omentum is building for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's joint rally in Washington, D.C. Comedy Central is busily coaching would-be attendees on the logistics of getting to D.C. The twin events have garnered support from the likes of Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey, and nearly 200,000 Facebook users have "signed up" for Stewart's rally. While that's no guarantee of attendance, it seems likely that masses of young, liberal-minded folk will gather at the National Mall on Oct. 30 — people who, the Democrats worry, might otherwise be taking part in crucial get-out-the-vote campaigning. Could "Stewartapalooza" end up benefiting the GOP?
The GOP will be rubbing its hands with glee: "Republican strategists will be delighted" at the timing of this rally, says David Corn at Politics Daily. Not only will it "suck up plenty of media attention" at a time when Democratic candidates desperately need coverage but it could also attract "bodies from toss-up districts" who could "otherwise be persuaded to do grassroots political work." If the Democratic base chooses comedy over politics, it could be that "the Republicans end up laughing the most."
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This will make no difference for the Dems: "I really, really do not buy this," says Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post. The "overlap on the Venn diagram" between grassroots campaigners and rally attendees is "well overblown." If Democrats really are worried that Stewart will steal away their volunteers, maybe they should "ask themselves why their candidates don't elicit the same level of devotion."
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Actually, these rallies are bad for politics as a whole: By the looks of things, says Sam Fullwood III at American Progress, Comedy Central's "fake rallies" will draw more attendees than either Glenn Beck's Rally to Restore Honor or the liberal One Nation march. Since when did "jokes trump serious discourses"? This rally has the potential to "erase what's left of the blurred line separating real politics from profit-seeking pop culture." That's not good for either party.
"Race and beyond: when jokes trump discourse"
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