The President on The Daily Show

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

Last night, the president appeared on The Daily Show. Could you picture Mitt Romney doing the same? I for one doubt it.

The Obama campaign has a strong lead among young voters and undoubtedly some of this is easily attributed to the standard lead the democratic party has over the GOP among young voters. That alone does not, however, explain the amazing youth turn out Obama generated in 2008. Some of that could undoubtedly be attributed to his soaring rhetoric but that isn’t it alone either.

Just as important as the rhetoric, Obama (and his campaign staff) seems to be in touch with our modern digital world. He seems to be the first president whom young people would expect understands our quickly evolving media world. His campaign has used ever internet platform they could they get their hands on. They seem to really get how memes work and how to generate buzz online.

In fact, for all the talk of lack of specifics of Mitt’s Tax plan, I think this site created as much buzz about it among young voters as any debate comment.

If you want to reach people under about 35, you have to look to unusual communication techniques. That means going on The Daily Show, going somewhere you are aware you will be mocked and asked some uncomfortable questions. No news program gets more attention from young voters than the “fake news show” and Obama and his team know that.

Going on the Daily Show may seem silly or risky to some politicians, but if you want young people to come out and vote for you. If you want to generate real turn out among young people, you have to reach them online and on the shows they watch. Sunday morning interviews are unlikely to help your turnout among young people. Sitting down with Stewart less than a month before the election though? That will probably be a good turn out booster.

What could Obama have done better? Mentioned marriage equality on the Daily Show. It is a key voting issue among young people and would likely have generated some much needed energy for his campaign.

Maybe they should send Biden to Colbert. He is never known to shy away from interesting issues and it would certainly be a lively interview.