John Oliver concedes sad defeat on the Supreme Court, urges Democrats to go big to save U.S. democracy

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Maybe there’s some irony in a British immigrant preaching pro-democracy revolution in America, but these are strange times. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Oliver said on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, “was distressing enough” before President Trump rushed to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by “a liberal icon with an extremely conservative justice who’s being called ‘the female Antonin Scalia,'” Amy Coney Barrett, 48.

“Look, this has been a very dark week for a lot of people,” Oliver said. “The Supreme Court is about to lurch to the right for the foreseeable future. And if things seem hopeless right now, it’s because — to be completely honest — they basically are.”

“The fact is, when Barrett is confirmed, a president who lost the popular vote will have picked a quarter of the federal judiciary and a third of the Supreme Court, and his choices will have been rubber-stamped by a Senate Republican majority representing 15 million fewer people than the Democratic minority,” Oliver said. “And if that sounds absurd to you, it’s because it clearly is, especially when those courts have allowed Republicans to set wildly unpopular policy that wouldn’t actually pass muster with voters.” So what can be done?

If the Democrats manage to win the White House and Congress, they need to go “bold” and enact “significant structural change,” Oliver said. That’s risky — “expanding the court is a bit like doing yoga naked — one way to dampen your enthusiasm for the idea is to picture Donald Trump doing it, too,” he said — but “it is past time for big change.” Eliminating the Electoral College and granting statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, he argued, “would actually make our system more democratic.”

“The unavoidable truth here is that the system is already rigged, and its rigged in a way that has allowed a party without popular support to drastically reshape an entire branch of government for the foreseeable future by appealing almost exclusively to white voters in some of the least populous regions of the country,” Oliver said. “That is not a mandate, and it’s not democracy, it’s a f—ing travesty. We’re at the end of a generational battle, and the heartbreaking thing is, we lost.”

“But the next battle has to start right now,” he said, and “we must be willing to fight tirelessly and with every tool and tactic at our disposal.” Watch below.

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