John Oliver tackled the state attorneys general races taking places in 30 states across the nation in his latest Last Week Tonight segment Sunday, focusing on an elected representative he notes is important while “most of us probably don’t know who ours is.”
Oliver opened with some of the ridiculous campaign ads surrounding state AG races (such as Dana Nessel’s “Ask yourself this, who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate that doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so”) before explaining what they position does: serving “as a state’s chief legal officer and the people’s lawyer.” This is a position that has largely been politically neutral in the past but is, unsurprisingly, growing more and more partisan under recent administrations.
Oliver points to RAGA (Repulican Attorneys General Association) and DAGA (Democratic Attorneys General Association), the partisan associations that “sound like twins from Dutch folklore that teach children right from wrong” and raise funds via somewhat questionable ties to corporations. Further, AGs belonging to one party have increasingly teamed up across states to sue the federal government (blocking actions such as the Medicaid expansion under the Obama Administration) and this has become a point of pride for some, such as Texas’ Greg Abbott (“I go into the office, I sue the federal government and then I go home”) and his successor, Ken Paxton, a man seriously outshone by his wife, the “pistol packin’ momma.”
Diving further into how Paxton’s conservative views have affected his work in office, and later on the surprising statistics of how few people actually vote for AG when confronted with the choice on a ballot, Oliver makes his case for awareness of these races.
“So please, before Nov. 6, just think about your AG race. You can do it, you’ve got nine days left,” said Oliver. “I know we’ve all been asked to think about a lot this year from Supreme Court nominations to gun control, to the energy of Pete Davidson’s penis—it’s been a lot and now I am adding research your state AG race to the list—but it is honestly worth it. If you do it, you’ll frankly be amazed at the kind of tidbits you may find.”
The comedian then outlined some of the golden tidbits of information he’s found on some of these candidates, such as how Wisconsin’s AG has purchased coins engraved with his own personal motto (a charming “Kicking Ass Every Day”), how Arkansas’ AG Leslie Rutledge killed it a few years ago on a karaoke version of “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and how there’s a cringe-worthy video of Bill Schuette, Michigan’s current AG who is running for governor, hitting on a cameraperson. Oh, and of course, that Indiana’s AG Curtis Hill is basically an Elvis impersonator.
For those who may not have enough time to independently research their AG race, Oliver dedicated the last few minutes of his segment to just that. Turning to a bagpipe-playing Rutledge’s choice karaoke track, he gradually added more and more ear-wrenching instruments (accordion, recorder) to the mix to encourage turning off the segment in lieu of research.
“If you haven’t already been repelled into action, I’ll happily add an accordion into the mix. Oh yes, the sweet, sweet sound of a bagpipe/accordion duet. Two sounds that go together like pop tarts and fish,” said Oliver over the din. “Go to Vote411.org right now, because I promise this just isn’t going to get any better.”
Check out Oliver’s latest segment below.