John Oliver breaks down a chaotic election week leading to Biden’s victory

John Oliver (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation)
John Oliver (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Bob Woodruff Foundation) /

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver looked back at the past week as election results were tallied

It has been an exhausting week for the United States that culminated in Joe Biden being declared the 46th president. The results brought relief and joy to millions of Americans while millions of others are feeling defeated. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did its best to sum up what exactly happened and how the country responded to the 2020 presidential election.

A few predictions did come true on election night even if not every poll was accurate. The so-called “red mirage” happened as in-person voting totals from Tuesday gave President Donald Trump an early lead. It caused panic among Biden supporters and gloating from some Trump supporters who saw reelection to be imminent.

But then, as predicted, mail-in ballots started to be counted and the momentum shifted to former Vice President Joe Biden. After months of delegitimizing mail-in voting, President Trump watched as that very process added electoral college votes to his Democratic rival.

With Pennsylvania putting him over the top, Vice President Biden was declared the winner and made his acceptance speech. It kicked off a series of tweets, press releases, and lawsuits from President Trump indicating that he won’t go quietly into the night. It’s a response that some predicted would happen, especially Real Time‘s Bill Maher.

Maher’s HBO colleague John Oliver got his chance to react to the election last night on Last Week Tonight. The host noted the overwhelming feeling of relief that came with Vice President Biden’s election before going on to examine why the country reacted the way it did despite all those predictions of what would happen.

John Oliver blames President Trump for setting the tone all week

John Oliver rightly points out that television news outlets didn’t do much to help the national mood. Constantly asking election and state officials for the exact time it would take to count ballots led to growing impatience as election night progressed into election week. This all came even after news anchors themselves preached patience and noted it would take time to know the results.

But Oliver puts more of the blame on President Donald Trump. According to the Last Week Tonight host, President Trump’s “nightmarish” speech early Wednesday morning set the tone for the week. It was also another attempt by the president to subvert the election and spread misinformation, says Oliver.

Oliver points to President Trump’s Twitter feed that was heavily censored during the week due to the false information it contained. That was combined with Rudy Giuliani making baseless claims during his press conferences and also tweeting out conspiracies.

The segment goes on to cover just how easily Team Trump’s lawsuits have been shut down or thrown out. It is becoming increasingly clear that President Trump has no basis to challenge the results of the election. Here’s how Oliver summed it up:

"After this absolute year of a week, the days of counting, the misinformation, the desperate, pathetic attempts to paint this process as fraudulent. The fact is, Trump lost this election. He lost. All the bullsh-t which we’ve grown accustomed to seeing work did not work this time. And it’s not like Trump and his family are going to starve. They’re going to carry on grifting and lying like they’ve always done. But once he’s out of the White House it’s just not going to have the same effect anymore. It’s not going to directly impact every American’s life. And that alone is f–king fantastic."

Oliver did an excellent job of looking back at the past week and providing context and explanation to just what happened. He also makes the important point that the election did not solve all of America’s problems. Tens of millions of people still wanted Donald Trump to be president and there is a major divide among Americans.

We can expect some of these issues to be covered more in-depth in future episodes of Last Week Tonight. But for now, Oliver is more concerned with celebrating and breathing a sigh of relief.

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