Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 3, Episode 26 - Third Parties - full transcript

John Oliver considers third party candidates as potential presidents.

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Welcome to Last Week Tonight.
I'm John Oliver.

Thank you so much for joining us !

Let us dive straight in
with the 2016 election,

or as you may know it,
"I don't even believe in past lives,"

"but I must have done something
fucking terrible to deserve this"

"I'm sorry,
I'm sorry, I'm sorry 2016".

This week has yet again been
dominated by Donald Trump.

WikiLeaks continues to release emails
connected to the Clinton campaign

that raise serious issues,
from that campaign's behavior,

to the fact the hack may have
come from the Russian government...

But it is hard
to focus on any of that

when the man
who could be our next president

is now one unearthed '90s-era
Teen People interview away

from being
on a sex-offender registry.

Because Trump
has had quite the week.

The Republican presidential candidate
facing accusations from multiple women

who say Trump touched them,
kissed them against their will.

The first time it was a quick hug
and a kiss on the lips.

I was shocked. I have never
had anybody greet me like that.

I said maybe that's how the people
on the East Coast greet each other.

Okay. First, that is horrible.

But, for the record, that is not how
we on the East Coast greet each other.

The way we greet each other
is very simple: we don't do it.

We stare at the ground and hope
the other person moves away quickly,

so we can go back to muttering under
our breath without seeming crazy.

This has been a week of upsetting
allegations regarding Trump,

I'm not going to make you sit
through them again.

All you really need
to know about the man

is that this was his response
to one of his accusers.

Believe me, she would not be
my first choice, that I can tell you.

Man !

That would not be my first choice.

Two weeks ago, I told you that if you
looked up, you could see rock bottom.

Then, last week,
I told you that if you looked up,

you could see
the place we were a week ago.

This week, if you look up,
all you can see are the thin,

plywood boards
surrounding us on all sides.

Because we are in a coffin,

and we are buried alive
in the horror that is this election.

But incredibly, Trump's remarks were
in keeping with the tone he promised.

The Republican nominee proclaiming
on Twitter he is a free man, quote:

"It's so nice that the shackles
have been taken off me"

"and I can now fight for America
the way I want to".

Yes, the shackles are off.
Which is actually an apt metaphor,

as it calls to mind both
Frankenstein's monster and a rabid dog.

And before I start to run through
what Trump has said this week,

keep in mind,
we tape this show at 6 p.m.

So here is a rundown of some of the
things he feasibly could have said

between now
and the point when we air:

all those clowns people keep seeing
would be appointed to his cabinet.

He can get the best deals with China
because he is in fact 100% Chinese.

Border wall is going to be constructed
out of Rosie O'Donnell's bones.

Abortions are caused
by low energy storks.

And finally, it's not rape
if it happens on a yacht.

But here is what he has said
as of now:

he burned bridges with his own party,
calling Paul Ryan weak, ineffective,

and then at campaign rallies,

dialed the knob up
to full-on conspiracy theorist.

Hillary Clinton meets in secret
with international banks

to plot the destruction
of US sovereignty.

This is a conspiracy against you,
the American people,

and we can not let this happen
or continue.

Holy shit.

That is not the kind of thing
that a presidential candidate says.

It's the thing
that a man in a tin foil hat

screams inside his concrete bunker
because he thinks his soup cans

have been bugged by the lizard people
in the White House.

But Trump isn't just rampaging
against his political opponents.

He's rampaging
against his own campaign.

When one journalist tweeted

that a Trump supporter was standing in
the back shouting "Stay on the issues",

his own campaign manager,
Kellyanne Conway, responded:

"That was me. I was there".

And even if she meant that as a joke,
it's not a great indication

of how much control
she has over her candidate.

It's like she's already thinking
ahead to her campaign tell-all book,

or possibly her tell-all trial
at The Hague.

But perhaps most ominously of all,

Trump took a theme that he's been
dancing around all this campaign

and made it explicitly
and frighteningly direct.

The election is rigged. It's rigged
like you've never seen before.

You see what's happening,
the process is rigged.

This whole election
is being rigged.

Telling your supporters the election is
being rigged is legitimately dangerous.

Because faith in fair elections
and a peaceful transfer of power

are essential foundations
for a democracy

and undermining them is like asking
why one of those giant eagles

didn't just fly Frodo all the way
to Mordor in "The Lord of the Rings".

If enough people start thinking
that way, the whole thing falls apart.

