America wanted to see the Republicans, not the Democrats
The day after the first night of the Republican convention, mainstream media outlets reported that both parties had fewer people watching their first nights than in 2016. However, to the media’s manifest delight, they announced that the Democrats had a bigger audience for their first night than the Republicans did. It appears, though, that the Democrats were looking for the audience in all the wrong places and that it was the Republicans that were doing better.
When I wrote about the media’s glee over the Democrat first-night ratings versus the Republican first-night ratings, I offered a hypothesis: The Democrats may have had higher ratings on traditional television outlets only because Republican audiences watching their convention turned to streaming outlets:
It’s likely that a lot of viewers had the same reaction that I did when I tried to watch the convention on traditional television — and I went for Fox, which was presumptively not hostile to the Republicans. From the first minute, Fox irritated me when it cut away from Charlie Kirk, the first speaker, to listen to talking heads talk about what they thought speakers would say. I didn’t want to watch their guesses; I wanted to watch the speakers. I therefore went to Spectrum’s C-SPAN channel.
With a purely televised convention, viewers are realizing they no longer need the media to explain what’s going on, as is often the case at the live conventions. Americans want to listen to fellow Americans, not to hostile Democrat party operatives yelling at the video like Grandpa Simpson yelling at the cloud.
It turns out that my guess was right on the money. When all the data are in – both from people watching traditional outlets and people watching alternative outlets – Matt Margolis reports that the entire Republican convention had a significantly larger audience than tuned in for the Democrat convention:
Across television and online streaming, the Republican National Convention got 147.9 million total viewers from Monday through Thursday, while Democratic National Convention got 122 million total viewers, according to figures released by both campaigns.
Now, I’m not a math genius, but I’m pretty sure 147.9 million is bigger than 122 million.
That does not surprise me at all. The Democrats, despite having Hollywood on their side, offered production values that had a dreary, amateur-hour, college seminar quality. They then added to that angry, hate-filled, and often bizarre content. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a lot of Americans aren’t going to be especially intrigued watching a “nonbinary / gender transcendent mermaid Queen-King” call for abolishing the police, ICE, and prisons.
Meanwhile, word quickly got out that the Republican convention was a beautifully produced spectacle of normal people from all over America, from all walks of life, and representing all races, celebrating America’s virtues and the opportunities she offers to everyone. Also, as I already noted, online streaming outlets, especially C-SPAN, allowed people to skip the mindless nattering of talking heads explaining the obvious and, instead, to focus on the genuinely interesting content that the Republicans were offering.
Indeed, the content was so good that C-SPAN got an overwhelming number of calls from people saying that, despite their being Democrats, they were planning to vote for Trump:
C-SPAN changed their open phone line labels after an overwhelming number of Democratic viewers called on Wednesday night proclaiming their support for President Donald Trump in the upcoming election.
So, yeah, I’m thrilled that I was correct that Americans, whether Republican or Democrat, wanted to see what the Republicans were offering. This was especially true after the Democrats browbeat Americans, claiming that they are truly awful people who can save their souls only by turning their country over to socialists and mermaid Queen-Kings.
Image: Family watching television in 1958, from the National Archives and Records Administration; public domain.