Bill Maher is feeling the Bern. On Friday’s Real Time, the comedian endorsed Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and defended socialism during an interview with the self-described “democratic socialist.” When Maher asked his liberal audience to cheer for either Hillary Clinton or Sanders to show who they supported, the crowd applauded for Sanders the loudest.
“We have two good candidates, its like on the airlines,” Maher said. “Sometimes you don’t get the fish and you have the chicken.”
After Sanders sat down to a roaring crowd, Maher joked that the last person Sanders’ age to bring in as much excitement was Rolling Stone’s frontman Mick Jagger.
“I want to help your campaign,” Maher said. “I want to see you get the nomination. I want to see you be president.”
“After the debate, Google reported you were the most clicked on name,” Maher said. “More people were searching for you than Justin Bieber’s penis.”
Yet, Sander’s “democratic socialist” identity can be perceived negatively which is why Americans needs to be educated on what socialism really is, Maher said.
“I don’t think most Americans realize they are already socialists,” Maher said.
But people are in agreement about income inequality being unacceptable, Sanders said.
“We want to deal with the grotesque income inequality in America,” Sanders said. “Very few people think it is acceptable or moral that the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.”
According to a New York Times/CBS News poll on income inequality, 65 percent of the 1,022 surveyed said the gap between the rich and poor in America needs to be addressed “now.” To address income inequality, 68 percent favored raising taxes on individuals earning one million dollars or more a year.
“Even the Republicans are not for income inequality, they hear that,” Maher said. “But it doesn’t compute that [income inequality] is going to be solved by socialism.”
Voting for a socialist is more unpopular among Americans than voting for a Jew, an African-American, or a woman, even though socialist systems such as Social Security, Medicare, and the Veteran’s Administration are all popular, Maher said.
Only 47 percent of Americans would consider voting for a socialist, according to a June Gallup poll. But more people are getting interested in socialism due to Sanders’ campaign. After the first Democratic primary debate, there was a spike in searches for “socialism” on Google and Merriam-Webster’s website, Vox reports.
“We have got to inform the American people that we are the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid family and medical leave,” Sanders said. “We have got to remind the American people that there is something a little bit crazy when we have more people in jail — appropriately people of color — than any other major country on Earth.”
Although many media outlets, including debate host CNN, reported that Clinton won the Democratic debate, online polls from TIME, CNN’s Facebook, and San Diego’s Fox 5 listed Sanders as the victor according to over 50 percent of respondents.
“On every one of the major issues I am talking about the American people agree,” Sanders said. “The American people believe public colleges and universities should be tuition-free, as they are for many other countries. Do the American people believe that the largest corporations and the wealthiest people — who are today doing phenomenally well while the middle class shrinks — think they should be asked to pay more in taxes? The American people say yes.”
Watch Sanders’ interview with Maher below, courtesy of HBO.
[Image via YouTube/HBO]