Watch: Bill Maher Breaks Bernie with Simple Question About America That Any Conservative Could Answer


After the first four primary contests in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination sweepstakes, one thing was clear: It was down to two old, white men, both of whom were well past the point of diminishing returns.

One was an old party hack who could be used as a puppet by socialists, the other was an old socialist hack who could be used as a puppet by the party. What, pray tell, was the difference?

It’s difficult to give you an exhaustive list, but Friday night’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” provided at least one stark contrast. President Joe Biden is so old that he doesn’t know what he’s telling you. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is so old he doesn’t know when he’s accidentally telling you the truth.

Maher — that liberal whom conservatives occasionally like because he not only realizes, as Orwell put it, that “[t]o see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” he periodically makes that effort — decided to ask Sanders about two words that factor heavily into the modern leftist mindset.

The host was reading from an audience question: “Are we confusing equality of opportunity with trying to guarantee equity in outcomes?”

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“That’s interesting — because I think this word ‘equity’ has come into the language in the last few years, and before that, we didn’t hear it a lot,” Maher said.

“A lot of people hear ‘equity’ and they hear ‘equality’ like it’s the same word, and it’s not the same word and the same concept,” he continued.

And he turned to his left — naturally, Bernie was seated to Maher’s left — and asked: “So, how would you differentiate between equity and equality?”

Then there was that pause.

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Those who have followed politics for any length of time will recognize the italicized pause: That deer-in-headlights moment that hangs in the air when the only answers are bad answers and, what’s worse, the politician being asked doesn’t even have any of them.

It can last only a fraction of a second. It can last until cricket eggs laid in the venue as the question was being asked hatch some two weeks later and the hatchlings begin chirping, calling even more attention to the awkward silence. No matter how long it lasts, however, it’s there and it’s noticeable.

So there was that. Then, with a smack of the lips, Bernie attempted an answer: “Well, equality, we talk about, well–”

Another in-italics pause. Then: “Well, I don’t know what the answer to that is.”

That didn’t stop him from going on, though.

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“Come be to think of it, ‘equality’ is equality of opportunity,” Sanders said, apparently disregarding the fact you can’t use the word you’re defining to define the concept itself.

“We live in a society where we want all people to have to have, whatever color your skin–”

Maher then interrupted: “And equity is more guarantee of outcome, is it not?”

That, of course, is the answer any conservative would have given.

“Yeah, I think so,” Bernie responded, confronted with an argument he couldn’t win.


To be fair, Sanders said he came down on the side of equality, at least in Maher’s presence. Don’t tell that to his campaign, though, which stated:

“This campaign is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring, in programming, and in all other aspects of the work we do. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are deeply connected to our mission, our success, and to serving the American people. Some organizational priorities include:

Or Bernie himself:

Notice, pay equity, not equality. It’s not a matter of what job you do or anything like that — equal pay for equal genders, however many of them there are today. That’s equity. Which Bernie Sanders isn’t behind. Except when he says he is.

And that brings up the question of whether Bernie was lying to Maher to hide the dark truth that he really doesn’t “believe” in equality at all.

To be as fair as possible, Sanders isn’t the kind of drum-banger on equity that younger Bernie-influenced politicians are, but he still supports the concept in name — until he’s asked to define it, realizes his definition sounds a lot like life in Maduro’s Venezuela or Ortega’s Nicaragua (not like he’d support any of those regimes … oh wait), and goes with “equality.”

Friday’s “Real Time” was a glimpse into an alternate reality where then-House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn didn’t act as a deus ex machina and save Joe Biden’s floundering campaign by endorsing him before the pivotal South Carolina primary. Instead of a Democrat too far gone to talk, we’d have one too far gone to lie.

Rest assured, however, that if Bernie Sanders had taken office as the 46th president of these United States, we’d have more equity than we’d know what to do with — no matter what comes out of Sen. Waldorf’s mouth now that he’s not in any position to make that happen.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture