Opinion: The absence of Jon Stewart

Lucas Misera

Something is missing from the 2016 election. While the lack of excitement concerning both sides’ candidates certainly gives next year an interesting feel, I realized one particular force behind presidential elections is absent this time around.

America is missing Jon Stewart now more than ever.

It sounds silly, right? A show on Comedy Central managed to produce one of the most trusted personalities of our generation, and that missing piece is becoming increasingly more obvious to me. I want to hear about how Bernie Sanders looks like Doc Brown from “Back to the Future,” Hillary Clinton’s nearly crippling inability to relate to the public and, we can only imagine the content “The Daily Show” would have drawn up for Donald Trump.

Trevor Noah is receiving mixed reviews as “The Daily Show” host. In all fairness, anybody who was stuck with following up Stewart was going to have a rough time. The rapport Stewart built with his audience, largely comprised of young people, is remarkable.

According to Pew Research Center, the median age of viewers of “The Daily Show” under Stewart’s tenure was 36. He built a satirical empire, but his comedy routines, presumably due to the cast’s brutal honesty, began to act as a news outlet for many Americans. In an online poll, 12 percent of Americans recognized “The Daily Show” as a primary news source. In a similar poll, 6 percent of Americans under the age of 30 years old declared Stewart as their most admired journalist, the highest percentage in that category.

Not bad for a show based on comedy routines.

Young voters need honesty. Growing up in an era in which political polarization can bring the federal government to a standstill, it’s hard to trust that politicians truly have Americans’ best interest in mind. Stewart quelled frustration through humor, making otherwise perplexing governmental failures into laughable situations.

He also stood by America through it all. Shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Jon Stewart produced one of the most eloquent monologues that television has ever seen. He stood with the people of Charleston, South Carolina in June after the shooting massacre, expressed mutual frustration with police after a string of heinous brutality and understood when America just needed to breathe. Most importantly, he understood how to push Americans through dark, frustrating times and helped this nation look to its future.

As we approach the 2016 election, it’s fair to say most Americans are simply unsure of what is to come. Without Jon Stewart breaking down what CNN and Fox News are afraid to, Americans need to sift through biases that “The Daily Show” made a point to eliminate.

Who would’ve thought that Comedy Central could produce such a powerful political figure? It doesn’t seem so strange now, especially in his absence.

Lucas Misera is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].