Academics Find New Reason for Hillary’s Loss: Comedian Jon Stewart
It’s been about thirty months since Donald Trump shocked the left with his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton, and people are still searching for some phenomenon that will explain how this could have possibly happened to our nation. Is it because of the unfair electoral college? Is it because of Fox News? No, no, it’s because of that sometimes-dastardly, sometimes-heroic James Comey. No, it was Putin who did this to us. Oh wait…wait a minute…now we know: It’s because Jon Stewart quit hosting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show!
According to Ethan Porter and Thomas Wood, academics who have surely set themselves up for some kind of prize with their latest research, ratings took a tumble after Stewart left the show to newcomer Trevor Noah. That, they reported in the journal Electoral Studies, could explain how Trump was able to best Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
“The transition at ‘The Daily Show’ spurred a 1.1% increase in Trump’s county-level vote share,” the pair write.
They do not provide any evidence to back up the extraordinary claim that a ratings drop for “The Daily Show” had anything to do with an increase in Trump’s vote share. This is like the old story about higher ice cream sales being linked to an increase in drowning deaths. If you were an incautious researcher, you could publish a journal article saying that ice cream was causing people to die in swimming pools around the country. With a little more thought, you might realize that both ice cream sales and drownings are likely related to a third causation: The hot summer months. Except in this case, there is even less correlation. We’re not even sure this amounts to anything stronger than a wild guess.
To their (limited) credit, the researchers do not try to make the argument that voters were lost without Stewart’s biting commentary on the state of the election. However, they argue that Stewart was instrumental in encouraging young liberal viewers to get out and exercise their right to vote, meaning that his absence from the airwaves could be correlated to depressed turnout among likely Hillary Clinton supporters. His status as a kind of alt-newsman “wielded unique influence over voting behavior.”
And really, who knows? Maybe they’re right. In a country of this size with this many voters and in an election that was this tight in the Midwest states, any of a million variables might have changed the course of history. It is somewhat interesting to play around with silly ideas like this, but it also masks a more disturbing reality. That being that the left still can’t get over this election. They have to find some way to wrap their heads around the fact that Trump won. And now, having watched their Big Russia Theory go up in smoke, they’re plumbing new depths of egregious silliness.
Can you imagine what excuses they’ll come up with if Trump wins again…