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John Oliver: State Races Are The Ones That Actually Matter

He calls state legislatures the "frat houses" of democracy.

You really do have to watch this. It's one of John Oliver's best yet! Raw Story:

Noting that the current Congress is shaping up to be the least productive in history, Oliver wondered why all of the attention is being paid at the national level when, “down at the local level, everything is happening.”

“I know it can be hard to take candidates for state houses seriously, partly because of their ridiculous ads,” he explained before showing a collection of clips including one from a candidate in Montana “declaring his belief in the US Constitution over a shot of the Declaration of Independence.”

“The other problem is, whenever you do hear about state legislatures, it’s because something crazy has happened. Like a fist-fight between two old men in the Alabama senate, or a Florida state senator looking at topless photos during an abortion debate. Or this California assemblyman discussing his sex life into a live microphone,” Oliver said before running video of former Assemblyman Mike Duvall talking into an open mic about “spanking” a “bad girl” lobbyist.

“State legislatures are hilarious,” he continued. “There’s only one problem. Increasingly, they’re the places where most legislation is actually taking place. So far this session Congress has passed just 185 laws. State legislatures have passed more than 24,000.”

He does miss one important point: In most states, cash-strapped newspapers have cut and even abolished their statehouse bureaus -- which means there's no one watching. And we know how that always turns out!


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