Students weigh in on John Oliver’s attempt to derail Trump


Donald Trump is back in the news – but not for making what some consider derogatory comments toward his competitors or members of the media.

This time, people are firing back at Trump.

The research team at HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” dug up a trove of information on Trump. From his past business ventures to some of his tweets and quotes, host John Oliver called into question Trump’s honesty and trustworthiness.

Most notably, Oliver latched onto information pertaining to Trump’s heritage. In the segment he said that Trump’s grandfather, Frederick Trump, changed his name to Trump from its original Drumpf once he came to the United States.

This began the trending hashtag “#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain,” intended to start a social media movement about Trump’s name and his questionable qualities as a presidential candidate.

Oliver began by making the argument that Trump’s success is due to his last name and what it means to supporters. Some supporters believe it means “success” or “wealth.” But throughout the segment, Oliver picked apart these feelings toward Trump.

If Trump were associated with the last name Drumpf, it would allow people to look past the allure the name Trump brings, Oliver said.

“[John Oliver] was giving [Donald Trump] a taste of his own medicine,” said James Simpson, a master of fine arts student in studio art.

Trump has called other Republican candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz a “choker” and “nasty guy” respectively on social media, so some people believe that he had it coming when Oliver released the video.

“This justifies what Donald Trump has been doing all along. I don’t believe you can fight fire with fire,” Simpson said, when referring to the back and forth insults within the party. “You may have heard it before, ‘let it roll of your back’ or ‘it’s not worth stooping to their level.’”

The question is will this video and hashtag slow down Trump’s success?

Trump leads the Republican candidates, winning seven out of the 11 states on Super Tuesday. He has 384 delegates compared to Cruz’s 300.

It could be said, based on the results of Super Tuesday, that the video had no substantial impact on the way Trump supporters voted.

“I don’t think Trump supporters watch John Oliver,” said Mary O’Neil, a freshman anthropology student.

The video is considered propaganda, which in many cases just backs the ideas of those who agree but does not change the opinions of those who don’t.

“The viewership of the show isn’t made up of Donald Trump supporters,” said Chris Hendrick, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major.

As shown through Oliver’s social media movement, a hashtag and a string of tweets don’t necessary make a large impact. However educating oneself before heading to the voting booth is important, whether through movements like Oliver’s or other means.

Evan Grisley is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com