Last Week Tonight returned last night and, somewhat predictably, devoted the main segment to the events at this week's DNC. He highlighted the differences between the DNC and the RNC, noting that the most surprising one was how much the Democrats focused on patriotism, which is usually the theme of most Republican events. Host John Oliver also highlighted Donald Trump's grossly inappropriate comments made in response to one DNC speaker.
Before launching in to the main segment, the show began with a brief rundown of the week, starting with "America's Shit Salad Fuckstravaganza 2016", otherwise known as the 2016 US election. After pointing out how close the poll results are and mentioning the high stakes involved, Last Week Tonight mentioned three states, Wisconsin, Texas, and North Carolina, that recently struck down restrictive voter ID laws. The laws, especially those in North Carolina, were widely seen as the most restrictive laws "since the era of Jim Crow", and "target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision". Representatives insisted that the laws weren't racially motivated, but it's a hard argument to believe, especially upon learning that before enacting the law, legislators specifically investigated voting issues by race. They wound up enacting five different restrictions, "all of which disproportionally affect African American voters".
"A Horrifying Glimpse At Satan's Pinterest Board 2016", or the 2016 election, was the topic of the main segment, as Last Week Tonight dove into a discussion of the Democratic National Convention. The DNC got off to a rough start, with the chair of the DNC stepping down amid the email scandal, and Bernie Sanders supporters staging a massive protest. Thankfully, the DNC was saved by a number of powerful, moving speeches, starting with Michelle Obama. One of the most talked about speeches was given by President Obama, who highlighted how many non-Americans don't seem to fully understand how Trump became a candidate.
Khizr Khan, the father of a deceased Muslim soldier, gave an emotional speech, in which he spoke to Trump directly, calling Trump out on his ignorant statements, and questioning Trump's own sacrifices to American democracy. Khan even offered to lend Trump his personal copy of the Constitution, challenging Trump to actually read it.
One thing made perfectly clear by this year's RNC, is that the party currently focuses around Trump - making his opinions and viewpoints important when considering how to vote in November. In that light, Oliver focused on something Trump said, acknowledging that any number of things Trump's said throughout the campaign would have disqualified a candidate under normal circumstances. In fact, the sheer volume of terrible things Trump has said, even in the last week alone, is horrifying. Oliver likened the plethora of horrible things Trump has said to the bed of nails effect - step on one in isolation and it's incredibly painful, but it is possible to stand on a million all at once without feeling each one in isolation. It's the same thing with Trump's comments. However, his reaction to Khizr Khan's speech "stands out" as being truly appalling. Rather than respond to his statements, Trump opted to criticize his wife for not speaking, alluding to the fact that perhaps she wasn't allowed to speak. He also had the audacity to say that working hard, being successful, and building structures count as sacrifices.
Oliver angrily broke down Trump's ridiculous comments, informing the audience that Ghazala Khan chooses not to speak because of how much it upsets her. After Trump's remarks, she penned an op-ed in The Washington Post, responding to his comments. Oliver also commented on the alleged "sacrifices" Trump claims to have made, calling them "self-serving half truths from a self-serving half-man".
The tone of both conventions said a lot about each party. While the DNC showed democrats to be "a group of squabbling but basically like minded Katy Perry fans", where as the RNC demonstrated that the republican party "basically doesn't exist". While the DNC managed to feature a number of politicians, the RNC was seemingly lacking. A number of prominent Republicans opted to skip the convention, including both living former presidents. In addition, the DNC had a huge focus on patriotism, something fundamentally, and surprisingly, lacking in the overwhelming negative RNC.
Oliver highlighted the "main takeaway from these past two weeks" as this:
We may be on the brink of elected such a damaged, sociopathic, narcissist that the simple presidential duty of comforting the families of fallen soldiers may actually be beyond his capabilities.
Please paint me as the right kind of asshole.
I don't know how you did it North Carolina, but you managed to 'Moneyball' racism...from now on your motto should be 'North Carolina: Ignorance At Its Smartest'
That is an American founding document being inspirationally used as a middle finger.
...when Donald Trump opened his mouth and basically exhaled a swarm of locusts.
[on Donald Trump alleging that America has 'endured one international humiliation after another'] What is he even talking about? Only one major international humiliation from recent history comes to mind, and it's the one standing behind that podium.
Last Week Tonight will return next week on HBO at 11:00pm. You can watch the main segment on the DNC below.