember that the Clinton campaign deliberately helped Trump win the GOP

    An email recently released by the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks shows how the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party bear direct responsibility for propelling the bigoted billionaire to the White House.

    In its self-described “pied piper” strategy, the Clinton campaign proposed intentionally cultivating extreme right-wing presidential candidates, hoping to turn them into the new “mainstream of the Republican Party” in order to try to increase Clinton’s chances of winning.

    The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee called for using far-right candidates “as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right.” Clinton’s camp insisted that Trump and other extremists should be “elevated” to “leaders of the pack” and media outlets should be told to “take them seriously.”


    1. That may have been bad and dangerous Democratic strategy (I thought so as it was happening, and we’ll know one way or another soon enough), but it does nothing at all to show that Maher’s analysis is “nonsense.”

  7. Who said history doesn’t repeat itself?

    “This will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy—that it gave its deadly enemies the means by which it was destroyed.” —Joseph Goebbels

    “We enter the Reichstag to arm ourselves with democracy’s weapons. If democracy is foolish enough to give us free railway passes and salaries, that is its problem. It does not concern us. Any way of bringing about the revolution is fine by us.

    We do not beg for votes. We demand conviction, devotion, passion! A vote is only a tool for us as well as for you. We will march into the marble halls of parliament, bringing with us the revolutionary will of the broad masses from which we came, called by fate and forming fate. We do not want to join this pile of manure. We are coming to shovel it out.
    Do not believe that parliament is our goal. We have shown the enemy our nature from the podiums of our mass meetings and in the enormous demonstrations of our brown army. We will show it as well in the leaden atmosphere of parliament.
    We are coming neither as friends or neutrals. We come as enemies! As the wolf attacks the sheep, so come we.
    You are not among your friends any longer! You will not enjoy having us among you!”
    —Joseph Goebbels (“Why Do We Want to Join the Reichstag?” Essay published in Der Angriff, April 1928)

    1. I do not know if Goebbels invented the strategy, but it is the most important chapter in the authoritarian’s user’s manual. Certainly, today’s Republican (fascist — I no longer hesitate to use the word) Party is following it word for word. The Democratic Party is only now waking up to the danger, probably too late to avoid the apocalypse. I lay fault at least in part with Obama, Biden and the rest of the Democratic leadership. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they viewed the Republican Party as “normal,” one that would abide by the rules of democratic politics. As a result, we are seeing the culmination of forty or more years of right-wing efforts to control the government – permanently. Unlike in 2020, organized violence will not be necessary to gain power. Its ability to gull a significant percentage of the masses along with the nature of the American political system will allow the fascists to take it perfectly legally as was the case in Weimar Germany.

  8. I’m a big fan of Maher’s, but I think invoking a comparison to Hitler and Mussolini on the grounds that they were elected is specious. Hitler and Mussolini didn’t spend millions of dollars (or their respective currency) trying to convince their citizenship how to vote. They didn’t rush to stump at swing states at the last minute to bolster their chances of winning there. These and other strategies confirm that the will of the people matters and that, in fact, political leaders fear the power of the people—not, as with Hitler and Mussolini, the other way around.

    1. Hitler did campaign… He even had an airplane for that purpose. The Nazis did not win the absolute majority in the last democratic election. They got enough votes to make Hitler the head of government. Then the Nazis systematically gutted the democratic institutions from within… Sounds familiar?

      1. “Hitler did campaign… He even had an airplane for that purpose.”

        Yes, I understand he just dropped a few opponents from the plane without parachutes.

    2. An excellent book on this topic is Allen’s ‘The Nazi Seizure of Power’, in which he details how they systematically gained power in one town through local elections, and in the process took over the entire country. Doing this required extensive campaigning to sway the local population. It was all legal and within electoral rules. But of course once in power they changed the rules.
      They also barely won most of the elections by just a percent or two.

  9. I agree with Maher’s conclusion even if it is only his opinion. But I agree because of the evidence of how the Republican Party has rigged and cheated its way to power in the past two decades. If you want to get even more depressed, read these two books:
    Laboratories of Autocracy by David Pepper (there’s also a recent interview with him on the Al Franken podcast) and CODE RED: Computerized Elections and The War on American Democracy by Jonathan Simon.

    Simon’s book destroyed what little faith I had in voting. He has been analyzing polling/election outcome data for decades and presents evidence for the “Red Shift”:

    “virtually every piece of damning forensic evidence
    collected over the 18 years of the post-HAVA,
    computerized vote-counting era points to distortions
    or manipulations favoring the more right-wing
    candidate or position.”

