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August 05, 2017

Al Gore to Bill Maher: It's time to abolish the Electoral College

Spoiler alert: Al Gore still has a bone to pick with the system we use to elect our president.

After all, Gore was the 2000 Democratic nominee for president who lost the election that year to George W. Bush despite winning the popular vote. The election famously came down to Florida, which national TV news networks had initially called for Gore before retracting.

The former vice president ultimately conceded the election after a month-long recount in the state and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

In a sit-down with Gore on HBO's "Real Time," host Bill Maher said he, too, thinks the United States needs to fix its democracy before fixing the climate.

"You got 500,000 more votes than the guy who took over," Maher said of the 2000 presidential election, adding that Democrat Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election to President Donald Trump despite winning the popular vote by three million. "This thing where we get the most votes and they get to be president, that's a pattern now, and it's not going in the right direction. How do we stop that?"

"Well, I do think it's time to get rid of the Electoral College and go to a popular vote," Gore responded.

When Maher noted that abolishing the Electoral College would mean passing a constitutional amendment, Gore said it could also be done through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement among states to award all of their respective electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote.

Ten states and the District of Columbia have signed on, but the proposal has been in the works for more than a decade.

Gore also said "lobbyists and fat-cat contributors hacked our democracy before [Russian President Vladimir] Putin hacked our democracy."

Maher first broached the subject early in the segment while discussing Gore's newest documentary film on global warming.

"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" follows up on the 2006 documentary film on global warming released in conjunction with Gore's book of the same name. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was released by Paramount Pictures last week.

"So when the sea levels rise, obviously we could lose Venice. We could lose Florida," Maher said in his interview with Gore, before following up with a can't-miss punchline.

"And who would know better about losing Florida?"

"Actually I think I carried Florida," Gore quipped after giving a shrug and a smile.

The two then talked about the country's election system when Maher brought up Gore's opinion that if the United States were to "fix the climate, we have to fix our democracy first."

Gore also said he met with the president at Trump Tower before he took office and tried to speak to him about climate change. Those conversations continued after Trump took office, Gore said.

On June 1, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

"I thought actually there was a chance he would come to his senses, but I was wrong," Gore said.

See the full interview here below.