Last Week Tonight has been off the last couple of weeks, meaning last night was the first opportunity John Oliver had to respond to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and what it means for the Supreme Court. If you were expecting his combo of heavy research, persuasive arguments, and legitimately funny jokes to make you feel better about the whole thing, well, Oliver’s got some bad news for you: “If things seem hopeless right now, it’s because, to be completely honest, they basically are.”
That’s how he kicks off his look at how we got to this crucial point, what an Amy Coney Barrett appointment would mean for America, and how thoroughly undemocratic America’s institutions can be. After pointing out how a pronounced rightward shift in the Supreme Court doesn’t reflect the beliefs of a nation where a majority supports Roe vs. Wade and abortion rights, he goes on to explore how Mitch McConnell has devoted his time as Senate majority leader to stonewalling Obama’s judicial nominations and then rushing through Trump’s appointments, before explaining how we’re basically a country of minority rule at this point, with Republicans holding the presidency and the Senate despite receiving less total votes for both. Should we abolish the Electoral College? Should the filibuster go? What actions can be taken to break this minority stranglehold over our system? Oliver digs into it all in this clip, while also making sure to fit in jokes about KFC’s menu, the “official” Trump coloring book, and donkey piss. Check it out below, and find the full episode on HBO Max.