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Processing the Election Results with Satire

Over the past few days since the US election results were announced, I have been immersed in Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube as I tend to do when processing cultural or political change. It’s a way to discover my own reactions, understand everything that led to Trump’s win, and figure out what the next steps are in advocacy. That’s why I turn to comedians like Stephen Colbert—I grew up with his criticism of conservatism and politics in general and it has helped me develop critical skills and stay engaged with current events. Below are some of my favorite clips from comedians this week, each with a leftist spin and a blend of critique and comedy.


1. The Tale of Election 2016 w/ Benedict Cumberbatch

James Corden’s show is more like Jimmy Fallon’s than any of the political satire on this list, but I wanted to include him to set the stage for where many comedians were at before November 9th: apprehensive about the possibility of a Trump win, lightly critical of Hillary Clinton, and absolutely critical of Trump as a candidate, let alone president.

Favorite quote: “Still, nobody expected the orange monster to rule the land, because although his head was very, very big, his wisdom was very, very tiny, like his tiny, tiny baby hands.”


2. Clinton and Trump Supporters Find Common Ground

Filmed and aired before the election results were known, this “Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse” segment explores the divisiveness of the US election and the unusually strong animosity between Clinton supporters and Trump supporters. In the video, Klepper asks both candidate’s supporters to find something nice to say about the other candidate.

Favorite quote: “What if I gave you two dollars, would you say something nice about Hillary Clinton?”


3. Make America Hate Again

Ronny Chieng interviews undecided voters right before the election to figure out how they haven’t decided and what would make them decide. The largely non-partisan controversial nature of both candidates prior to their journey on the campaign trail helped create the “I hate both options” mindset. Caution: mature language.

Favorite quote: “More people hate Clinton and Trump than like either one of them. But maybe I could use their hate to get them to make up their damn minds.”


4. The 2016 Election Wrap-Up

In the wake of the election, some of the reaction of TV hosts has been to call for unity and positivity from their majority liberal audience. Though I am still steeped in the reaction of fear and outrage, I can appreciate Trevor Noah’s attempts to bridge a country seemingly split in two.

Favorite quote: “Let’s wipe the slate clean and start with zero days that President Trump has gone without an incident. And now, one day without an incident. One day! Yay! One day, people. Now it’s only 1,459 days to go!”


5. The Morning After

I can always count on Samantha Bee for shamelessly liberal critique of conservative politics and her intense dislike for Trump. She’ll be the last to normalize Trump or shy away from being too overtly critical of the President-elect.

Favorite quote: “White people, this is the worst thing we’ve… no, I’m sorry, that’s a very high bar, but holy shit! And don’t try to distance yourself from the bad apples and say, ‘It’s not my fault I didn’t vote for him #NotAllWhitePeople!’ Shush.”


6. Trump and Obama, Sitting in DC, A-W-K-W-A-R-D

Stephen Colbert’s longform openings are a chance for him to really dissect the news. He tends to make one feel better after watching, a constant voice of reason that brings politics to new light. At least watch the last three minutes of this video, when Colbert essentially promises to not stop criticizing Trump because of Trump’s newfound power. The previous day’s video “Don’t Move to Canada” is another example of his persona acting as a comfort and a source of food for thought.

Favorite quote: “[Trump’s] website also shows how serious Trump is about fulfilling the central campaign promise of his hat, because there is a form you can fill out to answer the question: ‘How do you want to Make America Great?’ Maybe elect someone who already knows how to do that.”


I can count on each host to keep a close critical eye on US government in the coming weeks, months, and years. While they may occasionally dip into being too politician-focused and fail to consistently address the problems facing marginalized communities, their platforms are unique for combining writers, politicians, and activists in raising awareness of social issues. I recommend watching John Oliver on Monday, when clips from his previous night’s show are uploaded to YouTube. I know when Trump makes his first (inevitable) major blunder or devastating executive move, each host will be there to help analyze and satirize.


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Casey Linenberg

Mt Holyoke '19

Hi! I'm co-Campus Correspondent for Mount Holyoke's chapter of Her Campus. In addition to HC, I study English and am a member of our campus newspaper.
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