Jon Stewart, USO, Washington-Baltimore
Jon Stewart, co-emcee at the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s 35th Annual Awards Dinner, Arlington, VA, March 21, 2017. Photo credit: Jim Greenhill / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

His Sanders-authenticity would draw Sanders-style crowds and make him a welcome bane to both parties’ establishments.

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I’m serious about suggesting that Jon Stewart run for president. Listen to this clip. I’m not posting this encounter because of its topic, though gender dysphoria is truly serious. I’m posting it because of Stewart’s method and approach.

He cuts through BS faster and better than anyone else in his business. He’s sharp, he’s fast on his feet, and he’s serious. Note his verbal sparring, his deft undercutting, the surprise but modulated pivots to accusations of lying.

This is taken from Season 2, Episode 1 of The Trouble with Jon Stewart. The entire interview, available only on Apple+, is even stronger.

A Bane to Both Establishments

He’d not only do this to Republicans running against him. He’d do the same to Democrats who got in the way of doing right for America. Faux-President Manchin, would get creamed, not coddled and cultivated. Schumer and his despicable cave, for example, to the Senate parliamentarian on drug price reform would be treated the same. Stewart, through his career, has been an equal opportunity offender.

The arguments for:

  • He has Sanders-authenticity, the real thing, not the fake-authentic variety manufactured by PR firms.
  • He’s more serious about his goals than he is about his career.
  • He would inspire a Sanders-like following.
  • He’s as good as we would get against Trump on the debate stage.

The arguments against:

  • The Democratic establishment would work to defeat him at every turn. The antidote to that would be the Sanders-style wind at his back. Finally, someone on the left for the real uprising to hook to.
  • He appears not to want to.

Nevertheless, I can’t think of a candidate I’d vote more enthusiastically for than Jon Stewart. After all, the best of this crowd is getting us nowhere.

We need a principled disruptor, Sanders-style. Can you think of anyone better fit for the role? Neither can I.

Published with the permission of Thomas Neuburger. A version of this piece originally appeared in his newsletter God’s Spies.


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