Updated on November 4, 2018.
Everyone’s panicked. That’s how Saturday Night Live summed up the final days before the midterm elections, from both sides of the spectrum, in an episode that felt a little more knowing and sharp than the show’s broad, goofy portrayals of the Kavanaugh confirmation and its aftermath. The episode began with Kate McKinnon’s parody of Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle, as she warned of the approaching migrant caravan in apocalyptic terms, villainizing the “dozens—maybe millions” of Central American refugees to fire up her viewing base and get them to the polls.
Following that was a parody ad in which Democratic voters, burned by 2016’s polling misfire, looked into the camera and shakily proclaimed their belief that this time, things would be different. “There’s a blue wave on the horizon, and I have never … felt more … confident …” said Heidi Gardner, playing a mom, holding up a trembling thumb. With Alec Baldwin perhaps unavailable due to his recent arrest, the show swerved away from its vaudevillian portrayal of President Donald Trump and instead animated the country’s climate of fear ahead of the November 6 elections. From the right-wing media, an implausible warning of impending doom; from progressive voters, a total lack of resoluteness that things could ever swing in their direction.
“Of course, the liberal media is trying to label President Trump a racist, but except for his words and actions throughout his life, how is he racist?” Ingraham asked the audience incredulously. “All of a sudden, the term nationalist is bad. The word white is bad. The phrase white nationalist is bad!” Then she brought in Fox News regulars like Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong) and David Clarke (Kenan Thompson) to back up arguments that the migrant caravan contained “Guatemalans, Mexicans, ISIS, the Menendez brothers, the 1990 Detroit Pistons, Thanos, and several Babadooks,” playing footage of zombie swarms from World War Z as a final coup de grace.