Joe Rogan has endorsed Bernie Sanders, causing outrage among liberals who think Sanders shouldn't accept the podcast host's support.
Joe Rogan has done it again. Not content with smoking pot in the company of Elon Musk or predicting Khabib Nurmagomedov defeats, he’s now riled up the internet by announcing his support for Bernie Sanders as President.
Rogan declared on his podcast that he “believes” in Sanders. He also claimed that the Vermont senator has “been insanely consistent his entire life.”
Predictably enough, this self-outing has incited indignation on both sides of the political spectrum. Left-wingers and centrists have criticized Sanders for accepting Rogan’s endorsement, while right-wingers have mostly criticized left-wingers and centrists for getting angry about it.
Asked who he’s likely to vote for in the Democratic primaries, Rogan revealed that he’ll “probably” opt for Sanders. He explained this in terms of Sanders’ personal character, rather than any particular policies.
Regardless of his reasons, Rogan’s endorsement didn’t fly too well with the Twitter commentariat. Neither did the fact that Sanders seemed so happy to accept it. Because heaven forfend that a politician associate himself with anyone who hasn’t scrupulously upheld politically correct standards of speech across their entire life.
Other denunciations of Sanders followed this same contestable logic. Rogan has said some questionable things in the past. He has interviewed some questionable characters. Therefore, it apparently doesn’t matter if his endorsement is a route to millions of voters.
Many left-leaning Twitter users pointed out that Joe Rogan has platformed “alt-righters” and “fascist groups.” They claim that such platforming is partly responsible for a shift to the right in American politics. However, what they fail to understand is that, by endorsing Sanders, Rogan now might help American politics shift leftwards.
But it’s not only left-wingers and liberals that have busied themselves in the reaction to Rogan’s endorsement. Conservatives and right-wingers also took to Twitter too, mostly to criticize their opponents. For instance, Paul Joseph Watson used the furore to argue that PC culture has gone too far.
Other right-wingers, however, were simply unhappy that Rogan likes Sanders. Canadian “Philosopher” and “far-right internet personality” Stefan Molyneux is one of these aggrieved rightists. He complained that Rogan’s endorsement explains why the host “ambushed” him during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience. He also randomly described Sanders as “pro-communist” and then seemed to indirectly blame the senator for millions of deaths.
To be fair, people sitting more towards the center or the left of the political spectrum also criticized the negative reaction to Sanders’ apparent acceptance of Rogan’s endorsement. Here’s Lee Fang, a journalist for The Intercept:
Meanwhile, other Twitter netizens claimed that the negative reaction is simply a case of sour grapes.
Lastly, a small portion of Twitter users highlighted an important argument. They noted that Joe Rogan is so influential that any serious presidential candidate would hamper their chances by not gaining his endorsement. Rogan’s YouTube channel currently has 7.29 million subscribers, while some estimates claim that he receives as many as 1.5 billion listens per year.
So by accepting his endorsement, Sanders really is doing his campaign a massive favor. Particularly when the argument is that the Democrats need to win back the “Rust Belt” and “blue-collar” voters who plumped for Trump in 2016.
So assuming that Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, his endorsement by Rogan would give him a significant boost in his campaign against Trump. But that’s if he wins the nomination, which still isn’t certain given that the Dem-supporting media seems to be going for Elizabeth Warren.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: January 24, 2020 11:40 AM UTC