John Oliver, like most liberal comedians, did his damnedest to prevent Donald Trump and Mike Pence from reaching the White House. He tore apart the former reality-show host for bragging about sexually assaulting women, explained how his scandals were far worse than Hillary Clinton’s, and even offered up his Emmy to Trump if he’d deliver a concession speech and ensure a peaceful transfer of power upon losing.
Well, Trump managed the unthinkable: He won. He is now the president-elect. And Oliver, like more than half of Americans who cast their ballot, is shocked and terrified.
“It’s true! That happened!” he exclaimed. “It turns out, instead of showing our daughters that they could someday be president, America proved that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world.”
On Sunday’s edition of Last Week Tonight, the season finale episode of the Emmy-winning HBO series, Oliver dedicated his entire half-hour to the 2016 election. He worried how Trump would shape the Supreme Court, what will happen now that a man who’s advocated waterboarding and bombing terrorists’ families is in charge of the military, and mocked the silliness of the Electoral College—since Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, may receive as many as 2.5 million more votes by the time California is fully tallied.
And sure, many are happy to see him in office—from those who think he’ll bring jobs back to Scott Baio and Vladimir Putin. “But for the rest of us, we are faced with the same questions as a guy that woke up the day after a Vegas bachelor party deep in the desert, naked, tied to a cactus and a dead clown—namely: How the fuck did we get here and What the fuck do we do now?!” said Oliver.
“Donald Trump will be president, and respecting democracy means accepting that—although there is one sentiment that I would argue takes that a little too far,” he added, namely the notion that the American people should “give Donald Trump a chance” because it’s in the best interest of the country.
Oliver cautioned against being too optimistic “because it can feed into the normalization of Donald Trump. And he’s not normal. He’s abnormal. He is a human what is wrong with this picture? He sticks out like a sore thumb—and frankly, he even looks like a sore thumb. So giving him a chance in the sense of not speaking out immediately against policies he’s proposed is dangerous—because some of them are alarming.”
Some of these include: repealing and replacing Obamacare, building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and having Mexico pay for it, deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, appointing a special prosecutor to investigate and potentially jail Hillary Clinton, and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
This, according to Oliver, sounds like “the to-do list on Satan’s refrigerator—which incidentally Satan no longer needs now that hell has frozen over. And while some are arguing that Trump might not have meant all those things, that leaves us with two devastating options: Either we just elected a president who didn’t mean a single word he said, or we elected one who did.”So then, the million-dollar question: “How the fuck did we get here?” asked Oliver. “Well clearly, there are many possible answers to that question, including: misleading forecasts that bred complacency, a flawed candidate who failed to appeal to while rural and working-class voters, and—and this is worth repeating—deep racism and/or indifference to it.”
There is also the matter of the media, which the late-night host went after aggressively, criticizing a recent Pew Media Research study that reported how 62 percent of Americans say they get their news from social media, and 44 percent say they get it from Facebook. It’s best to avoid this new breed of “hyperpartisan, wildly distorted clickbait” from sties like Addiction Info and Freedom Daily because, well, a lot of it is bullshit. Another recent study of two weeks of Facebook activity found that 38 percent of news shared on Republican-leaning Facebook pages—and 19 percent of news on Democrat-leaning Facebook pages—was false.
Well, there’s an even bigger problem: Trump has—with alarming regularity—cited fake memes and news reports throughout the campaign.
“This cesspool of nonsense would be a problem anyway were it not for the fact that one of the people in thrall to it is our future president,” said Oliver. “Back in March, he claimed that a man who had rushed the stage at one of his rallies had ties to ISIS—something that had circulated online and had been found to be untrue. And when that was pointed out to him, this was his response”—with Oliver then throwing to a clip of Trump saying, “What do I know about it? All I know is what’s on the internet.” “That is the evil genius at work here: Weird conspiracy bullshit has always been bubbling under the surface, but Trump was the first major candidate to harness and fully legitimize it,” he added.
So… where do we go from here? The British-born Oliver—who is married to an American (and Republican) Iraq War vet—says that the answer to President-elect Trump is not to move to Canada but to stay and rebel as best you can. “We’re gonna need to stay here and fight, and not just politically in four years when he’s up for reelection, but constantly—monitoring legislation as it moves through Congress and fucking voting when your legislators come up for reelection in two years,” said Oliver. “But that is still the barest minimum of what is going to be needed, because for the last eight years, we’ve had a president we can assume would generally stand up for the rights of all Americans, but that is going to change now. So we’re going to have to actively stand up for one another. And it can’t be just sounding off on the internet, or sharing think pieces or videos like this one that echo around your bubble. I’m talking about actual sacrifice to support people who are now under threat.”
Oliver then urged his viewers to spend their time and money to help “support organizations that are going to need help under a Trump administration, including: Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Resources Defense Council, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Trevor Project, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“I will point out: If you have relatives who supported Trump, you can give money in their name. So consider your holiday shopping this year done!” shared Oliver.He wasn’t done. “It is going to be too easy for things to start feeling normal—especially if you are someone who is not directly impacted by his actions—so keep reminding yourself: This is not normal,” he said. “Write it on a Post-It note and stick it on your refrigerator, hire a skywriter once a month, tattoo it on your ass, because a Klan-backed misogynist internet troll is going to be delivering the next State of the Union address, and that is not normal. It is FUCKED UP.”