Comedian Bill Maher called out former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang during a Friday night appearance on HBO's "Real Time" over Yang's "long-shot" third party ambitions, saying the party's platform is a "bunch of mush."
Maher was joined by Yang and Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., during the show. The late-night host asked Yang about his "Forward Party."
"You know, universal basic income, right? Which is sort of what we did, yeah, during COVID. Okay, so where are you now? I mean, I see your – I don’t get your third party because I read your website and it’s a bunch of mush. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just saying it’s not like specific. It doesn’t even mention this. And why start a third party, which is a long shot anyway, if you’re not going to be bold and… what?"
Yang told Maher that our "political system is not going to address poverty or climate change or polarization unless you actually fix the incentives."
"So we’re in a no compromise zone. So if you wanted to, let’s say, alleviate poverty in America, you have to fix our democratic system. This two party system is not designed to deliver solutions," Maher said.
Slotkin also seemed to criticize Yang's third-party ambitions.
"I just have to say, I’m not 100% sure how a different party. I mean, you have to explain how that’s going to change the whole system. But here’s the thing. If you have a senator as someone who’s running for Senate, if you have a senator who is saying if you have a senator saying the incentives are wrong, so I can’t do the right thing, that’s the problem, not the fact that we need another party," she said.
Yang announced he was leaving the Democratic Party in 2021 and said he planned to launch a new, third party.
"Our country is facing a lot of challenges, and I think that more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that we’re not being set up for success, starting with the fact that we’re being pitted against each other and see other Americans as our mortal enemies when they’re not," Yang told Fox News at the time.
Yang also ran as a Democrat to be Mayor of New York City in 2021 and pushed for a universal base income.
"We need bold ideas and fresh ideas to revive our city," he said after announcing his campaign. "We need to look forward and adapt to economic challenges of today and the future. We also need a city government focused on competence and delivering for our people every day."
The former Democratic presidential candidate did not rule out a possible third-party 2024 run if it's a rematch between President Biden and Donald Trump. He said during an interview with Fox News Digital in 2022 that a lot of people are not eager for that rematch.
"So there a lot of people that are not eager for a Biden-Trump rematch, but it seems like we may very well get that," Yang said. "And one thing I will say is that if that matchup is unappealing to you, then go to ForwardParty.com and let's make sure that Americans have more choices in your community but also in 2024."