The former vice president told Bill Maher his ideas for saving American democracy

By Nick Romano
August 05, 2017 at 10:44 AM EDT

On HBO’s Real Time Friday night, Bill Maher reminded his guest, Al Gore, of something the former vice president said regarding climate change: “We have to, if we’re going to fix climate, we have to fix our democracy first.” For Gore, that means both abolishing the electoral college and cleansing Washington of “big money.”

Maher compared Gore’s popular vote count in the 2000 presidential election to Hillary Clinton’s in 2016. Gore surpassed George W. Bush by approximately 500,000 votes, but lost the electoral college. Clinton bested Donald Trump by nearly 3 million votes, but lost the election for the same reason.

“This trend is not going in the right direction,” Maher remarked.

Asked how to stop the pattern of Democrats losing the presidency despite having the most votes, Gore said, “Well, I do think it’s time to get rid of the electoral college and go to a popular vote for president.” He added, “But even more importantly than that, we have to get big money out of politics. The lobbyists and the fat-cat contributors hacked our democracy before [Vladimir] Putin hacked our democracy, and we need to defend it and put the people back in control — and we can do that.”

While Gore quipped back at Maher for joking about how he lost Florida on the campaign trail (“Actually, I think I carried Florida,” he said), he’s diverting his efforts to combating climate change.

The documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which slams President Trump’s denial of climate change, is currently playing in theaters. Gore spoke to Maher about his conversation with the current POTUS at Trump Tower. “I [also] talked to the then-president-elect, and that conversation continued after he went into the White House, and I thought there was a chance he might come to his senses — but I was wrong,” he said.

Trump announced in June his plans to remove the U.S. from the Paris Accords. “I really was concerned that some other countries might use that as an excuse to pull out themselves,” Gore continued, “but the very next day, the entire rest of the world redoubled their commitment to the Paris Agreement as a way of saying, ‘We’ll show you, Mr. Trump.'”

Watch Gore’s chat with Maher above.

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