I didn't see this one coming. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), along with The Huffington Post and Washington Post's (NYSE:WPO) Slate, will host the first online presidential debates later this year.

Sure, I saw the eventuality of a Web-based stage to hash out partisan rhetoric. I just didn't think that Yahoo! would play a major role. After watching Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube and News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) MySpace hog up the spotlight as online campaign hubs, I figured that they would be the sites to host the debates. It's a great catch for Yahoo!, especially when so much is at stake.

After all, this will be an important milestone in the dot-com revolution. The candidates will come, even the technophobes. The aura of legitimacy has been established (with Charlie Rose from PBS agreeing to preside over the two debates). Failing to show up will be the equivalent of political surrender.

It's pretty amazing, isn't it? The Internet has been commercialized for well over a decade, but it's all starting to come together as we head into next year's wide-open vote. The Web-based debates will be critical, especially since they will predate the first wave of state primaries.

So set aside your own political expectations for next year. Democrats? Republicans? The only sure winner this time around will be the Internet. WWW: the World Wide Winner.  

To read more about the Yahoo! party:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz lives in Florida, so he knows that every vote is important. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.