How Late-Night Comedy Fueled the Rise of Trump

Trump and Bee are on different sides politically, but culturally they are drinking from the same cup, one filled with the poisonous nectar of reality TV and its baseless values ..

.. Trump and Bee share a penchant for verbal cruelty and a willingness to mock the defenseless. Both consider self-restraint, once the hallmark of the admirable, to be for chumps.

.. When John Oliver told viewers that if they opposed abortion they had to change the channel until the last minute of the program, when they would be shown “an adorable bucket of sloths,” he perfectly encapsulated the tone of these shows: one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right.

.. When Republicans see these harsh jokes—which echo down through the morning news shows and the chattering day’s worth of viral clips, along with those of Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers—they don’t just see a handful of comics mocking them. They see HBO, Comedy Central, TBS, ABC, CBS, and NBC. In other words, they see exactly what Donald Trump has taught them: that the entire media landscape loathes them, their values, their family, and their religion.

.. Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for Barack Obama, was representative: “This photo will be in history books and the caption will not be about how Jimmy Fallon is such a fun nice guy”), and rightly so.

.. getting a noogie from a comic on late-night television is now considered a “normalizing” activity for a presidential candidate. The implication is that you’re not fit for executive office unless you can clown for us on the tube when we’re half awake.

.. Paar invites audience members to ask their own questions of the senator. “Let’s have, you know, responsible questions from responsible people,” Paar says, and I waited for the laugh, but it didn’t come. It wasn’t a joke.

.. This was a chance to interview someone who wanted to be the president, and Paar asked his audience members to act accordingly—which they did.

.. The new age officially began with Bill Clinton’s 1992 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, playing his saxophone.

.. This was the president as entertainer, the president as a guy so young and so cool that he could slide right onto the set of the most with-it late-night show and sit in with the band.

Who couldn’t love this guy? Well, possibly the family of Ricky Ray Rector, the retarded man on Arkansas’s death row, whom Clinton had cruelly allowed to be executed just five months earlier to prove he was tough on crime.

.. soon President Bubba .. would be telling an MTV crowd whether he wore boxers or briefs

.. We are a country with the greatest creed in all of history—the Constitution of the United States—yet we are looking more and more like a banana republic.

Just How ‘Responsible’ a Choice Is Tim Kaine?

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has chosen a male version of herself. Like Clinton, Tim Kaine is a culturally conservative liberal. He’s a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion despite believing it should be legal. For her part, Clinton is a devout Methodist—she’s taught Sunday school, lectured on Methodist theology and participated in various prayer groups—who is personally skeptical of abortion, too. In 2005, she called it “a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women” and looked forward to the day when “the choice guaranteed under our Constitution either does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances.”

.. In foreign policy, Clinton has tended to define the “responsible” position as the more hawkish one.

.. Her choice of Kaine underscores her disciplined, serious, earnest approach to governing. But it also underscores her tendency—so tragically in evidence when she voted to invade Iraq—to run with the Washington herd.