On Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson stopped by to talk about his new book What Truth Sounds Like, which tells the story of Bobby Kennedy’s effort to understand race in America.
After detailing several interesting scenes from the book, Maher asked Dyson to use what he’s learned from studying Kennedy that might apply today, which led to a conversation about Trump’s recent spate of pardons, which has freed people like non-violent drug offender Alice Marie Johnson.
“It’s shrewd,” Dyson said.
Why didn’t Obama pardon people like Johnson?
It’s something Maher said he could not understand—Democrats have failed to take potentially wildly popular actions like freeing non-violent offenders serving life sentences.
“There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit,” Maher said. “[Trump is] just wily enough. What could make you popular? Legalizing pot. He could do that tomorrow. He’d do it just to piss off Jeff Sessions and he’d get a lot of [support]—black and white. I’d be his biggest fan for a day.”
The book also includes a section drawing parallels between Trump to Bernie Sanders.
“They’re both older white men who are cankerous,” he said. “They’re both older white guys who were slow to understand what race was about in America. And after Trump was elected, even Bernie Sanders said ‘You know, we’ve got to do something about this identity politics.'”