There were plenty of eye-rolling moments from last week's Republican National Convention that John Oliver could have featured in Last Week Tonight's wrap of the event. From prospective First Lady Melania Trump plagiarizing Michelle Obama, to Texas Senator Ted Cruz's refusal to endorse Donald Trump.
But Oliver instead focused on the disturbing rhetoric used during the proceedings. After sampling clips of speakers ranging from vice presidential candidate Mike Pence to former Charles in Charge (1984-1990) star Scott Baio, it became clear that presenters were deliberately conflating feelings with facts. And that's a dangerous approach to governing, Oliver warns.
The most unsettling moment came when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed facts about the economy, crime and other concerning issues because the information didn't reflect the feelings that the GOP wanted to stir in Americans.
"This is a graph of the violent crime rate," Oliver pleaded as he presented a chart that contradicted Newt's view. "It's not a fucking Rorschach Test. You can't infer anything you like from it."
But that's what politicians are doing, according to Oliver.
"It is worth taking just a moment to seriously consider what Gingrich was saying there. Because think about it. I think we can all agree that candidates can create feelings in people. And what Gingrich is saying is that feelings are as valid as facts. So then, by the transitive property, candidates can create facts. Which is terrifying because that means someone like Donald Trump can essentially create his own reality and that is the closest thing to an actual magic spell I have ever seen."
Oliver argues that Trump's rhetoric is particularly worrying because he stirs feelings in the same way as dictators. "His message this week was the message of every strong man ever. 'The world is dangerous and only I can make you safe. And if that sounds scary, there have been warning signs."
Check out the full video for Oliver's proof.
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