The credits for John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight got a new addition to its roster: Associate Producer of Creating Horrifying Things For Us To Talk About. Who was cast in the role? ALEC, a.k.a. the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit organization that brings together conservative think tanks and corporate interests to write sample laws for use on the state level.
State level politics were the target of Oliver’s pointed satire last night, because, as you may have heard, the mid-term elections are upon us. Oliver can’t understand why national level politics are getting all the attention, though, when party politics mean that almost nothing is happening in the House or Senate. “This Congress is shaping up to be the least productive in history,” said Oliver. “Although, to be fair, Congress is like jazz — it’s really about the bills it’s not passing. It’s also like jazz in that most people hate it and anyone who says they don’t are lying.”
The real action in politics these days is at the state level. Oliver proved this point through a montage of state-level political action, including a candidate who felt it important to note “I Believe in the U.S. Constitution” in his campaign ads, a lawmaker who wanted to repeal his state’s ban on dwarf tossing, a few racist speeches, a dramatic paper-punching scene in Illinois and a state senator — and putative full-grown adult — who was arrested for shoplifting condoms from a CVS.
It’s a good reminder to get out and vote on Tuesday, although as Oliver notes, it’s too late for some as an estimated 25% of state legislative candidates are running unopposed.