John Oliver relished Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election and looked ahead at the fights to come on Last Week Tonight Sunday, November 8th.
The host began with a recap of how Election Day turned into election week, as key swing states counted mountains of mail-in ballots and Trump tried to fill that information vacuum with legal challenges, conspiracy theories, and baseless declarations of victory. For instance, as Michigan started tilting toward president-elect Joe Biden on November 4th, Trump tweeted, “We hereby claim the state of Michigan,” prompting Oliver to crack: “Calling dibs on states is not how we elect presidents. We use the electoral college, which is at least 3% less stupid than that.”
Oliver went on to highlight the mixed messaging among Trump supporters as some gathered for “stop the count” protests in states like Michigan, while others urged officials to “count the votes” in Arizona. And as the Trump campaign filed numerous lawsuits pushing dubious claims of voter fraud, it sent out fundraising emails to supporters asking them for help — while adding, in the fine print, that half their donations would be used to retire campaign debt.
Oliver joked that this little detail was both “completely unsurprising and not even the worst thing he’s ever asked his supporters to do, because that would obviously be when he made them watch him do this dance, which looks like he’s milking two cows at once — and enjoying it sexually, very much indeed.”
Ecstatic as Oliver was over Trump’s defeat, he did not shy away from acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead. Despite Biden’s win, Oliver noted Democratic losses in the House of Representatives and the uphill battle to take the Senate; and he urged the party to listen to activists like Stacey Abrams who drove turnout among marginalized communities in key states. He also stressed that Trump still got about 70 million votes and is likely to remain the de facto leader of the Republican Party for the foreseeable future.
“It’s like if your grandma was dating two old guys, both of whom had fought in World War II, and in the end, she picks Pete, who seems decent — works at the library and you’re really happy for her — but at the same time you are wondering how the fuck she got so far with Klaus,” Oliver cracked, as a photo of an old man in a Nazi uniform flashed on the screen. “Because that doesn’t really reflect that well on her.”
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