A quick side note:
please address your long rebuttals

about why the Fellowship of the Ring
did not go with that plan

to "John Oliver at just kidding
dot go fuck yourself".

So, just to recap:

this week, Trump has declared
war on his political opponents,

the media, his own party,
his own campaign,

and the concept of democracy itself.

A man who is increasingly
positioning himself

as the only source of truth
and goodness in America.

I never knew it would be this vile,

that it would be this bad,
that it would be this vicious.

Nevertheless, I take all of these
slings and arrows gladly for you.

And many political experts

warned me that this campaign
would be a journey to hell.

Said that. But they're wrong.
It will be a journey to heaven.

You heard right: he sees himself
as a lone, persecuted savior

who started out in construction,
is suffering on behalf of his followers,

and will take them to heaven.

We have known that Trump believes
he's the second coming of Christ,

but it turns out
he might mean that literally.

The only difference being, with Christ,
we think "what would Jesus do ?"

and with Trump, it's more, "Jesus,
what the fuck did you just do ?"

And now this !

And now, the most patient man
on television, 2016 election edition.

I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton
if she gave me a million dollars.

Now as far as Zika is concerned
I think maybe we could get a pill

that would make a smelly smell
come right on our skin

that would make the Zika...
mosquitos disappear.

Ted Cruz has this
"make America great again" on his cap.

That's the Donald Trump line,
"make America great again".

That's Donald Trump.

Trump, telling everybody
to raise their right hand,

kind of reminded me of Hitler.

Does he want to have
another third world war ?

I am sick about the way Hillary,

this pandered to all the black folks
in South Carolina...

It was black this, black that,
got to go save the blacks.

- When did she become secretary ?
- Hillary Clinton ?

- Yeah, is she still secretary ?
- No.

- You lived in that country ?
- I certainly do.

Right there, in a den of liars,
right there, where you're at.

Bob, thank you.

- The weirdness of this, is ridiculous.
- Jesse, thank you.

The media is on the Democratic side.

- I'd like to ask you one thing.
- Sure.

- Have you heard of Cassius Clay ?
- Of course.

Yeah and then, Luol Sender,
what a cool name !

- Why did they change their names ?
- That's another topic, for another day.

Moving on. Our main story tonight

is, unfortunately, continuing
coverage of the 2016 election.

Or as it's better known, lice on rats
on a horse corpse on fire 2016.

This election has achieved
a dubious distinction:

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

are among the most disliked
presidential candidates in history.

So some are seeking
an alternative.

- Who's your vote for ?
- I don't like either candidate.

I'm not excited about the election,
I don't like either options.

They're kinda bumming me out.

315, 320 million people and this is
the best 2 that we can come up with ?

Americans are so disillusioned
by the major party candidates,

it seems many would prefer
to vote for Kevin Kline's character

from the movie "Dave"
or the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr.

assuming he only said the
three quotes that white people like.

And this disenchantment

may explain the high interest
in America's third parties.

When your two main options
are depressing,

any third choice seems good.

If you're in,
if you're at a KFC-Taco Bell

and you see a bunch of pigeons
eating something in the parking lot,

you might well think "hang on,
what have they got over there ?"

And, luckily, there are a great
many third party options out there.

Jim Hedges, Prohibition Party,

the worst party without alcohol since
your born-again cousin's wedding.

Dan Vacek of the Legal Marijuana
Now Party, which should be called

the "Illegal Marijuana Now,
Legal Marijuana ASAP" party.

And then there's independent
write-in candidate Joe Exotic,

who claims to run the world's
largest private zoo for tigers,

and produces
incredible campaign videos.

First thing is,
I am not cutting my hair.

I'm not changing the way I dress.
I refuse to wear a suit.

I am gay. I've had two boyfriends
most of my life.

I am broke as shit,

I have a judgment against me
from some bitch in Florida.

This is all paid for by the committee
of Joe Exotic Speaks for America.

Joe Exotic is truly the candidate

you'd want to sit
down and have a beer with.

Then another beer.
And then several more beers

until you're drunk enough
to try meth for the first time.

The point is, Joe Exotic:
make America Exotic Again.

But the best-known
of the lesser-known candidates

are clearly Libertarian Gary Johnson
and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

In a poll last month,
more than a third of young voters

said they are considering
voting for one of them.

They are worth taking seriously.
Before we go any further,

we should address
the common critique

that third party candidates
can siphon off votes,

and potentially wind up
electing an ideological opponent.