    And for a recent example from 2020:
    “When the dust settled, Republicans won 27 out of 27 US House contests
    rated as “tossups” by The New York Times (and Cook Political Report and 538.com); Joe Biden’s projected popular
    vote victory of nearly 13 million votes was cut practically in half; several
    Senate seats were “flipped” red relative to exit and/or tracking poll
    projections; and even at the state legislative level, expected Democratic
    gains turned into GOP gains.
    All the anomalies and disparities worked to the benefit of Republican
    candidates (including Trump) and to the detriment of Democrats. ALL”

    We’re naive to think that it is beneath the Republicans to rig competitive elections, particularly when they literally own the voting machines:
    “As of 2012 the vote – counting corporations had been
    whittled down to two principals – ES&S and the
    whimsically named Dominion Voting – that between
    them controlled the computers that counted the vast
    majority of the votes in America. When you trace the
    pedigree of these vendors, every road seems to lead
    back to the right wing: wealthy Texas oilmen,
    fanatical Fundamentalists, major Republican donors,
    and prominent Republican politicians.”

    Simon’s book is a wake-up call (and he writes very well too) and should be required reading. I hope to be wrong but this election looks to be the culmination and fulfillment of a 20-year plan (HAVA was passed in 2002) to steal power and establish permanent Republican rule in the US.

  10. Bill Maher? The multimillionaire who proclaimed that America is “the greatest country in the world” and pointed out as examples the atrocities in Yemen or the fact that Afghan mothers were handing their babies to US Marines? And said so exactly two weeks after the US Army bombed a health clinic in Afghanistan (September 2021). Bill Maher who is best friends with Ann Coulter? Bill Maher who picked Amy Klobuchar (!!!) in the last presidential run? Let me see how much I care about his stupid rants… Mmmmno, not that much.

    How about we pay attention to the data analysts instead of the corporate talking heads:


    1. Allow me to elaborate a bit further. The main problem with Maher´s argument is not his lack of moral standing, nor his (hopefully) incorrect prediction of a ´red tsunami´, when all we´ll probably get is a red ripple. It´s the assumption that the system is fine as it is and should not be tampered with (the definition of a ´conservative´ if you ask me). Bill´s beloved American democracy features:
      1- The Electoral College, which in two of the past six elections has chosen a President who did not win the popular vote.
      2- The Senate, a body that gives Wyoming’s 580 thousand residents the same voting power as California’s 39 million. Half the population today is represented by 18 senators, the other half by 82.
      3- DC, by the way, with more residents than either Wyoming or Vermont, does not have representation.
      4- The filibuster, which allows 42 senators representing 10% of the public to block legislation supported by senators representing the other 90%.
      5- The House of Representatives, where in 2012 Democrats running for the House got around a million more votes than Republicans, but the Republicans ended up with a 33-seat advantage.
      6- Gerrymandering at colossal scale by both parties.

      Checks and balances, right. Michael Kinsley’s law of scandal applies: The scandal isn’t what’s illegal. The scandal is what’s legal.

      Source: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/08/22/american-democracy-was-never-designed-to-be-democratic-eric-holder-our-unfinished-march-nick-seabrook-one-person-one-vote-jacob-grumbach-laboratories-against-democracy

  11. As a Bill Maher fan I will go on record: I predict that he will look back at the hyperbole of this clip with embarrassment.

    Election denial and hyped-up fear of the “other” side is a sadly predictable bipartisan affair. Trump is simply the most obnoxious and disgusting of the practitioners—and dangerous—IF he had sufficient talent and brains. 2000 presidency anyone? How about 2016, the one that was hacked by the Russians and thus illegitimate, so said Hillary Clinton and the entire apparatus of the DNC. Stacey Abrams is still not acknowledging defeat in the “rigged” Georgia gubernatorial race four years ago yet she is a darling of some Democratic circles. What about her denial? According to Biden we have Jim Crow 2.0 and mass voter suppression in the new Georgia election law. Yet, somehow, they set a record for early voter turnout this fall.

    I’m not here to defend either Republicans or Trump and the more repulsive of his followers. The man is disgusting as a man and a disgrace to the office he once held. But we have a problem in this country, a bipartisan problem, in which many partisans of each side only accept things as legitimate when they get their own way. Interestingly, it is always “our” democracy that is at stake—not the democracy of the people who vote differently than do we. And the partisans of each side continually see an “existential threat” in the victories of their opponents. It’s Weimar. It’s Hitler. It’s Mussolini. Oh my!

