If petitioners get their way, Jon Stewart could soon have a new job title — moderator of the 2016 presidential debate. Just a couple weeks after ending his long tenure as the much beloved host of The Daily Show, the man who revolutionized political satire in the digital age is being called upon by his fans once more, this time to take his political savvy to the presidential stage.
A Change.org petition calling for Stewart to moderate a presidential debate in the coming year is currently the fastest-growing on the site, jumping up by 1,200 percent over the course of a single day, in fact, with well over 100,000 signatures collected in its brief time online.
“Over the last 16 years, Jon Stewart has played an influential and iconic role in covering U.S. politics and media,” reads the petition. “We believe he should continue that tradition as a moderator at one of the 2016 presidential debates.” Change.org has previously met with success in influencing the choice for presidential debate moderators: a 2012 campaign in favor of a female moderator for one of the debates landed CNN’s Candy Crowley the esteemed position. The petition on her behalf ultimately received 150,000 signatures, which Stewart’s petition seems well-positioned to match.
Mariel Waters, who authored the petition, notes that Stewart has interviewed no fewer than “15 heads of state, 22 members of the United States Cabinet, 32 members of the United States Senate, seven members of the United States House of Representatives, and scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world,” making him well-qualified to run the show once the horse race really gets underway. And Stewart even has some support from the field, with Democratic candidate and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley taking to Twitter on Thursday evening to announce that he had added his name to the roster of signatories.
#WeWantJon is not the first petition to put Stewart on the debate floor. In 2012, fans called upon the talk show host to moderate as well, but this latest attempt seems to have gained more momentum. Of course, Stewart may not be game himself to play the part. When he left The Daily Show, he joked that covering politics was “killing” him, and in a full 180, he is slated to host the WWE SummerSlam later this year.
It seems Stewart will have to delay any attempts at early retirement if fans have their way. As the petition states, “(S)orry for pestering you so early in your retirement, Mr. Stewart. I hope you take all of this as a compliment and see how grateful these supporters are for your work.”