Before Late Night Tonight goes on two-week hiatus, satirist John Oliver decided to take another shot at Donald Trump for his main segment. It was only three weeks ago when John Oliver campaigned to “Make Donald Drumpf Again.” This week however, he exposes the ludicrousness and infeasibility of Trump’s proposed wall at the US-Mexico border.
As I explained before, the demagogic Donald Trump uses the divisive rhetoric of xenophobia and racism, among other things, in order to appeal to conservative voters who are dissatisfied with the GOP establishment. As Oliver points out, one policy that draws from this madness is his desire to build a Berlin Wall-esque structure between the US-Mexican border. Trump’s wall has earned the condemnation from economists and human rights activists alike, who, respectively, find his wall policy to be either economically impractical and racially incendiary.
Oliver starts off his segment by exploring the feasibility of the wall, temporarily suspending any commentary on its xenophobic nature until the near-end of the segment. Pretty quickly, using a Washington Post report, debunks Trump’s suggested cost ($4-12 billion) for constructing the wall. The conservative estimate would amount to at least $25 billion, not including its maintenance thereafter. Even Trump’s suggestion of Mexico paying for the wall ultimately falls flat given the Mexican government’s resistance to the very idea. Hilariously, the show plays a clip of former Mexican President Vicente Fox saying, “I’m not going to pay for that fucking wall.”
And neither should any US citizen.
Furthermore, the wall would be ineffectual in actually keeping Mexican immigrants and drugs out, as there many different routes through, underneath, and around the border. As for the crime argument (i.e,. “rapists” and “drug dealers”), Oliver wisely points out, that immigrant communities have lower crime rates than native US citizens. As such, all Trump is doing is fearmongering ineffectual proposals that would only burden the taxpayers as well as continue to fuel irrational nativism.
Oliver, as well as others throughout this election, continue to expose Trump as a hot-aired candidate who lacks nuance in many of his proposals. While he appeals to the working class for his disdain of unfair free trade policies, his xenophobia is the most controversial aspect about him. As such, his wall is nothing more than another symbol (albeit an expensive one) to represent his bigotry towards Mexican immigrants. Equally disconcerting are the 70% of Republican voters who share his bigotry and actually support his ridiculous plan.
While Trump’s rhetoric in general only serves to continue to be a headache for the GOP establishment, prominent Republicans have been employing anti-immigrant rhetoric for decades. It is not as if Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, ironically the sons of Cuban immigrants, are any more liberal in their positions towards undocumented immigrants. Trump is not an exception to the rule; rather, he is a product of years of xenophobic conservative orthodoxy. The only thing unorthodox is his willingness to be impolite about his views on immigrants.
Last Sunday’s episode should be a reminder of the usefulness of doing ample research for policy proposals. They can debunk pretty much any suggestion Trump has brought up so far during this election.
Oliver closes the segment on a funny note by proposing that the $25 billion taxed, which is roughly $77 per person, would be better served by purchasing a waffle iron for every civilian. Though it is absurd and unnecessary, Oliver asks the most important question of the night, “Let’s ask ourselves what kind of country do we want to wake up to? One that spends billions on an impossible, impractical symbol of fear, or one that smells like breakfast?”
I prefer the smell of breakfast, especially when there’s huevos rancheros.