John Oliver's crosshairs find Jill Stein's student-debt proposal: "It is to her campaign what the border wall is to Donald Trump's"

Stein's tentpole proposal, he said, could only be less feasible "if she claimed Mexico is going to pay for it"

Published October 17, 2016 12:40PM (EDT)

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver on Sunday made the case for third-party candidates in the seemingly apocalyptic 2016 election cycle.

"Just dismissing third-party candidates as spoilers shuts down debate," Oliver said. "And while the argument that the only thing that stops [Donald] Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton is a powerful one, so is the argument that people should vote for the candidate who most closely shares their values."

Among the fringe third-party candidates running in 2016: Jim Hedges from the Prohibition Party, or "the worst party without alcohol since your born-again cousin's wedding"; Dan Vacek, of the Legalize Marijuana Now Party, which Oliver suggested renaming "Illegal Marijuana Now, Legal Marijuana ASAP party"; and independent write-in candidate Joe Exotic, the self-described "gay gun-carrying redneck with a mullet," who claims to be director of the world's largest private zoo for tigers.

The two best known third-party candidates are Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein, both of whom have gained marginal traction due to the record-level unfavorability of the two major parties' nominees.

Stein's tentpole policy proposal is the sweeping relief of more than $1 trillion in student debt. Oliver explained, "It is to her campaign what the border wall is to Donald Trump's."

However, Oliver pointed out, Stein has wrongly stated that the president has the authority to cancel student debt via quantitative easing, which is actually a function of the Federal Reserve.

"When I said her student debt proposal was her version of Donald Trump's border wall, I meant it," he added. "Because the only way it could be any more unlikely is if she claimed Mexico is somehow going to pay for it."

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Gary Johnson Jill Stein Joe Exotic John Oliver Third Party