Many young women had a tough TV decision to make last night: "Should I watch the Democratic debate or The Bachelorette finale?" Tuesday night's TV lineup pitted one of the top reality shows of our time against the less-glamorous reality of figuring out which politician is best suited to end our seemingly interminable national nightmare. But while one elimination show is pure, frothy fun, the other is decidedly more high-stakes. So what was a culturally savvy voter to do?
“It’s ruining my life that the second dem debates and the bachelorette finale fall in the same week & frankly there should be a law against this,” Amy Brown, the social media director for billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, who did not qualify for this debate round, tweeted Tuesday.
Despite the huge phenomenon that is ABC's The Bachelorette, more people watched the CNN-hosted second Democratic debate: an estimated 8.7 million viewers tuned in to hear candidates unpack policy proposals (and Marianne Williamson promising to cast out our "dark psychic force") compared to the reality show's close to 7.5 million. (And the former figure doesn't even take into account all the TV-less millennials who livestreamed the debate.)
The second midsummer debate won even though it actually pulled in fewer viewers than the first debate on June 26 and 27 — down from 15.3 million and 18.1 million. And despite the fact that it was the last night of The Bachelorette's two-night season 15 (!!!) finale — and the season's most-watched episode. (Although The Bachelorette did dominate among the 18-to-49 demographic.)
This suggests that, at this relatively early time in the primary season, viewers are as (or more) engaged in the 2020 election as they are in the election of Hannah Brown's man friend, which is a promising prospect for voter engagement.
And, of course, plenty of people solved their dilemma by either multitasking or dusting off the old DVR. "Going to DVR both but watch the first hour of @BacheloretteABC then switch to debate and then watch the last hour of Bach once the debate is over bc I’m not sticking around for political commentary!!" tweeted Alyssa Mastromonaco, a deputy chief of staff for former President Barack Obama.
At the end of the day, we can all agree that this type of politics-pop culture mashup is a uniquely American pastime, as is making jokes about it on Twitter.
"Tonight in America we watch as two powerful women in red annihilate the mediocre men around them," tweeted Grace Lee, likely referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's takedown of Maryland Rep. John Delaney's tepid position on healthcare.