Bill Maher delighted the audience when MSNBC journo Alex Wagner asked him if Bernie Sanders was up to speed. Or as Wagner put it, whether Sanders is “on the level we need him to be?” Maher replied “F%ck yeah.” Describing the magical ascension of Sanders’ prospects Maher talked about not just the youth vote that the 74-year-old senator has galvanized. That’s the Sanders narrative most media is fixated on — the massive popularity among millennials of the mussed-haired crusader for economic justice.
Maher instead brought up another group he suspects has been lying in wait for a candidacy like that of Sanders. “We don’t know how many leftists have sat out election after election because they thought the two parties are too alike,” Maher said. This secret army of previously dormant leftists is what Maher believes may tilt the election. What Maher describes is the counterpoint to the silent majority that Nixon counted on: it’s the silent minority. Or silent until now, if Maher is right.