The 2016 presidential election cycle has already been a straight up circus. Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican field, Democrats are choosing between an established institutional candidate and a self-proclaimed socialist, and media outlets are having and absolute field day with both parties. No one benefits from this more though than satire-centric news. For the last couple elections, the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were the figureheads of the industry, acting as our shepherds through the political chaos. Both men have since moved on from their respective news-desks now, leaving us with a changing of the guard.
Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore may have replaced Stewart and Colbert on Comedy Central. But it’s two other Daily Show alums that have made themselves the heirs-apparent to the throne left behind by their predecessors. We’re of course referring to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal. Both shows have become the go-to for viral election-centric news, with Bee and Oliver finally getting a chance to demonstrate their considerable political acumen in full. We’re honoring both hosts today, going through their most effective and informative segments to show just how much they’ve already changed the 2016 election.
1. John Oliver – “Make Donald Drumpf Again”
The bizarrely meteoric rise of Donald Trump’s political prominence has been well-documented throughout this election cycle. As a result, we’ve unfortunately reached a point where the possibility of Trump winning the Republican nomination seems all too likely. John Oliver swooped in at just the right moment though, giving the whole country a “come to Jesus” moment in the form of his 21-minute-long Trump-centric investigation. It’s the most compelling case against a Trump nomination you’ll find anywhere on the Internet, and if he does end up losing in the primaries, odds are we’ll have Oliver to thank.
2. Samantha Bee – “RIP GOP”
The Donald Trump debacle within the Republican Party has led many to wonder just what the future of the GOP is should he win the nomination. Samantha Bee answers that question for us, with a simple “there is no future.” The Republicans boasts legends like Lincoln and Jefferson as some of its most accomplished leaders. Sadly, that political party has fallen a long way in the years since, as Bee lays out in Part 1 of her “RIP GOP” segment above.
3. John Oliver – “Voting”
Individual states have been passing down restrictive “common sense” voter ID laws for awhile now, and with the presidential election mere months away, we’ll soon see the direct effects. Oliver lays it all out in his Last Week Tonight investigation, going through the less-than-scrupulous motivations behind the passing of these laws. The simple fact of the matter is that the legislators advocating for stricter voter ID laws are doing more damage to actual voters than doing anything to prevent fraud at the ballot box.
4. Samantha Bee – “2010 Election”
This segment may not be directly related to the 2016 election, but it’s still incredibly relevant. Bee runs through the most important election year of the last decade, and believe it or not, it wasn’t the year Barack Obama was first elected president. “Calm your tits, Democrats. The most important election of your lifetime wasn’t 2008, it was two whole years later, you didn’t vote in it, and you got your ass kicked,” Bee proclaims. In that fateful election, we saw a whopping 87 freshman Republicans voted into Congress, a group Bee describes as “ill-qualified, temperamentally unfit newbies.” The House and Senate to this day haven’t fully recovered, teaching us an important lesson: Midterm elections matter.
5. John Oliver – “Canadian Election”
Part of what makes John Oliver so important to the realm of satire-news is his international focus. It’s something America desperately needs, as an electorate that often gets far too fixated on its own issues, while ignoring those of countries across the globe. Oliver didn’t have to travel far to bring us his investigation on the last Canadian election, one that saw a massive leftward shift for our neighbors up north. International context is key to understanding our own political system, causing us to wonder: Is America the next North American nation set to go blue?
6. Samantha Bee – “Syrian Refugees”
Many could argue that the Syrian refugee crisis isn’t America’s concern. If you’re talking to Samantha Bee though, you’re going to want to think twice. In a stunning two-part series on Syrian refugees and their treatment both in America and abroad, Bee gets to the bottom of how the world is handling the displacement of an entire nation’s people. We’ve seen far too much in the way of heated rhetoric linking refugees to terror threats. Thanks to Full Frontal, we have an even-handed, truthful accounting of what this crisis actually is, and how our nation can and should help. And not for nothing, whomever gets elected president this November will need to tackle this issue head-on.
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