Political satirist Bill Maher plans to ask viewers of his HBO show Friday night to make their case for the worst U.S. House incumbents up for re-election this year in a move aimed at targeting one particularly offensive member for defeat.
According to The New York Times, Maher and his staff will choose the unlucky winner from viewer submissions
and then actually spend time visiting the district he or she represents in an effort to generate votes against them.
The lawmaker chose must be running in a competitive race, Maher said so that the "Real Time with Bill Maher"
program can actually enter "into the exciting world of outright meddling with the political process."
Mayer often lampoons politicians — usually Republicans — on his Friday night show. But with his "flip the district" plan, Maher plans to do more, following his selected candidate's campaign through November and pointing out what it considers his or her bad representation in Congress.
Further, Maher plans to make occasional visits to the targeted representative's district, where he will perform stand-up comedy in hopes of stirring up hostile feelings toward his target.
"Real Time" producer Scott Carter told the Times the show wants to get "the chance to win" when it comes to an election. He said the politician chosen from the viewer submissions could be a Republican or Democrat. But he acknowledged that with the liberal viewers and voters the Maher show attracts, "I imagine it is much more likely we will pick a Republican."
Maher also told the Times there are many "terrible, entrenched congressmen out there. We’re going to choose one of them, throw him or her into the national spotlight, and see if we can’t send him or her scuttling under the refrigerator on election night."
Carter said the show will make sure that the challenger in the targeted candidate's race welcomes Maher's involvement because the incumbent could play the "outside agitators" card and accuse "Hollywood types" of interfering in the race.
Obviously, Carter added, the show hopes to generate a great deal of humor from its effort other than making the point that there are some members of Congress who may not deserve to be there.
"We think there will be no shortage of nominations of incumbents who are ludicrous, who are ridiculous for one reason or another,” Carter said. "We think there is no lack of entertainment value among sitting members of Congress."
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