On the latest episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, the host welcomed “planet earth’s most tireless champion,” former Vice President Al Gore. Gore has been on a speaking tour in support of his new movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power, the follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. His visit on the late night show culminated with a discussion of our elections and what Democrats can do to get back to winning.
But Bill got directly into the subject of the movie, asking Al whether we were “kidding ourselves” about being able to turn the tide on climate change. He cited multiple predictions of a “tipping point” beyond which there would be no return. Gore emphasized that different people meant different things by the phrase, but that scientists still agree we have not yet reached a point where it’s completely out of our control. But he did say that some tipping points have in fact been reached with lost ice sheets and rising sea levels, and said that America was still in danger of exacerbating the problem.
“We could lose Venice. We could lose Florida,” Maher remarked, before adding, “and who would know better about losing Florida?”
Without missing a beat, Gore responded, “Actually, I think I carried Florida.”
The conversation naturally turned to current events and Donald Trump, with Maher mentioning Trump’s promise to bring back coal jobs, and Gore reminding him that it was coal companies, not climate change activists, who got rid of most of those jobs. When Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord, Gore said, he was concerned that it would serve as an excuse for other countries to do the same — but the rest of the world “redoubled their commitment” the next day.
Then Bill brought up something Gore has said many times: That if we’re going to fix the climate, we have to “fix our democracy first.” Recalling the gaps between popular vote and actual outcomes in 2000 and 2016, Maher lamented the direction of the trend. When he asked Gore, “How do we fix that,” Gore was succinct:
Well, I do think it’s time to get rid of the electoral college and go to a popular vote for president… But even more importantly than that, we have to get big money out of politics. The lobbyists and the fat-cat contributors hacked our democracy before Putin hacked our democracy, and we need to defend it and put the people back in control — and we can do that.
Gore couldn’t be more right. Whether it’s through a constitutional amendment, or the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, America should be represented at the highest level by the person most people want in charge. Donald Trump’s dismal (and sinking) poll numbers only serve to underscore that point.
Watch the exchange here:
Featured image via Brendon Thorne/Getty Images