    Sorry for the rant. I already voted and got the cute, little sticker, so I needed a different venue to unload about the once-again “most important election in our lives”!

    Yes, there are significant problems out there and threats to values that were once considered fundamental by most–and the illiberal assaults are coming from both sides of our party divide. The sensible people on “both sides” will need to overcome any mutual antipathies and make common cause to defend these. I hope that this academic freedom conference was a small step in that direction. Once again, to our host, thanks for going.

    1. As a Bill Maher fan I will go on record: I predict that he will look back at the hyperbole of this clip with embarrassment.

      Even though I share worries about the GOP, I had the same feeling watching the clip.

    2. You haven’t addressed the central point of Maher’s speech, which is that plenty of Republicans who denied the legitimacy of the last Presidential election are on the verge of being elected and subverting future elections in this country. Pointing to Clinton (who quickly conceded and never called Trump’s election illegitimate) or Abrams (how many insurrections did she favor?) is classic whataboutism.

      1. I believe that Maher will come to find his statements overwrought and the worries excessive. Time will tell. Since we are supposedly going to see the “subverting [of] future elections in this country”, as you characterize it, might we call this anticipatory election denial? Or are speculative and otherwise unsubstantiated claims of election-changing fraud, suppression, hacking, stealing, subversion etc. only “denial” when one side does it?

        I won’t waste space posting more than one link to Hillary Clinton and her use of “illegitimate”. I will note that the below Washington Post piece is from late 2019, so one cannot chalk it up to unfortunate words in the immediate wake of an emotional defeat. And feel free to parse “illegitimate election” versus “illegitimate president”. Context of the comments makes it clear. (If she has retracted these comments or claimed to be misquoted, I would be pleased to see it.) Also, note how the WP reporter characterizes it as Donald Trump “stole the 2016 presidential election”. That’s right: STOLE. Turns out that Trump is not only an idiot; he’s a plagiarist of sorts, as well.


        1. Unlike Trump, Clinton quickly conceded the election. Even if she later said Trump “knows he’s an illegitimate president” in 2019, that doesn’t begin to approach the concerted attempts by Trump and many other Republicans to deny and roll back the election results, whether through insurrections, attempted to persuade or intimidate elected officials, “stop the steal” campaigns, etc.

          It’s hardly “anticipatory election denial” to worry about what might happen when a group of extreme right-wing outright election deniers get elected to offices where they might have influence over the next presidential election. You say you’re “not here to defend either Republicans or Trump and the more repulsive of his followers”—well, some of the latter stand a good chance of being elected this week, and Maher is right to be concerned!

  12. I fail to imagine Hitler coming to power in anything but a democracy. How could he have established a military dictatorship, or failed to be sidelined as a hereditary monarch like the Kaiser was in times of crisis? He was a demagogue without any work experience or the personal qualities usually required for leadership. Before WW1 he was effectively homeless, and during the war he was never promoted, remaining a loner without influence on anybody else. His skill set was limited to public speaking performances, or (less charitably) being a bullshit artist.

    Trump seems to have been well-liked throughout his life. But no decent business would put him into a leadership role, because he is obviously a psychopathic fraudster. If the Republicans picked their candidates based on the votes of a few party members rather than large crowds, he would not have been their presidential nominee. It’s the masses who want him, not US elites.

    I stand by that: Trump’s election is the fault of democracy, at least of the sort currently practiced in the US.

  13. At the height of Watergate a poll revealed that 25% of the population supported Nixon. It’s a short leap from accepting a right-wing criminal in the White House to accepting a right-wing authoritarian there, especially if he has the good sense to pretend he’s still running a democracy. Put together the 25% who would be fine with Democracy in name-only (provided it was right-wing) along with the 25% who are “low information voters” and think punishing a President for gas prices is logical, and you have enough to recapture power, especially if some of your supporters will gain positions in state governments that allow them to interfere in vote counts.

  14. This is hyperbole from Maher and many others in his circle have the same message.
    The voting system has always been manipulated to some significant extent.
    Democracy is in its mature form, it not a good look regardless of party in control, and then Maher conflates it with a Republic. So I guess its a Democratic Republic!
    It’s not the end of democracy or whatever, its just the trough or peak on a Sine function. Cheer up!

  15. Afraid Bill is correct. I expect painful setbacks in N.C. as we lose both blue collar appeal and reproductive rights.

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