There is some precedent,
from Teddy Roosevelt's 1912 run,

which arguably helped to elect
Democrat Woodrow Wilson,

to Ralph Nader in 2000, winning
nearly 100 000 votes in Florida,

a state which Al Gore
famously lost by just 537.

But third parties are a little touchy
about that whole spoiler tag.

Watch Gary Johnson
respond after it's brought up !

What do you guys make of the idea
that you are a spoiler candidate?

That it's just... It's horrible.
Why would you even say that ?

We are giving people
a chance to vote for something

as opposed
to the lesser of two evils.

We're not spoilers,
we are the first vote.

So I guess we should drop out ?
Is that what you're saying ?

Gary, just relax a little bit.

You've undercut your credentials
as a serious candidate

by wearing a yellow tie with jeans.

Gary, you're running for president,
not officiating Pikachu's beach wedding.

Although Johnson's anger
is understandable.

Dismissing third-party candidates
as "spoilers" shuts down debate.

The argument that the only thing
that stops Trump

is a vote for Hillary Clinton,
is a powerful one,

so is the one that people should vote
the candidate who shares their values.

So let's vet these candidates
not as spoilers, or as protest votes,

but as legitimate
potential presidents.

And we'll start with Jill Stein,
the candidate who looks most

like she believes carob is
"just as good as chocolate".

Stein is polling around two percent,
and she has a lot going for her.

She's a doctor who practiced
internal medicine for 27 years,

and she has a broadly
appealing pitch,

from environmental issues
to expanding LGBT rights,

to reducing income inequality.

But when it comes to policy,
we know the devil is in the details.

So how exactly is she going
to accomplish her goals ?

And let's start with the plan that
has been central to her candidacy.

We're the one party that's actually
calling for canceling student debt

and bailing out
a generation of young people

like we bailed out
the bankers on Wall Street.

We can do that for this generation,
and unleash them

to be the stimulus
package of our dreams.

Okay, hold on, because
"stimulus package of your dreams"

sounds like how Paul Krugman
describes his penis.

But she is right. Student debt
is a massive, $1.3 trillion problem.

it is Stein's flagship proposal.

It is to her campaign what the
border wall is to Donald Trump's.

So you would assume that she has
a well-thought-out, coherent plan.

My campaign is the only one
that will do for young people

what our misleaders saw fit to do
for Wall Street not that long ago.

It was about $4 trillion
in free money,

in the form of so-called quantitative
easing, which is a magic trick

that people don't need to understand
more about in that it is a magic trick.

No, it isn't though. It is a very
complicated monetary policy tool.

It might not be important
for people to understand it,

you have to
and I don't think you do.

While Jill Stein has said:
"president has authority to cancel"

"student debt using quantitative
easing", that is absolutely wrong.

The president does not have authority,
only the Federal Reserve does.

It does not take orders
from the White House,

that would be dangerous.

You don't want to give presidents
the power to just create new money.

Think of it like this,
if Joe Exotic is elected,

you don't want him to be able
to order the Fed to create money

for the most lavish tiger-themed
orgy the nation ever seen.

Because they would then have to print
the $3500 it would take to do that.

So that issue makes her plan
a non-starter,

before we even get into the fact that
quantitative easing doesn't apply here.

Stein's implying it was
used to cancel banks' debts

and that is not what it did.

Using it that way
amounts to a president

passing a new law and funding it
by printing new money.

The dangers of that should be
pretty obvious.

In terms of how fundamentally
how flawed that is,

it's akin to saying:
"I'll make us energy independent"

"by ordering the post
office to invade Canada."

No, Jill, that's impractical and you
don't seem to understand it.

When I said her proposal

was her version of Donald Trump's
border wall, I meant it.

The only way it could be
any more unlikely

is if she claimed Mexico
was somehow going to pay for it.

For a candidate who seems
to be running on principle,

it can be hard to pin her
down on what those principles are.

After the Brexit, her campaign
issued a statement

in which she called the decision
a victory, changing it:

"I agreed with the UK Greens
who supported staying in the EU."

In response to charges
she was anti-vaccination,

she tweeted: "no evidence
that autism is caused by vaccines",

before Jill Stein, a doctor,
replaced it with a more equivocal:

"I'm not aware of evidence
linking autism with vaccines."

Leaving the door open for doubt.
And... fucking measles.

