Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley , left, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, stand together before the start of the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley , left, Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, stand together before the start of the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

That would be the extrapolation, at least: what Pew Research is reporting is that, among debate watchers 70% of Democrats who watched at least one debate watched a GOP debate, while only 49% of Republicans who watched at least one debate have watched a Democratic one. It’s even starker when you look at multiples. 89% of Democrats who watched multiple debates watched a Republican debate; only 56% of Republican multiple debate watchers watched a Democratic one. 41% of Republican multiple-debate watchers watched only Republican ones; only 8% of Democratic multiple-debate watchers watched only Democratic ones. And, in case you were thinking that this was somehow a positive sign for the Democrats: 64% of Republicans polled by Pew watched any debate, while only 53% of Democrats did the same.  Finally: 94% of Republicans surveyed watched a GOP debate; only 86% of Democrats watched a Democratic one.

Bottom line: the Democrats have more or less aggressively worked to make their voting base as disinterested as possible in the Democratic primary, and did they succeed at it! I can only imagine what kind of burning Perdition this must have been for Democratic political junkies; then again, speaking as one of the Republicans who has watched a Democratic debate this cycle I can understand the urge to skip the rest of them.  Because they really were awful exercises in sadness and poor life choices.  People are only watching the Democratic debates because they think that it’s beneficial to the Republic on general principles to maintain a certain amount of civic awareness. They’re not watching those things in hopes of getting any kind of intrinsic value out of them.

Meanwhile, the GOP debates have been… rather good, actually.  Even the CNBC debacle allowed for a certain amount of entertainment as fed-up Republican candidates decided to go do the rhetorical equivalent of clubbing baby harp seals.  Because, let’s face it: you can’t go wrong in a Republican primary by smacking around the media.  Everybody in the GOP smacks around the media. The parts of the media associated with the GOP smacks around the media.  Even if it wasn’t usually justified, it’s still a way of showing our neo-tribal affiliation…

Moe Lane

PS: You may be wondering how the Democratic party plans to somehow jump-start base voter enthusiasm in the second part of 2016 after it spent the first part of 2016 stomping on said enthusiasm with hobnail boots.  That is… a very interesting question! I don’t know the answer!  Don’t much care, either!