I’ll be live-Tweeting the debate while drinking tonight (you can find me on Twitter here), but I’ll mostly be drinking because (1) I don’t really care who wins because no matter who comes out on top, we all lose and (2) there’s no Donald Trump, which means that expectations on entertainment value for this debate are slim to none.
Even CNN seems unhappy with their lot. As the media-sponsored parties have raged on in Las Vegas (who says journalists don’t know how to have fun?),CNN has been slowly releasing stories designed to reassure potential debate viewers that what they’re about to see will be a debate on policy, and boring policy at that. First, Anderson Cooper noted yesterday that he won’t pit candidate against candidate as the Republican debate moderators did, because the candidates want an opportunity to “talk about issues,” not engage in face-to-face banter (and possibly because no one wants to see a Clinton-Sanders matchup come to blows, or worse, mud-wrestling – though a dance-off at the Venetian’s ultralounge, Tao, wouldn’t be too terrible).
And today, CNN told POLITICO that they don’t expect many people to tune in because no one on the Democratic stage has exhibited any sign of personality.
A ratings success for CNN will look nothing like the 23 million viewers the network saw at the second GOP debate, or the 24 million viewers from the first GOP debate hosted by Fox News.
“Viewership for the first two GOP debates was an anomaly in a highly unusual Republican nomination cycle. While I won’t predict ratings for this debate, we expect the audience to be significantly smaller,” said CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist.
The 2008 cycle saw some high numbers for the Democratic debates, drawn by the head-to-head match-up of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom had a chance to make history as either the first black or woman president. The most watched Democratic debates of the 2008 cycle came late in the season. On Jan. 31, 2008, the Democratic debate hosted by CNN, brought in 8.3 million viewers.
The solution here, of course, would be to give America what they want and allow Donald Trump to participate in this debate, as well. Heck, the guy is basically a Democrat, anyway, why not allow him to take on the liberal Establishment as well as the conservative one?
You honestly can’t tell me that’s a bad idea. You just can’t.