This vagueness applies to answering
a question from a 9/11 truther.

I believe that the hijackers were
patsies. They did have intent,

but there was no ways they could
fly those planes the way they did,

and there's no way those steel
buildings could fall...

- An opinion about that ?
- We need the full story.

The 9/11 commission itself said
we don't have the full story.

I would bring back that commission.
This isn't controversial.

It's time to get the full story.

What are you doing ? You know that
man thinks you agreed with him now ?

You can't just hear a conspiracy
theory, fan the flames,

and then walk away:
"Is Katy Perry Jon Benet Ramsey ?"

Identity theft is a real and persistent
issue in this day and age,

and we need to look into that.

And if none of what I have said
bothers you, that's fine.

It's not really fine.
But that is your right.

But you are also going to need to
cosign on one more awkward thing

and that is that Jill Stein recorded
several albums

as part of a '90s folk rock
band called "Somebody's Sister".

And you don't get to not hear
what they sound like.

She wonders what
will happen to the babies

When all the mothers' milk
has gone bad.

From the poison pouring
from the smokestacks,

Risin' up like silent thunder
from the ash.

Jill, that is a very bad song.

Silent thunder is nothing.
You're describing silence.

I cannot have a president who's going
to play her own inauguration

with a band that sounds like
the Indigo Girls fronting RHCP.

Let's move on to Gary Johnson,
the two-term governor of New Mexico

and who, in most photographs,
seems to be around 80% sure

he is running for president.

He's been polling around six percent
nationally, which is remarkable,

given that his race has been notable
for not knowing what Aleppo is,

not being able to name
a world leader he admires

and whatever it is
he's doing here.

If you were to get on the debate stage
you could pull even ?

I could stand there the whole debate,
not say anything and emerge as leader.

I'm not sure if he was doing
that with his tongue on purpose,

or if Gary Johnson's tongue
just decided:

"Fuck it, I'm done" and tried
to escape through his mouth.

There is obviously more to
Gary Johnson than just mistakes.

He's an avid outdoorsman, who
loves mountain climbing so much,

he once described summiting
Mount Everest like this.

People ask me what was it like
to conquer Mount Everest ?

I did not conquer
Mount Everest.

She lifted her skirt, I got in there,
got a peek, and it was really cool.

Okay, I'm still
a little confused here.

Did you actually
climb Mount Everest

or did you just dry hump
the side of it and then go home ?

It was great. Now smell my finger.
There's still some mountain air on it.

What is wrong with you ?

His policies, as with Jill Stein,
there is a lot to like there.

He supports marijuana legalization,
opposes the death penalty,

civil forfeiture
and police militarization.

There are some positions you
may be less comfortable with.

He opposes minimum wage

and when he says he's for smaller
government, he's not kidding.

Could you name 3 federal departments
or agencies that you would eliminate ?

Education, Department of Commerce
and Housing and Urban Development.

How's that for starters ?

He's giving up
government agencies left and right.

This is Sophie's Choice
if she hated all of her children.

"Take both kids ! I'm sick of
stepping on Legos ! Off you go."

That is an intellectually
consistent position.

Watch him fold
under the slightest pressure.

Would any of their functions still be
performed by the federal government ?

Gosh. You'd have to assume
that they were doing something

that was of value and if they
are doing something of value,

we would be looking
to continue those operations.

All do a lot of stuff. You can't
identify any specific things they do ?

You're asking three departments
and I'm giving them to you.

Let's take the assumption
they should be eliminated.

For the record, those three departments
do actually do things of value.

Assuming you find Pell Grants,
low-income housing programs,

the patent and trademark office and
the census bureau to be of some value.

If it's news to you
that's what those departments do,

then: "Hi Gary ! I'm excited
you're watching the show !"

"Quick advice, please stop
trying to fuck mountains !"

Again, like Jill Stein, Johnson
is prone to overly-simple solutions

that could have
disastrous consequences.

Look how he applies his small
government approach to tax policy.

If I could wave a magic wand,
I would eliminate income tax.

I would eliminate corporate tax.
I would abolish the IRS.

I would replace it all with one
federal consumption tax.

You have a magic wand and first thing
you'd do is eliminate income tax ?

Shame on you.
The first thing anyone should do

is make soap taste
as good as it smells.

Fuck you. Don't judge me, it's not the
"only" thing that I would do.

It's just the first thing
I would do.

But that magical, simple plan
gets complicated fast.

