While gerrymandering wreaks enough havoc on the American democratic system to sufficiently undermine elections on its own, that doesn’t mean we can’t blame foreign agents for homegrown ills, too. As much attention as has been made paid to nefarious Russian plots, though, the nation has overlooked another deeply serious ex-Soviet threat in its panic: the host of fictional Kazakh TV shows.
Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Sacha Baron Cohen brought a clip of “his friend,” the Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, who was sent by Kimmel to a Los Angeles neighborhood to hear about “the state of American politics.” Borat, explaining that it was too hard for Russians to tamper with the midterms now that everyone is watching them, decided to take this opportunity to do his part to “swing the midterms for Premier Trump.”
What follows is a late ‘00s nostalgia tour of Borat chatting with local Americans in the grand tradition of Borat chatting with local Americans. He is, of course, still casually sexist (he’s baffled that one woman is allowed to vote) and racist (“But what is a problem being a racist?” he tells a man. “I am a racist. It is nice!”).
But as always with Baron Cohen, the clip shows that his greatest skill is leading people into damning themselves with their own words. He gets the strongest results from the first woman he speaks to, who praises the border camps and, with incredible cluelessness, agrees with Borat that America shouldn’t be “a country of immigrants.” That he manages to find people willing to say this sort of thing on TV isn’t exactly surprising in 2018; that he’s still able to find people who can be tricked by a Borat interview, though, is unexpected.
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