This past Friday, Bill Maher announced Rep John Kline as the winner of his #FlipADistrict Campaign, a contest which Maher created to find the worst representative in the country and oust them from office. Maher had called on viewers of his show, Real Time, to take to social media to nominate and vote for the worst members of Congress.
— The Real Timers (@RealTimers) September 13, 2014
This past spring, we at StudentDebtCrisis.org nominated Representative John Kline for Maher's #FlipADistrict contest because he has turned his back on the American middle class. As Maher points out, Kline has voted 54 times against the Affordable Care Act, voted against raising the minimum wage, and has voted against funding for Planned Parenthood. However, his issues on higher education are even more out of touch. As Maher states:
The issue that Mr. Kline may be the worst on is the one that inspired the most votes in our contest. And that is student debt. As the powerful chairman of the education committee, Kline has done more to keep 20-somethings in their parents basements than anyone else alive. He's the champion of for-profit colleges, which they used to call diploma mills. But that's back when you at least got a diploma. At the University of Phoenix, Kline's biggest donor, eighty-eight percent do not graduate... These places are scams and they thrive because John Kline is bought and paid for by the very people he's been elected to regulate. This is the problem with Washington.
This is absolutely right -- this is the problem with Washington. As Chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, Kline has made it apparent who he feels he represents -- those that shower him with campaign cash. Even at a time when countless for-profit colleges face lawsuits and investigations for fraud, Kline has remained this industry's biggest ally, leading the fight against gainful employment regulations.
So will Maher's #FlipADistrict contest cost Representative Kline the election? Only time will tell. However, one thing is certain, with the spotlight now on this race, it will certainly be a lot harder for Kline to avoid debating his opponent, as he has done in past races.