In the Final Pre-2016 Election ‘Last Week Tonight,’ John Oliver Sums Up Why This Election Has Been So Awful


Last night was the final pre-2016 election episode of Last Week Tonight. And thankfully, tonight/a very long tomorrow are the last pre-2016 election episodes of our lives. Yes, after almost a year of total national immersion in the bitter, grotesque pageant of this election we’ll soon, after tomorrow…at least have a new form of post-election national bitterness to confront?

Oliver began with a recap of the final week of campaigning for both candidates: noting that Hillary enlisted the help of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, while Trump (or this week’s nickname: “the human equivalent of a clear plastic bag filled with cheeseburgers and confederate flag belt buckles”) tried to be a more subdued version of himself (which Oliver equates to sounding like a “serial killer stalking his prey at a food court”). And of course, this was all happening in the midst of the email scandal once again becoming central — and once again shifting polls — until ultimately the FBI’s renewed investigation concluded with James B. Comey’s decision that the emails that’d been found on Anthony Weiner’s computer “warrant[ed] no new action against Hillary Clinton.” Oliver particularly notes the absurdity of Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s claim that this wasn’t a centerpiece of the campaign’s messaging. He says:

In the words cloud of your campaign, ’email’ is right up there with wall, Mexicans, big league, unintelligible, sniffle, and ‘wrooong.’

Oliver also stressed the importance of voting, not just to prevent Trump from winning, but also because of some key concerns that’re appearing down-ballot this year — namely, propositions about the death penalty and the legalization of marijuana. And if you’re feeling particularly mired in the bitterness of it all, perhaps a purgative list of grievances will help shake some of it (though it certainly won’t help as much as actually voting will). Oliver sums up why this election has been so truly awful:

This election hasn’t so much appealed to our better angels, as it’s groped our better angels, mocked their weight, and called them ‘sixes at best.’ We are at a point where [Trump] has a genuine shot at the presidency, despite having blown up a political party, undermined confidence in our electoral system, declared open season on journalists, and unleashed a river of racism and misogyny. Also — and I feel like we’ve lost sight of this — he has really stupid hair. It is really important to remember that.