Democrats and their media allies will hype the estimated 18 million viewers who tuned in to Wednesday night’s Democrat debate, but that number fell well short of the 24 million who watched Donald Trump’s first presidential debate back in 2015.
Deadline put all the numbers together, and that 18 million figure includes network viewers on NBC (7 million), those who tuned in across cable channels MSNBC and Telemundo, and even the streaming market. Result: 18 million tuned into the first Democrat debate of the 2020 campaign season.
But back in August of 2015, and airing only on the Fox News Channel (not the Fox broadcast channel or any other channel), an incredible 24 million tuned in to see the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign season, which, of course, featured Donald Trump.
In worse news, if today’s 18 million number holds, it is only a little better than the 16 million who tuned in to see the first Democrat debate in October of 2015, which featured Hillary Clinton. But again, this debate was broadcast on only one outlet, far-left CNN — not a broadcast network or anywhere else.
Part of the problem might be the overwhelming lack of star power. Of the ten presidential candidates who appeared Wednesday, only one, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has any real chance (at this point) of winning the nomination. The rest of the lineup included that fake Hispanic Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), America’s worst mayor Bill de Blasio, and a bunch of other people no one is going to vote for.
The second part of this debate arrives Thursday night with a little more wattage: front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, along with media faves Mean Little Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris. On paper, at least, the second night feels more consequential than the first.
Nevertheless, it is awfully early in the year to be holding debates. The first debates of the 2016 campaign season did not arrive until summer was winding down in August for the GOP and well into October for the Democrats.
But here we are, four years later, holding debates when summer is still less than a week old. This is great for people like myself who love to cover this stuff, but in the real world Americans are thinking about vacations, camping, movies, fishing, barbecues, picnics, fireflies, and fireworks.
In fact, considering the intensity of political coverage over the past few years, now that the media’s Russia Collusion Hoax has been debunked, my guess is that most Americans do not even want to think about politics right now. And they know they don’t have to really start paying attention until after Labor Day.
After all, no votes will be tallied until early next year.
Wednesday’s ratings also appear to back up a poll that came out this week showing a wide lack of interest in the 2020 race — even among Democrats.
Only 35 percent of registered Democrats are paying close attention to the race, while a full two-thirds say they are paying some or no attention.
Another problem for Democrat is that there is no Barack Obama or Bill Clinton in this cycle, no genuine superstar, no one capturing the imagination of the electorate — just dead weight like Biden, Sanders, and Warren; or lackluster wannabes like Buttigieg and Harris, who have yet to live up to the media hype.
The dozen-plus other candidates are either running to up their public profile or for vice president.
You get a sense from the Democrat electorate that they are desperate to fall in love but cannot find anyone to fall in love with, and that lack of excitement could translate into more than just a ratings problem.