With less than six weeks until election day, the FBI has formally warned of the threat of foreign interference – most worryingly, disinformation spread by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin – in the presidential election. But “we don’t need to wait for Russia to undermine America’s election,” said Trevor Noah on Wednesday’s Daily Show, “because America’s president is already doing it himself. I guess he is bringing foreign jobs back to the US after all.”
The president has repeatedly and baselessly attempted to discredit mail-in voting, and preemptively called the 2020 election “the greatest fraud in the history of elections”. And “because this is 2020 and everything is a nightmare, it turns out that Donald Trump doesn’t even need to prove that mail-in ballots are invalid in order for him to snatch the election away,” Noah said. “All he needs to do is prolong the fight over it.”
Noah pointed to an Atlantic investigation released this week which reported that the Trump campaign has discussed plans to drag out the vote count in swing states for 35 days, the point at which states are constitutionally required to certify electors. If there is no decision by then, Trump can ask state legislators – in many swing states, bodies controlled by Republican lawmakers – to set aside the popular vote and choose the winner themselves.
This would be uncharted territory for an American election and thus likely to be handled by the supreme court – which, after the death of liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, Trump is trying to pack in his favor in an unprecedentedly brief window before 3 November.
“So once again, Donald Trump is the blacklight on American democracy,” Noah explained. “Thanks to him, everyone is now seeing how America’s system relies on good faith in order to succeed. It’s basically the ‘please only take one Halloween candy’ of democracy.’”
“Basically what I’m saying is: Donald Trump is trying to grab the election by the pussy,” Noah concluded, “and America needs to pull a Melania and slap that tiny hand away.”
On Full Frontal, Samantha Bee mourned the loss of Ginsburg, who died at 87 last week of complications from cancer. The liberal stalwart “fought tirelessly for women’s equality and civil rights throughout her career, including more than 27 years on the supreme court, “said Bee. She wasn’t “just a meme your Aunt Bev cross-stitched on a pillow,” but a “formidable champion in creating a better America.”
“Ginsburg’s passing has left many of us feeling devastated,” Bee continued, “not only because of the loss of this incredible woman as a brilliant leader, fighter and icon, but because of the threat it poses to American democracy itself.” Senate majority leader and “pig in shit” Mitch McConnell announced just hours after Ginsburg’s death that the Republican Senate would confirm a new conservative justice who would cast a definitive vote on cases affecting reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights and a potential contested election.
“Whatever you’ve been doing for self-care since 2016, that ends today,” Bee said. “No more rage-baking or pilates-kickboxing or stress chopping down trees in your woods. Self-care is over. Now is the time to show you care about everyone,” she added, urging viewers to volunteer, donate, and talk to undecided voters.
“We cannot let a single vote fall through the cracks,” she concluded. “Even in her final days, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was still fighting. She did her job. Now it’s time for us to do ours.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers observed a grim milestone for the coronavirus pandemic – 200,000 Americans have died, more than the battlefield casualties for the last five wars combined – even as Donald Trump claimed in a rally this week that the virus affects “virtually nobody”.
“Just because you’re not affected doesn’t mean nobody is affected,” Meyers retorted. “You’re safe because you and everyone around you get tested every day and you get the results back instantly. Meanwhile, regular people had to wait in their car for hours like they were lined up at a toll booth trying to leave New Jersey during the third quarter of a Jets game.”
Thanks to recorded interviews with journalist Bob Woodward in which Trump acknowledged the risk of coronavirus as early as February, “we know that Trump is at least capable of understanding the deadly reality of the virus,” said Meyers, “which makes his lies about it all the more psychotic and criminally negligent. He knows people will die, and he’s telling them not to worry anyway. He’s President Big Tobacco. Anyone else doing that would get sued or go to jail.
“If an auto manufacturer told people their car was perfectly safe even though they knew there were no airbags and the brakes were 50/50, they’d get in trouble,” he added. “Of course, if they just called it a Maga-rati, 40% of the country would rush to buy it so they could own the libs by driving off freedom cliff.”
And on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert reacted to news that a grand jury cleared the three Louisville police officers who barged into Breonna Taylor’s house and killed her in March, which helped ignite a wave of protests against anti-black police brutality this summer. “Regardless of whatever the grand jury considered in this particular case, this was an innocent woman, sleeping in her own bed, shot dead by police,” said Colbert. “It does not seem like too much to ask for someone to be held responsible.”
It’s “safe to say,” he added, that “race relations in America continue to be troubled. And while that’s been going on for a long time, our current president has spent most of his presidency publicly inflaming them.”
Colbert pointed to a damning Washington Post story released this week in which current and former Trump staffers recounted his racist comments in private. Behind closed doors, the president reportedly believes that black Americans “have mainly themselves to blame” for inequality, “could never understand” why his wife Melania wanted to visit Africa, and muttered after phone calls with Jewish lawmakers that Jews “are only in it for themselves”.
The article, concluded Colbert, is “a pretty roundabout and flowery way of just saying that he’s America’s racist uncle”.