7 Priceless John Oliver Election Quotes That Will Make You Laugh & Educate You At The Same Time
There are still nearly three months until the Iowa primary will be held, officially kicking the 2016 election season into overdrive. As comedian John Oliver would say, when all is said and done, the race to the presidency will have had "the lifespan of a hamster from birth to popsicle stick grave." The Last Week Tonight host has been consistently on point when it comes to matters of voting. The best John Oliver election quotes are surprisingly educational and completely hilarious.
On a recent Last Week Tonight segment, Oliver discussed the recent state elections, specifically those that took place in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia regarding Medicaid expansion. The host took an issue of states deliberately rejecting funding to cover some of its most vulnerable citizens and shed light on an important voter issue with bravado and humor. There may very well be no better comparison to healthcare reform than "a pair of gym shorts," as Oliver described the Medicaid gaps currently in place. Oliver said:
Healthcare is like a pair of gym shorts. Even if it covers nearly all it is supposed to, you’re still left with some problematic gaps and terrible things can happen.
Here's a look at seven of the funniest times Oliver has talked about elections, from the U.S. to the UK.
Perhaps the simplest way to explain how elections work, especially when it comes to the pageantry and spectacle of it, is to describe the way that candidates respond to the general public. Oliver summed it up perfectly in that aforementioned episode on the Medicaid gap. Oliver said:
Elections: the only excuse for a grown man to kiss a stranger's baby and not have the cops called.
Our Neighbors To The North
A beaver playing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Mike Meyers playing the part of Mountie driving a snow plow, and even more inherently Canadian props helped Oliver break the law and dissuade voters from electing their incumbent prime minister in an informative segment on the Canadian election. Prior to pulling such an elaborate stunt, Oliver ran through the specific law he's breaking and challenged our neighbors to the north. Oliver said:
No person who does not reside in Canada shall induce electors to vote for or refrain from voting for a particular candidate. And apparently anyone found guilty of doing that could be fined up to $5,000, given a six-month jail term, or both. That is a ridiculous law and I guess what you're saying, Canada, is do you wanna dance?
Oliver finally answered the question that everyone has about the nation's capital: What's up with their "taxation without representation" license plates? It turns out that Washington, D.C. doesn't have a lot of say in Congress and only recently did its citizens even get proper electoral rights. The Last Week Tonight host mixed fact with comedy once again in a perfect blend of outrage and incredulity:
D.C. went under federal control in 1801 and it wasn't until the 1960s that D.C.'s then three quarters of a million citizens, mostly African American, were given even the most basic electoral rights ... With that level of restriction the mayor of D.C. gets to run the city the way a school council president gets to run her high school.
One of the consistently overlooked aspects of civic and gubernatorial elections are those running for judicial office. Apparently a majority of judges tend to run completely unopposed, to the point that it's difficult to even notice that component of an election taking place. Oliver offered up some helpful suggestions to the many judges who ran uncontested in Los Angeles in 2014. Oliver said:
Last year in L.A. county 150 out of 151 incumbents ran unopposed. And come on. They could at least go through the motions of pretending there was another candidate. Just throw a robe on a pelican and tape a gavel to his wing. Or — I'll tell you what — you're in L.A. Just pretend you're considering Blake Lively for the job. Movie studios do that all the time.
UK Election Strategies
If you think U.S. politics can be rather pandering and tone deaf, Oliver has a whole other world to open you up to, care of the UK's Labour Party. In an effort to attract women voters, the party used a garishly colored mini bus that they'd nicknamed the "Barbie" bus. Oliver's critique of the tactic was pure comedic gold:
It is a little insulting that you're trying to appeal to adult women voters the same way that Mattel attempts to appeal to eight year olds. And at least Barbie's pink bus had the good sense to unfold into a sweet hot tub and party den combo. ... The only way it could be even more patronizing is if its wheels were giant NuvaRings and they refused to let women drive it.
Last year's midterm election coverage for the House and Senate brought out the typical election hysteria we've seen this entire 2016 election season, just dialed up an extra few notches. Oliver lampooned the journalists who've turned their coverage into practically a life or death matter. Oliver joked:
Oh but I'm serious this time. Take your American history books, burn them in the streets, they're worthless after Tuesday. Why? The senate is up for grabs. I repeat — the [expletive] senate is up for grabs!