While “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” has been hitting the media hard for its election coverage, “The Colbert Report” has been taking a more absurdist approach to political satire. This year, Stephen Colbert exploited his own Super PAC, “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow,” and mocked Mitt Romney’s misspelling of America by singing “Amercia the Beautiful.” The more far-fetched the news, the more Colbert’s power grows.

The show started as a grand spoof of “The O’Reilly Factor,” but has morphed over nine seasons to be so much more: a comedy show that celebrates our hopes and fears for this country, channeled through its chameleon-like host.

Colbert’s show has seen unprecedented growth this year, rising 10% over 2011’s numbers. It now garners roughly 1 million daily viewers in the 18-49 demographic, placing No. 3 in those ratings (with “The Daily Show” at No. 1). The show won a second Peabody award as well.

Colbert himself entered the presidential race for the South Carolina primary, and this year released the book “America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t.” The election may have shone a brighter spotlight on Colbert, but he’s always been ready for it.