Should Jon Stewart Run for President? The Case for Funny Celebrities in Politics

Should Jon Stewart Run for President? The Case for Funny Celebrities in Politics

Jeff Cohen argues that Democrats should consider Jon Stewart as a potential presidential candidate, highlighting the need for more funny celebrities in politics.

In a political landscape that often lacks outside-the-box thinking, Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, suggests that Democrats should consider turning to funny celebrities for political leadership. Cohen specifically makes the case for Jon Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show,” who recently returned to TV with “The Problem With Jon Stewart.” While it remains uncertain whether Stewart will run for president, Cohen’s arguments extend beyond him, emphasizing the importance of fresh perspectives and humor in politics.

The Norm of Stultifying Politics:

Cohen criticizes the lack of innovative thinking in progressive U.S. politics, highlighting the need for brainstorming and creative solutions. He argues that despite the rapid development of new social media platforms, political discourse remains stagnant. Cohen suggests that the current political box is too small, calling for more outside-the-box ideas and approaches.

The Appeal of Celebrity:

Cohen acknowledges that Americans have a fascination with celebrities, which Republicans have effectively utilized in their political campaigns. Reagan and Trump, both former celebrities, capitalized on their fame to win the presidency. Cohen argues that Democrats should embrace this appeal and consider running funny celebrities for office, as Republicans have done with success.

The Democratic Resistance:

While Republicans embrace the power of celebrity, Democrats often resist it. Cohen notes that some Democrats, like Jerry Springer, have transitioned from politics to entertainment, but the majority seems to prefer a politics devoid of human involvement. Cohen suggests that Democrats should reconsider this resistance and recognize the value of popular figures in winning elections.

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The Lack of Noncorporate Culture:

Cohen points out that the U.S. lacks a robust political and noncorporate culture. While there has been a recent resurgence in union culture, the country generally lacks a strong political identity. Cohen argues that it is time to accept the reality of the culture we have and recognize the influence of corporate entertainment in shaping public opinion.

The Underrated Superpower of Humor:

Cohen emphasizes the importance of humor in politics, citing examples of Reagan, Trump, and Obama, who all utilized their comedic skills to their advantage. He argues that being funny is an underrated superpower in politics, as it can help candidates connect with voters and diffuse tense situations.

Why Jon Stewart?

Cohen specifically advocates for Jon Stewart as a potential presidential candidate. He highlights Stewart’s fame, likability, and genuine passion for public life. Cohen argues that Stewart’s understanding of Americans’ anger and frustration makes him an ideal candidate to address these issues.

The Challenges and Uncertainties:

While Cohen makes a compelling case for Stewart, he acknowledges the challenges and uncertainties surrounding this idea. Launching a campaign eleven months before an election is a late start, and Stewart has shown no interest in running for office. Cohen acknowledges that this idea may be a “Hail Mary,” but given the current political climate, he suggests that desperate times call for desperate measures.


The suggestion that Jon Stewart, or other funny celebrities, should run for president sparks a broader conversation about the role of humor and fresh perspectives in politics. Cohen’s argument challenges the resistance to celebrity in Democratic circles and highlights the need for innovative thinking in progressive U.S. politics. While the idea may seem far-fetched, it raises important questions about the future of political leadership and the potential impact of popular figures in shaping the nation’s direction.

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