Bill Maher Absolutely Nails Why Voting Matters (VIDEO)

maherYou aren’t normally going to find me singing the praises of Bill Maher, but he absolutely nailed it last night when discussing why voting matters. Yes, you heard that right, that’s me praising Bill Maher and using a click bait headline to describe what happened – because I believe in giving credit when it’s due, regardless of who the message comes from. No, that doesn’t let him off the hook with me for his anti-science views on some subjects or sharing links from Addicting Info, but as we will discuss here, nobody’s perfect.


A reader sent me the clip from Bill Maher’s page in which he mocked Russell Brand’s message of some sort of spiritual, non-violent overthrow of the status quo that’s accomplished by opting out and not voting, something I caught a lot of flack for recently when calling Brand out as well. In addition to that, Maher also imagined for us a dystopian America that hadn’t elected Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 and had elected Republicans to the White House instead.

The important takeaway from this is that voting does really matter, whether or not a party or candidate manages to excite you. Politics is often dirty, regardless of which party is making policies and slinging campaign ads. No candidate is perfect, all of them have character flaws and sometimes make stupid mistakes that destroy their political careers – so stop waiting for Jesus Christ himself to descend from heaven and run for president. There isn’t going to be some political messiah that leads us out of the desert into the promised land of a $15 minimum wage, sustainable green energy and affordable healthcare access for everyone. Yet, that’s what I think far too many Americans did. They pinned all of their hopes and dreams on electing someone to the White House who they believed would change everything, then didn’t bother voting again, and then wondered when the “hope and change” was going to show up.

What’s more, a lot of people don’t grasp the complexities of politics. They don’t understand that even folks like Elizabeth Warren and the “purest” of ideological politicians have to make compromises and vote for less than ideal things in exchange for getting their own bills passed or even considered. Many voters are also swayed by a lot of the negative stories and propaganda created by super PACs and other organizations designed to create misinformation, confusion and apathy. I’d venture a guess that probably 80% or more of voters simply do not have the time or the ability to fact-check stories coming from the ever-growing number of partisan blog sites disguised as news outlets. Over and over again, they’re told that both parties are the same or that President Obama has broken his promises to the people who voted for him, and many are beaten into apathy. After all, wouldn’t you grow weary of seeing the same political attack ads on nearly every TV channel or website you visit? Wouldn’t you get tired of the same old “describe him/her with one word” political images popping up in your Facebook feed every single time you look at your phone, and wouldn’t you just want to say “screw it” and go watch a mind-numbing reality TV show instead or play whatever the hot new Facebook game is these days?


Politics is dirty, it’s not easy and sometimes you really do have to pull the lever for the lesser of two evils – but that’s the way politics has always been since the concept of representative government came around. Politics in a nation ruled by the people instead of monarchs unfortunately requires compromises, back room deals and the necessity to be pragmatic instead of constantly idealistic. If more voters would realize these facts of life and get involved at the same time, we’d get a lot closer to reducing money in politics and stopping voter suppression efforts – but none of these things will happen until we stop being apathetic and waiting for a political messiah. Nobody can save us from our political predicament except ourselves – and I wish more people in Bill Maher’s line of work would point that out on a regular basis to their viewers.

Watch the video below via Real Time’s YouTube channel.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlHUgQODQNU]



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  • Todd Menzing

    Please
    allow me to vent by rambling on about this for a few minutes. Yes, it
    matters, the vote matters,at least I believe it does, but it matters
    less and less. I saw this bit on the Maher show and I thought he was
    being typically smug and self righteous with respect to yet another
    Bourgeois Billy bromide. This fool not only voted in the ballot box, he
    actually gave Barak Obama a million dollars. Now, this other kind of
    “vote,” this deep pockets means to influence elections is a big part of
    the problem. Chump change to the Kochs, et. al., I know, but big money
    in politics is a big part of the problem. Most Americans did not vote,
    and this is why he’s angry, but when they do vote, they vote for people
    like Barak Obama and Mary Landreau. There are some good, solid
    Democrats, and independents in power, that’s for sure, and that’s why I
    think it is important to vote but the frank fact of the matter is, for
    the most part, it does not matter which of the two major parties people
    vote for, the status quo is not only defended, the agenda of the
    oligarchs and the logic of capitalist imperialism marches on. Yes, I do
    think the average American voter is ill-informed but most people do
    know their interests. Most people would support a build out of our
    infrastructure. Most would support government subsidized education
    through university. Most would support a national health service. Most
    would support a dramatic cut in military spending, etc., etc. etc. How
    can we get any of these things done when both parties have to “dial for
    dollars” in order to remain viable as candidates? The money pouring
    into these campaigns purchase media political time (also corporate
    owned) that absolutely encourages cynicism, alienation and disaffection.
    Take Obama (please), for example: here’s a guy that was able to awaken
    the latent, populist, democratic energy in this nation — especially
    among the youth. He could have helped steer that energy into a powerful
    counter-narrative to that of the corporate oligarchs. But what does he
    do? He actually doubles-down in terms of supporting the right wing
    agenda. No wonder people don’t vote! What the fuck for? Nah, I’m with
    Russel Brand on all this. Unlike Brand, I still vote (probably because
    as a student of history, I know the price paid for it) but I still
    think the entire system (system!) is bought and paid for. JONATHAN!
    JONATHAN! —- Ok, the Rollerball reference is the end of this
    scattershot rant.

    • FuzzyBunnyFeet

      The need to “dial for dollars” was made worse by the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision handed down in 2010 which trashed McCain-Feingold as well as about a century of precedent. Earlier this year, 54 Senators voted for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United, but they were blocked by 42 Republican Senators.
      .
      So, was the correct response to not vote and allow vested interests to elect more obstructionist/corporatist Republicans in the House, the Senate, governorships and state legislatures; or was it to vote for more people who would support reversing Citizens United and reinstating (dare I dream, perhaps even strengthening) McCain-Feingold.

      .

      And before you complain that both sides have big money donors, consider which side has the larger number of transparent PACs and which side has the larger number of dark-money organizations. It would be naive to expect either side to unilaterally stop raising money, what needs to happen is that politicians opposed to big money in politics need to be elected at all levels of government so that the corrupting influence of money can be checked and hopefully reversed.

      • Todd Menzing

        Yeah, yeah, yeah. We haven’t heard any of that before.