Tuesday held the New Hampshire primaries, the second date on the Democratic field’s calendar and a chance to make up for last week’s disastrous Iowa caucuses. The two states are seemingly random, although as Jimmy Kimmel joked, “the reason the primaries begin in Iowa and then go on to New Hampshire is because it’s important that we know what the very whitest people think first.”
Kimmel had bigger concerns, however, most notably Donald Trump’s continued impunity post-impeachment acquittal. Arguably the most egregious example was Tuesday’s news that Roger Stone – the Trump associate found guilty of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering last year – would have his recommended sentence reduced. Stone was originally recommended for a seven to nine years in prison, but earlier this week Trump tweeted: “This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” The tweet is rich, said Kimmel, coming from “the man who got away with the first impeachment trial in history that did not have witnesses”.
On Tuesday, the justice department suddenly reduced the sentence request from nine years to something “far less severe, which is appalling even by Trump standards”, said Kimmel. “And unheard of, that he would somehow affect the sentence of his friend. Trump tweets, and all of a sudden his attorney general [Bill Barr] is like, ‘hey you know what? Instead of seven to nine years, why don’t we make that no years.’
“Trump is absolutely drunk with power right now,” Kimmel said.
“Sometimes you feel like Donald Trump is corrupting all of the democratic institutions that we hold dear,” said Stephen Colbert on Tuesday’s Late Show. “Well, I’ve got some good news for you: you’re not crazy to feel that way.” The latest example was “Trump crony and man voted Best Dressed at Nuremberg” Roger Stone, who was convicted of seven felonies last year and recommended by federal prosecutors for a prison sentence of seven to nine years. But “even that lighter sentence did not sit well with Stone’s old pal Donald Trump,” said Colbert, noting the president’s tweet in defense of Stone.
“By some impossible coincidence – how it could it be?! – it was then announced that the justice department will take the extraordinary step of lowering the recommended prison time for Roger Stone,” Colbert explained. “So Donald Trump and his attorney general are using the justice department to go easy on his cronies. The only difference between this and a banana republic is that Trump does not eat fruit.”
As a protest against “Trump’s carriage of misjustice”, Colbert said, all four of Roger Stone’s prosecutors resigned. “That’s right, they all walked. It must not have been easy for them to find the exits, since Bill Barr has relocated the [Department of Justice] up Trump’s ass.”
On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah looked into the stressful buildup to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. In the wake of the Iowa voting-app debacle, New Hampshire’s secretary of state, Bill Gardner, reassured CBS This Morning that the primary was “app-free” and thus secure. “It’s funny how a few years ago, people were like guys, we’ve got to vote with our phones, it’s the future!’” said Noah. “But now, thanks to the disaster in Iowa, it’s like: ‘We’re going back to how our forefathers did this, OK? Everyone gets one rock and we put it in a jar.’”
If you’re worried about the New Hampshire primary becoming another Iowa debacle, don’t worry; they’re counting the votes old-school. pic.twitter.com/H9fRhIPfy5
To get a better understanding of the ground game in New Hampshire – and why Democrats are even there in the first place – Noah turned to Daily Show correspondent Michael Kosta. Since Iowa, there’s been pressure on New Hampshire, “and the candidates have had only one week to completely change their cultural messaging,” said Kosta, “because Iowa is mostly white people, but New Hampshire is mostly … white people.”
When Noah didn’t get the difference – “it sounds like both states are just a bunch of white people” – Kosta pulled out his “Caucasian color wheel”. “The New Hampshire white people fall here in the eggshell section,” he said “while the Iowa whites are all the way over here in the oatmeal cream section.
“White is not blank, Trevor. Zero is not nothing. ‘Free to go’ is not innocent of all charges, although you do hear that a lot when you’re white,” said Kosta.
He continued the bit with an explanation of the differences between Iowa and New Hampshire: You can’t say “it’s great to be here in Iowa” in New Hampshire, and “Iowans are rural, while New Hampshirites are not urban. Iowans are blue-collar, while New Hampshirians are working class. Plus, Iowans call it pop and New Hampshirinos call it soda. They’re basically different planets.”
Which prompted Noah to ask: “How would you respond to the criticism that these predominantly white states aren’t the best states to kick off the primaries? Because these candidates could be starting in a more representative state of the country, like California or Florida.”
“I hear you, Trevor, Iowa and New Hampshire are white,” Kosta said. “But hear me out – they’re also boring as hell.
“If you have to spend a year campaigning in Miami, everyone would be running for president. But if you’re willing to spend a year eating bland food in sub-zero temperatures pretending to care about how big a pumpkin is? That’s how I know you really want to be president.”