PopPolitics: Al Jean on Why ‘The Simpsons’ Is Taking on Trump (Listen)

The Simpsons” has long skewered politicians, but this year the show has been especially biting about the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

A recent video showed Homer standing in line at a polling place, chatting with a Trump supporter. “The orange man — he will build a wall to keep out beauty queens who eat too much,” the supporter says. As it turns out, the Trump enthusiast is really Vladimir Putin in disguise.

“Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be too far from the truth,” quips Al Jean, the longtime showrunner of “The Simpsons.”

He tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM that although there is “a lot of discussion here about being even handed,” this is a different election.

“Our job is to mock and satirize the world as we see it, so that’s what we do,” he says.

The show has mocked Clinton this election cycle, he says. “There is a lot of criticism the other way, but it is not exactly weighted evenly. That’s my view.”

Jean says that the show has gotten some pushback for being “in the tank for Hillary or worse,” and he says that he is voting for Clinton.

But he noted the number of prominent Republicans who are against Trump, like Mitt Romney and John Kasich, along with conservative columnists like Jonah Goldberg and George Will.

“I am not the most liberal person,” he says. “I grew up a Republican and to quote Ronald Reagan, ‘My party left me.’ But what I think has happened is a lot of people who maybe feel they had been in them middle have been pushed to the left because of the stuff that has happened.”

He says that he was “alarmed” by Trump’s talk about “disbanding NATO. And he seems to … really be benevolent towards Putin which I think is nuts.”

Homer Simpson initially was for Trump, but he switched to Clinton, at Marge’s urging.

The show has not heard from Trump himself, and has no plans to ask him to do a cameo, as so many others have done, Jean says.

A show from 2000 actually predicted a Trump presidency. It’s a flash-forward to Lisa Simpson succeeding Trump in the White House, with the national budget in ruins. Although it may seem fortuitous, Jean notes that Trump was publicly talking back then of making a presidential run.

“Yeah, we predicted it, but the footnote is we predicted he would not be successful” as president, he says.

Listen below:

Libel Law and 2016

First Amendment attorney Ted Boutrous talks about Trump’s threats to sue media organizations over stories they have covered, including claims that he has harassed women. Boutrous has offered to represent journalists who are the target of libel suits on a pro bono basis.

Listen below:

Stars Do Hillary Spot

Liz Garbus, the documentary director, talks about a spot she did for the organization Humanity for Hillary, in which sexual assault survivors share their stories interspersed with audio of Trump’s comments in the “Access Hollywood” tape. The video is called “It’s Not Okay.” It also features such celebrities as Meryl Streep and Amy Schumer.

Listen below:

Celebrities on the Trail

Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail and Hunter Schwarz of IJ Review talk about the proliferation of performers on the campaign trail, including Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Lopez for Clinton. They say that it can help a campaign more than most people think.

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Ted Johnson, airs on Thursdays from 2-3 pm ET/11 a.m.-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

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