Johnson says his consumption tax

would be between 23 and 28 percent
on everything you buy.

That could clearly hurt
poor people the most.

His answer is that every single home
would receive a "prebate" check,

covering the cost of the sales tax
up to around the poverty line.

But when a presidential advisory
panel studied a similar proposal,

they found that
it's not just that simple.

Aside from the complexity of
the prebate program,

which would become America's
largest entitlement program ever,

they suggested the sales tax
would have to be more than 28 percent,

with the burden
falling heavily on the middle class.

To avoid that there might
have to be government cuts.

Rather than admit that, Johnson
tries to wriggle out of the subject.

You wind up cutting the amount of
revenues the government work with.

- It's revenue neutral....
- That's not so easy to achieve.

- Well then, well maybe not
- Just to give you the context, why ?

If you say the fair tax number
that's usually thrown out is 28%.

So you're reducing the 39% from
the top level down.

That creates an issue about how you
want to distribute the tax burden.

- You're getting too into weeds.
- You think so ?

What do you mean,
too in the weeds ?

The only point of discussing
tax policy is to get into the weeds.

That, and preventing premature
ejaculation. That's the two options.

And if it can seem like Johnson
doesn't give a fuck, maybe he doesn't.

Wait until you hear his stance
on combating climate change.

Should we take the long-term view
when it comes to global warming ?

I think that we should.
And the long-term view

is that in billions of years
the sun is going actually to grow

and encompass the earth,
global warming is in our future.

That's your plan ? "Don't worry,
we'll all be dead anyway" ?

We're lucky we won't be around
to see that day,

because I do not want the last thing
I hear to be Gary Johnson saying:

"the sun's not so
much conquered the Earth,"

"it's merely lifted up her skirt
and fingerblasted it."

"No Gary,
why are you so weird ?"

The more you look
at Gary Johnson and Jill Stein,

you realize the lack of coverage
they complain about so much

might have benefited them.

Their key proposals begin to crumble
under the slightest scrutiny.

I would love for there to be
a perfect third party candidate.

A third party candidate can put
a new issue or solution on the table.

But it is hard to make the case
that is what's happening here.

There is no perfect candidate.
And when people say:

"you don't have to choose the lesser
of two evils," they are right:

because you have
to choose the lesser of four.

Anyone who goes into a voting booth
and comes out saying:

"I feel 100 percent great
about what I just did in there"

is either lying or did something
unspeakable in that booth.

And that means everyone has to
own the flaws of whoever you vote for

whether they are a lying, handsy,
narcissistic sociopath,

a Wall Street-friendly embodiment of
what people can't stand about politics,

an ill-tempered mountain-molester
with a radical, dangerous tax plan

or a political neophyte with no
understanding of how government works,

and who once recorded this folk-rap
about the virtues of bicycling.

She's up there in the sun
and underneath the stars

To get there in these cars

Biking for the nation
The future generation,

You think it's transportation,
to her it's a salvation.

I feel like we figured out who
or what killed Biggie and Tupac.

And before you say:
"Hold on John,"

"there is one candidate
you haven't mentioned",

I remind you: he's broke as shit
and he will not wear a suit.

And now this.

A glimpse into the inner workings of
the most patient man on television.

Steve joining us from Haymarket,
Virginia. Republican line.

Yes. About three years ago, a man
named Liang-Shi Fan developed

a process where you can
burn virtually any carbon fuel

without producing any CO2.

Allan Savory uses holistic grazing
to re-sequester CO2 in the ground.

If you go to Prince William County,
Hellwig Park and Ben Lomond Park,

I built about
20 constructive wetlands.

We can build
constructive wetlands,

but we're limited to that space
between the North and the South Pole.

So we really don't have
any environmental problems,

what we have is a bunch
of politicians

who wanna take $1.5 trillion out
of the economy every year

for these windmills up on Mount Storm,
West Virginia, you can look at them.

It takes about
two hours to get up there.

10% of them are locked up.
Then you have to take a crane

that runs on diesel fuel,
take the windmill...

Time to go back, now.

... who can repair
big devices like that.

So you have to take to Mexico, fix 'em,
bring 'em back up with a truck again

and put them up on them poles.

So we really do not have
any green alternative

to the mirrors in Las Vegas
burst into flames here recently.

They haven't quite figured out
that the Earth rotates,

you don't have
to move mirrors.

Thank you for the call.

That's our show, thank you.
See you next week, goodnight !