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This Is So Stupid

Low TV Ratings For The Presidential Debate Prove That The American Public Has Been Turned Off By Politics

Donald Trump and Joe Biden at the presidential debate.
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

While the American media mostly focused on the crosstalk and incoherent babble between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in Tuesday’s presidential debate, the real story came the day after. The event suffered a sharp drop in TV ratings when compared to its 2016 equivalent between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

As a person who has a totally normal and not-myopic perspective on TV ratings and what they indicate, I can definitively draw a conclusion from this one night of Nielsen numbers: The American public is sick of politics in their politics. They watch the debate as an escape from the real world. This event should not be used to lecture viewers or push them to reconsider their beliefs. There was a clear lack of enthusiasm for politics before the debate went into the bubble, and it looks to be even worse now.

You may be asking how I can know this for a fact. Well, it’s Occam’s razor. The evidence for the decline is the decline. See? If you disagree, please provide your own reason, and don’t say, “Fewer people might be watching TV because they’re more focused on their country grappling with a pandemic.” You also can’t say, “Perhaps regular TV viewers are instead prioritizing the widespread civil unrest,” or “Maybe they’ve diverted their attention to law enforcement’s deliberate barbarity perpetrated against non-violent protestors.” And if your explanation is, “What if it’s because simply nobody gives a shit about what’s on TV right now,” too bad, you can’t say that either.

You aren’t allowed to bring up any of this stuff because I said so, and the explanation’s obvious, as I mentioned before. The number was big before and now it’s small. It’s so simple. I can’t believe I’m the only one in the media who is seeing and reporting on this.

The American people have tuned out of politics because of its politicization by politicians. Nothing is off limits to these virtue-signaling dopes: masks, a livable wage, healthcare. Additionally, the quality in play has also taken a major hit. Instead of focusing on relatable problems, these elites are arguing about questions in a TV interview, or who was the real star of Two and a Half Men. Why would anyone spend their hard-earned attention to decipher these esoteric squabbles when there are plenty of other entertainment options at their disposal, such as streaming services at varying levels of MAX, Blorp, or Prime?

A secondary reason for the dip in ratings might be the lack of talent. Look at the top tier of politicians right now and you won’t find any superstars. There’s no one who you’d trust to make the decision with everything on the line, and there have been no efforts to construct an effective and stable developmental system for fresh blood to succeed. There’s no depth. And if you’re not in one of the bigger coastal markets, you’re basically out of luck.

The Democrats and Republicans should be worried. These ratings augur a grim outlook for the country’s future growth and revenue. The two parties are only a couple of months away from negotiating a renewal of the presidency, potentially one of the biggest in history. You have to think this decrease in interest and enthusiasm will influence the outcome of any final contract. Once you lose the public, the future of the whole franchise may be at stake.

Now more than ever, the real people of America want a government that isn’t weighed down by politics. They yearn for the past, when the country’s leader would put their head down, stick to their job, and not make the news for their actions or things they say when a microphone is in front of them. One thing is certain: What we have now is untenable and has largely become inaccessible to the average American.

In response to Tuesday’s unwatchable programming, there have been some encouraging reactions. The Commission on Presidential Debates has clearly seen the same numbers from the bubble as the rest of us and is planning changes to make the upcoming schedule more watchable. Hopefully these alterations can bring back viewers with a less condescending and more welcoming format. But even that may be on hold now that Trump is listed as doubtful for the next debate after returning a positive test under COVID-19 protocols.

As it stands, we’re falling behind in foreign markets, and international competitors already pity our offerings. We can only hope a fix is in the works soon, because American politics can’t afford to lose any more of its audience.