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Bill Maher says he is surprised by how many Dems are poised to vote against Biden

By Sarah May on
 May 1, 2023

As the longtime host of HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher has dutifully maintained his liberal bona fides, but he is never afraid to raise subjects likely to rile the Democratic establishment, and he recently highlighted the surprising traction already gained by one of President Joe Biden's primary challengers, as Fox News reports.

Maher's comments came during Friday's installment of his popular panel program, when he marveled at the degree of support garnered to date by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who just announced his candidacy for the highest office in the land.

Maher Marvels

It was during the “Overtime” portion of Maher's show that he entertained a viewer question about a Fox News poll suggesting that Kennedy currently enjoys 19% support within the pool of Democratic primary voters.

Reacting to those numbers, Maher declared, “I must say, I'm surprised that right off the bat, he's polling at 19%.”

Also remarking on those unexpected results was Michael Moynihan, co-host of The Fifth Column podcast, who emphasized that other surveys have also revealed that upwards of 7 out of 10 Americans would prefer it if Biden stepped aside and did not seek a second term.

Those figures, Moynihan asserted, show that “people are looking for alternatives” and thus help explain the modest groundswell of enthusiasm for Kennedy among certain groups.

Closing Ranks

While acknowledging the fact of Kennedy's burgeoning support base, Moynihan further noted that the party establishment has made it clear that it will pull out all the stops to thwart any potential threat he could pose to Biden.

One technique the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will employ is to decline to hold primary debates that could leave Biden vulnerable to dangerous gaffes and missteps in the face of a challenge from a younger, perhaps more cognitively nimble Kennedy.

“They're not going to have debates. There is going to be no primary debates. [Kennedy] is just going to be pushed aside,” Moynihan said.

That said, the podcaster added, though Kennedy is currently running as a Democrat and therefore likely able to be shunted out of the way in the manner he described, “[i]f he decides to then run as a third-party candidate, you have a situation.”

Defending Kennedy

Maher pressed Moynihan to explain why he said he wished a Democrat other than Kennedy was the one to give Biden a run for his money, and the podcast personality referenced the candidate's positions on vaccines – particularly as they relate to COVID-19 – and his stances on so-called climate change deniers.

Moynihan also lamented his sense that Kennedy is trading in quasi-conspiracy theory by suggesting that he has been on the receiving end of significant censorship efforts in recent years, with the podcast host musing, “I just don't – you're a Kennedy. Your last book sold 2 million copies. No one is censoring you.”

For his part, Maher appeared to take issue with much of Moynihan's characterization of Kennedy, particularly with regard to the pandemic, noting that much of the guidance that came from the federal government during that time has since been proven wrong.

“He might be getting stuff wrong, but he's not a nut. He's not a nut and he's not a nut about COVID either or vaccines,” Maher opined of Kennedy.

Backlash Afoot?

Whether the DNC's determination to block potential threats to Biden by silencing internal opposition will prompt something of a revolt among rank-and-file Democrats, however, is something that remains to be seen, particularly in light of Biden's dismal approval ratings.

A Gallup survey released last week put Biden's job approval at a bleak 37%, the lowest point of his entire presidency thus far, with only 16% of respondents declaring economic conditions under his leadership to be “excellent” or “good.”

The doubts about Biden's capacity to successfully lead the nation for another four-year term only appear to be growing louder, and the DNC's decision to go all-in and stifle competing voices may not gain favor with voters, as some notable voices within the party have already suggested.

Another announced Democratic challenger – Marianne Williamson – recently said regarding the decision to nix primary debates, “The DNC 'plans no primary debates.' As though there simply ARE no other other ideas we should discuss about ways to win in 2024, or other ideas we should discuss about ways to repair the country. Too many people are too smart to accept this.”