Nearly 90,000 people want Jon Stewart to moderate a 2016 presidential debate

Will former "Daily Show" comedian moderate a debate? Almost certainly not, but petition is garnering big support

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 20, 2015 8:10PM (EDT)

  (Comedy Central)
(Comedy Central)

Nearly 90,000 people have called on former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart to serve as a 2016 general election debate moderator.

The Hill's Bradford Richardson reported on the petition calling on the Commission on Presidential Debates to select Stewart as a moderator for one of the 2016 Presidential Debates today. The online petition site says the effort to draft Stewart as a debate moderator has grown by more than 1200 percent since Wednesday although the petition was started two weeks ago.

“Over the last 16 years, Jon Stewart has played an influential and iconic role in covering U.S. politics and media,” the petition's creator, Muriel Waters writes. “We believe he should continue that tradition as a moderator at one of the 2016 Presidential Debates":

Jon Stewart is more than qualified to tackle the moderating job. Mr. Stewart has interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the United States Cabinet, 32 members of the United States Senate, 7 members of the United States House of Representatives, and scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world while establishing himself as the most trusted person in (satirical) news.


We ask that the Commission on Presidential Debates consider and provide the opportunity to Mr. Stewart to host one of the three major presidential debates directly preceding the 2016 election. We also wish for a public response to this petition.

The petition also calls on supporters to promote the effort using the hashtag, #WeWantJon:

It appears as though an interview with the petition's creator garnered a significant amount of attention to the effort this week. New Jersey radio station, 101.5, noted on it's website Wednesday that the petition was "up to more than 47,000 signers, up from the 1,500 or so it had last night." Waters, a Clifton, New Jersey resident, told the radio station she also created a Facebook page (liked by only 102 people) and credited similar 2012 petitions as her inspiration for the effort:

I understand that Mr. Stewart just retired and probably his only wish in this world is to spend time with his family on his animal sanctuary farm, but I hope that he sees this petition as an extension of our democracy, and that there is a serious demographic of people who still need his voice in our political process.

While a Stewart-helmed debate featuring Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders may be ways off, Stewart isn't resting on his laurels after signing off his 16-year Comedy Central hit on August 6, the comedian will serve as host of WWE’s SummerSlam this weekend.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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