Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Colbert Is So Serious

Oyster linked to the first encouraging poll numbers for Stephen T. Colbert, Presidential Candidate. He has more national support than Bill Richardson.

I followed a bunch of links around to get more information.

Joshua Green at the Atlantic has written a comprehensive strategy profile for the Colbert candidacy. (h/t: The Fix) READ!

Here things get a little more interesting. I can’t point to anything other than truthiness, but I believe the “drunken college student” demographic is being overlooked. Anecdotal evidence lends support. “I’m surprised how many students seem to get their news from Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert,” Blease admitted. “In the grand tradition of student mischief, you could see Colbert having a pied-piper effect.” Indeed, state law doesn’t require voters to register until 30 days before the primary, so there’s plenty of time for a Colbert wave to sweep South Carolina. And because South Carolina doesn’t have party registration, the independents—who, according to Scarborough Research, are Comedy Central’s largest voter demographic, narrowly beating out Democrats—can vote in either primary.

You don't have to feel it just in your gut, Mr. Green. You missed an incredible tidbit of convenient fact that will support your "truth."

Stephen T. Colbert is a Facebook phenomenon.

Since the Facebook group, 1,000,000 Strong For Stephen T. Colbert, was launched shortly after Colbert announced his candidacy, it has grown to over 720,000 members. (As of 1:30 PM Central Time) Pasted directly from the group site over at Facebook, here is the pace of growth:

5,000 Members at 4:59 PM (EST) 10/17/2007
10,000 Members at 10:22 PM (EST) 10/17/2007
20,000 Members at 5:26 AM (EST) 10/18/2007
30,000 Members at 12:41 PM (EST) 10/18/2007
50,000 Members at 4:48 PM (EST) 10/18/2007
75,000 Members at 7:30 PM (EST) 10/18/2007
100,000 Members at 12:54 AM (EST) 10/19/2007
170,000 Members at 4:58 PM (EST) 10/19/2007
200,000 Members at 9:43 PM (EST) 10/19/2007
250,000 Members at 11:58 AM (EST) 10/20/2007
300,000 Members at 7:44 PM (EST) 10/20/2007
350,000 Members at 4:43 AM (EST) 10/21/2007
400,000 members at 5:11 PM (EST) 10/21/2007
450,000 Members at 12:16 PM (EST) 10/22/2007
500,000 Members at 5:11 AM (EST) 10/23/2007
550,000 Members at 3:59 PM (EST) 10/23/2007
600,000 Members at 8:06 PM (EST) 10/23/2007
650,000 Members at 11:24 PM (EST) 10/23/2007

That's just incredible.

Let me just put that in perspective:

As of this moment, Barack Obama's Facebook group, oft cited as an indicator of his popularity with young progressive voters boasts over 380,000 members after it's launch nine months ago. The pace of growth chart that had existed on this group page has been removed, possibly because the group's growth has slowed significantly.

Stephen Colbert's group is the fastest to 500,000 in the history of the social networking site.

Don't laugh off the political significance of Colbert Facebook group membership.

The group administrator provides links for voter registration and posts videos and press clippings. The "drunken college student demographic" is eligible to vote just like everyone else.

Soon the media will stop laughing so much. Stephen Colbert makes young people laugh but don't dare believe that he doesn't also make them think. Young voters, coming of age during the Bush Administration, have never experienced the vibrant American democracy so revered in textbooks. When our "leaders" wax on and on about the greatness of our system of government and the democratic process and how it needs to be spread all over the world, a lot of young people wonder what the hell those leaders are talking about. And it's not just because our floundering education system fails to properly explain it. While this protest vote may be good for laughs, please believe that young people, even if they're college drunks, are taking Colbert seriously.

No he won't be the next president. No he won't be a party's nominee. But as he makes a mockery of our electoral process, he'll be the only honest candidate out there. Young people believe this, even if they cannot articulate it beyond the sound of laughter.


Editor B said...

"Young voters, coming of age during the Bush Administration, have never experienced the vibrant American democracy so revered in textbooks."

That's a good observation. I just thought I'd add that I'm 40 and I've never experienced that "vibrant American democracy so revered in textbooks" either.

E said...

Excellent point. Perhaps the current generation of Americans coming of age are simply even further removed from the ideal American political experience. Young voters not only have come of age during the W experience but have been raised by parents that experienced the secretive Cold War ages of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan.

The difference for people coming of age during the W experience is that the sanctity of electoral process itself has never been in such disrepair. (i.e. the superficiality of the debate, the self-aggrandizing of leadership, the shadiness of the 2000 & 2004 vote counts, insecure electronic voting, etc.) There have been disclosures about electoral malfeasance in 1960, for instance, but never have the problems with the very thing that makes our democracy a democracy been so public.

And this generation's political apathy is condemned.

Leigh C. said...

Colbert also mentioned that his home state allows folks to run as a Repulicrat or a Democan.