Maher: Don't confuse 5,000 rioters with 74 million voters

Words of wisdom from Bill Maher, who certainly doesn’t express any sympathy for or with Donald Trump within them. It’s a couple of days old, but the wrap-up of his Real Time episode on Friday addresses some important points, especially in the near future. How do 81 million Biden voters get along with 74 million Trump voters, and vice versa? Maher argues that attempting to paint all Trump voters as insurrectionists is about the worst possible strategy for the media and in politics, and he’s correct.

And Maher adds in defense of the 74 million: “You can like something run by a****les without being one yourself.” Via our friend Ian Schwartz at RealClearPolitics, with mildly NSFW language:

Bill Maher called on Democrats not to write off all Trump voters as deplorable and asks Republicans to consider whether some of their anger is misdirected in a monologue delivered about the “tragedy” of Trump voters Friday on his HBO show “Real Time.”

“Let’s not confuse 5,000 people with 74 million,” Maher said to his audience. “Yes, even supporting the insurrection in spirit is, well, deplorable. But there’s a difference between holding illiberal beliefs and acting violently on them. At least that’s what they always told me about Islamic terrorism.”

“I keep wrestling on this show with the hard question of how do Americans, all of us, learn to share a country with assholes you can’t stand,” the host said. “I preach, and still do, you can hate Trump, but not all the people who like him. And as counterintuitive as it may seem, you can like something run by assholes without being one yourself.”

Maher did have some surprising sympathy for the one rioter shot and killed in the sacking of the Capitol, but not on the basis of any potential police malfeasance. Ashli Babbitt shouldn’t have been there in the first place and had been horribly misled into participation, Maher suggests, but then points out that her life in a deep-blue state hadn’t exactly been going well either.

“Should Ashli Babbitt have applied better logic in seeing that her real problem in life wasn’t pedophile Democrats or Antifa and that people like Elizabeth Warren were actually the ones who were at least trying to do something about predatory lending and economic exploitation? Yes. But not everyone can watch MSNBC all day. She had other priorities, like fighting overseas,” he said.

“Maybe, since all politics is local, all she knew was she lives in a state that cares more about her toxic whiteness than her toxic brokeness,” Maher added. “And that the state that is run entirely by Democrats. Yeah. They didn’t stop anyone from charging her 169% interest on a loan either.”

“It shouldn’t be that surprising that America is full of fed-up unhappy people who just want to break shit,” Maher continued. “Trump sure didn’t drain any swamps but when it comes to graft and corruption and everybody wetting his beak, California, yeah, that’s a swamp too. We can’t put up a housing unit for the homeless for less than $500,000 or build a rail line connecting the state for less than $200 million a mile.”

Maher has some personal experience with the California swamp, which he covers toward the end. Perhaps that’s why Maher finds more empathy with Babbitt and by extension some of the others at the riot while still condemning their participation. It’s certainly one reason why Maher feels empathy toward 74 million people who voted for Trump for all sorts of different reasons and had no desire for insurrection at all. He clearly disagrees with that choice, but sees past that very well and articulates why everyone else should, too.

To grasp this, people will have to stop making politics the sine qua non of humanity, a point that is true for all sides. One has to wonder how many in Maher’s own audience is willing to do that, but kudos to Maher for challenging them and everyone else.