John Oliver wants you to vote for your state’s attorney general, and he’s not afraid to use a little light torture
“State attorneys general — and yes, that is the correct plural, and if you already knew that, I’m sorry that high school was such a rough time for you,” John Oliver said on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. A show about state attorneys general “sounds like a tedious prospect,” he conceded. “But look, it is worth the effort to learn about state AGs because they are very important,” even if “most of us probably don’t know who ours is.” Most attorneys general are elected partisan officials, and 30 states will choose theirs on Nov. 6. “Those elections are going to be unusually competitive,” Oliver explained, in part because a record $100 million has been poured into them.
“So tonight, let’s look at who AGs are, what they do, and why they matter,” Oliver said, and he started with what they do: basically, act as the lawyer for a state’s citizens. The office has steadily become more partisan, though, especially with groups of Republican AGs suing the federal government under former President Barack Obama. He focused for a bit on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), indicted for securities fraud and apparently caught on camera stealing an expensive pen, but he noted that since President Trump took office, Democratic AGs are the ones filing suit.
Many voters just leave the AG box blank on the ballot, which is “actually a cause for genuine hope,” because it means “your vote for AG may technically be even more valuable,” Oliver said, pointing again to Texas. “If there is one thing sure to damage Ken Paxton’s reputation, it’s an awareness of Ken Paxton’s reputation. So please, before Nov. 6, just think about your AG race.” He provided pointers for some states, then sent everyone else to the nonpartisan Vote411.org. Then, to push viewers to go research candidates, Oliver produced an increasingly discordant cacophony of instruments plus one lovely theremin. Watch the first 18 minutes, which include NSFW language, below.