Welcome to the Stephen Colbert primary

Iowa. New Hampshire. Donor enclaves on the coasts. And... the Ed Sullivan Theater?Yes, the home of St...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 9:00 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 9:00 AM

Iowa. New Hampshire. Donor enclaves on the coasts. And... the Ed Sullivan Theater?

Yes, the home of Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" is proving to be a key stop for Democrats who are positioning themselves for 2020 presidential bids.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down with Colbert one month ago. So did former HUD secretary Julián Castro. Sen. Kamala Harris was there last week. And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is expected to share some news about her presidential aspirations in an interview on Tuesday's show.

It will be Gillibrand's second appearance in just over two months. When she was on the "Late Show" two days after the midterms, she said she was giving "long hard thought" to a 2020 run.

Colbert's studio is a logical place for Democrats to tease presidential campaign plans. He has a liberal fan base dating back to his days on Comedy Central, and that audience crystallized after Colbert took aim at then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

The anti-Trump bent of Colbert's "Late Show" helped the late-night host win more and more viewers. For the past two years, he has been the highest-rated host in late night. Lately he has also been challenging Jimmy Fallon in the key 18- to 49-year-old demographic, which is especially coveted by advertisers.

Colbert's interviews with politicians have not been a drag on the show's ratings. If anything, they've been a boon.

Aides for several of the most-talked-about contenders confirmed that they view Colbert as a crucial stop on the presidential roadshow.

They declined to speak about the booking process on the record, however.

"We strategize about Stephen a lot," a communications aide for a yet-to-be-declared candidate said, referring to Colbert on a first-name-basis.

Of course, the comedy route works better for some politicians than for others. A politician's comfort and charm in a late-night setting is considered when the show's bookers work with communications directors to schedule a guest.

But the list of Colbert guests since last summer tells the story. Eric Holder visited last July. Cory Booker in August. John Kerry, Beto O'Rourke and Hillary Clinton in September. Nancy Pelosi in October. Amy Klobuchar in November.

Harris made "The Late Show" one of the first stops on her book tour, which in and of itself is not surprising for an author.

What was surprising was the placement: Harris was the first guest, right after Colbert's monologue, a spot usually reserved for a comedian or Hollywood celebrity. Colbert and the producers let the interview run for two segments.

Vanity Fair's Chris Smith, who was backstage at the theater that day, wrote that Harris "smiled and exhaled" afterward.

"The senator seemed most proud of having gotten a laugh out of Colbert, a moment that happened after the TV cameras shut down," he wrote.

Colbert is said to be keenly aware of his power broker status with the Democratic electorate. He pays close attention to the Democratic field of candidates, sizing them up like so many others in the media business.

But Colbert also knows he is hosting a late-night talk show, not an MSNBC broadcast. He straddles both worlds -- joking with Rep. Adam Schiff one minute, asking about Russian espionage the next minute.

The path to the White House has involved late-night comedy pit stops for decades. Among political strategists, "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" are also seen as valuable bookings.

Julián Castro, who entered the 2020 race last weekend, sat down with Noah on Comedy Central last October.

Then he appeared on Colbert's show -- alongside his twin brother Rep. Joaquin Castro -- in mid-December. Julián was there to promote a book. He wouldn't say whether he was going to run for president, but Joaquin predicted that he would.

"I'll speak on his behalf: He's going to run for president," Joaquin said, sparking cheers from the crowd.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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