Jon Stewart should moderate a 2016 presidential debate. That’s what a change.org petition, which has nearly 300,000 signatures, is calling for.
Having Stewart moderate would liven things up, something the-usually-staid debates could use, particularly if Donald Trump doesn’t win the Republican nomination. It would also attract younger viewers, who make up the Comedy Central star’s base.
Now that he’s no longer hosting The Daily Show after a sixteen-year run, Stewart should be available, assuming he doesn’t have another WWE wrestling match.
Notwithstanding his qualifications, or the increased interest among young voters he’d bring, Stewart probably won’t get the call. That’s because it would come from the Commission on Presidential Debates.
While official sounding, CPD is little more than a joint venture of the Republican and Democratic parties to ensure control over the televised presidential debates.
When third-party candidates were included in the debates of 1980 (John Anderson) and 1992 (Ross Perot), they caused a stir. In response, CPD was created to prevent minor parties from getting into the televised debates, where they could access millions of American homes.
Seizing control of the debates was a bold move, particularly since the League of Women Voters had been successfully sponsoring them for decades. In response to being pushed out, the League said CPD’s efforts amounted to “a fraud on the American voter.”
With this history, it may not be surprising that CPD has yet to respond to the petition calling for Stewart to moderate a debate, which has the support of at least one presidential candidate, Gov. Martin O’Malley. The Green Party, which supports Stewart’s hosting, urged him and his fans “to help us expose the rigging of the debates by the CPD.”