Columbia, South Carolina, USA – January 20, 2020: Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (D) speaks to attendees of the the 20th annual “King Day At The Dome” rally held at the S.C. Statehouse. (Shutterstock)
By Lauren Martinchek
As many on the left predicted they would, attacks against Bernie Sanders have certainly ramped up in recent weeks. To those of us who have followed his campaign, it comes as no surprise considering his surge in polling has been steadily increasing throughout the country with no end to that trend in sight. Whether the attacks come from Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or the media, it seems as though nothing has been able to stick. Instead, it seemed to have had the opposite effect. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped people from trying to find something to be angry about in order to discredit him. Today, it has to do with Joe Rogan.
Not long ago, video spread across social media of Joe Rogan stating on that he was probably going to vote for Bernie Sanders in the California Primary. The conversation took place on Joe’s podcast, which has become famous throughout the country as one of the largest platforms for someone to come on and have a long form conversation. On the podcast in question, Joe tells his guest:
“I think I’ll probably vote for Bernie… He’s been insanely consistent his entire life. He’s basically been saying the same thing, been for the same thing his whole life. And that in and of itself is a very powerful structure to operate from.”
Bernie’s team took the clip, and tweeted out their own edited video as an indication that they were accepting the endorsement.
With Joe Rogan being such a controversial figure, naturally Bernie’s acceptance of this endorsement sparked immediate backlash. Neera Tanden has even gone so far as to accuse the campaign of “championing bigots”.
To be clear I don’t like Joe Rogan at all, and there are valid concerns about him that need to be addressed. If there are concerns coming from the trans and other marginalized communities about this endorsement, that is a conversation we will need to have if necessary.
Having said that, we also shouldn’t forget that Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden all tried to get on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He turned them down. Are we really going to pretend that if any of them had gone on his show, spent time with him, and won his endorsement that they wouldn’t have accepted it? Are we really going to pretend that they weren’t going on that show to win the support of his audience (the disenfranchised, apolitical white working class man) that Bernie is now being criticized for adding to his coalition? Are we really going to pretend that those candidates would be getting the kind of backlash that Bernie is getting?
All that being said, there is no denying that Joe Rogan’s endorsement could carry some weight. As controversial as he is, it’s irrefutable that his platform is massive, and could definitely broaden Bernie’s wide array of support even further (the very reason why other democratic candidates wanted to get on his show in the first place). As much as I vehemently dislike him, the fact that he has chosen to use his platform in a way that could prompt more than one disaffected working class Trump voter or apolitical centrist to even consider voting for Bernie is something I find sort of fascinating more than anything else.
But perhaps the most important aspect of all of this is that Bernie did not compromise his principles for Joe Rogan’s endorsement. In fact, I don’t think he sought it out at all. He did not change his message, his campaign style, or shy away from his vision for the future of this nation in any way in order to get it. If he had, I would not be defending him in the slightest. But Rogan said himself that Bernie remaining so steadfast and principled throughout his entire career is what has attracted him to his campaign in the first place. Rogan endorsed Bernie, not the other way around, and getting people of all backgrounds to support a leftist agenda is the entire point of Bernie’s campaign.
While I am perfectly happy to discuss concerns about the acceptance of this endorsement with any average voter, to see people like Neera Tanden pretending to be outraged and lecture the Sanders campaign about the morality of people they associate with could not possibly be more infuriating. Accusing Sanders of “championing bigots” is laughable coming from someone who was going to work for the Hillary Clinton administration, and remains an avid Clinton supporter. Clinton literally sought out the endorsement of Henry Kissinger even after meeting with the victims of his brutal foreign policy. Neera Tanden and the people she associates with ardently prop up democrats who would overturn Roe v. Wade (Dan Lapinski) purely because they’re “democrats”. They prop up people who voted for the Patriot act, NAFTA, lionized war, and justified torture, but Joe Rogan is where they draw the line at morality?
Please, spare me.
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