The Democratic National Committee announced last Friday that the upcoming Democratic Primary Debate would be held in a comment thread under a Humans of New York photo this coming Tuesday. High-ranking party members hope that the change of venue will increase ratings, as studies indicate that people are more likely to read comment threads than to watch presidential debates.
“This is great news,” says a meek-looking woman sitting on a bench in an outdoor plaza wearing a colorful scarf while scribbling in a sketchbook. “It’s so good when the system recognizes us young people.”
The decision follows a series of instances in which prominent Democrats, including President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, commented on popular “HONY” Facebook posts. In July, Clinton left a message for a young, tearful, LGBT youth, predicting that his life would be “amazing”. Then, in September, President Obama commented on a photo of an Iranian father and son, saying that their story “really resonated” with him.
Both comments instantly went viral, prompting Jonathan Martin of the New York Times to call Humans of New York comment threads “the ideal medium for registered Democrats.”
“You can bet I’ll tune in to this one,” says a rumpled gray-haired man in a train station, with a tan line on his left hand’s ring finger. “And if she were still here, she would, too. But I blew it. Bad. That’s the thing about life: Sometimes, you don’t get a vote.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Committee, explains the reasoning behind the controversial decision.
“We wanted to give candidates a chance to discuss important issues in a context voters would understand, so the irrational and hate-filled Humans of New York comment threads seemed like the obvious choice,” she says. “Plus, capitalizing on the sentimentality of the individual’s struggle is an American political tradition.”
Though the proposal has received backlash, with naysayers calling it “an insult to the democratic process” and “What is Humans of New York?”, the Committee decided to go through with the plan after learning that the popular website has nearly 15 times as many likes on Facebook as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“It’s hard to argue with those numbers,” Schultz explains.
“My three-year-old son, he loves Facebook. He’s always trying to look over my shoulder when I’m on it. I’m worried about what all this technology is doing to him,” says an anonymous construction worker looking pensive near a pedestrian walkway. “But I’ll probably let him watch this Facebook debate. I only get him twice a month. It’s hard to say no to him sometimes.”
Political analysts predict that the new debate format will dramatically alter debate tactics, but you’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see how many times Clinton uses the “edit” function before she realizes that everyone can see her changes.
Brandon Stanton, creator of HONY, has commented on the DNC’s choice, calling it “an honor and a privilege”. He also revealed that he would be voting for Bernie Sanders, “because, well, look at me”.
CNN has not yet announced which photo the candidates will be commenting on, but executives have assured the press that it will be “appropriately touching”.
The debate is set to begin at 9 PM, and voters will be able to watch in real time by continuously refreshing their browsers.