Bernie Sanders seems to be embracing a possible endorsement from radio host and comedian Joe Rogan, and many people on Twitter have concerns. Rogan has a history of racist and problematic moments that folks were happy to reflect upon when Sanders tweeted a video of Rogan.
According to Newsweek, Rogan said on his very popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” that he would “probably” vote for the Vermont senator in the Democratic 2020 presidential race.
“I think I’ll probably vote for Bernie,” Rogan, who’s interviewed Sanders before, said on his podcast. “Him as a human being when I was hanging out with him, I believe in him. I like him, I like him a lot.”
“Look, you could dig up dirt on every single human being that’s ever existed if you catch them in their worst moment and you magnify those moments and you cut out everything else and you only display those worst moments. That said, you can’t find very many with 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.”
Sanders seemed to appreciate the recognition because he tweeted out the clip of the podcast with Rogan’s statements.
The move automatically divided Twitter, considering Rogan’s racist, sexist, transphobic and overall problematic history.
One Twitter user posted a clip of the various times Rogan has said the N-word with no hesitation on his podcast.
There’s even footage of Rogan comparing a Black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes”. When talking about walking into a theater to see the movie, he said, “There was no white people. ‘Planet of the Apes’ didn’t take place in Africa.” Ultimately, Rogan said it was a “positive” experience and then he proceeded to imitate the way Black people were talking to him.
The fact that Sanders tweeted out Rogan’s support of him caused debate on which audience Sanders is trying to court. Rogan has a huge following with 7.28 million subscribers to his YouTube channel alone and his podcast is downloaded tens of millions of times every month. It begs the question if these are the same white male audience members who prioritize class over race and therefore support Sanders.
Many people on Twitter had thoughts with one user even going as far as to compare Rogan to Neo-Nazi and white supremacists David Duke and Richard Spencer. “Joe Rogan today, Richard Spencer tomorrow? David Duke,” said writer Marcus H. Johnson. “If we’re for throwing minorities under the bus to win over the white working class is that the next step? We’ve said for years the anti-identity politics, class over race argument would lead to this.”
Some people tried to defend Bernie’s welcoming of Rogan, however, with Vox founder Ezra Klein tweeting, “Bernie’s strength is that he can win over some voters who are skeptical of Democrats – like Joe Rogan. If you think getting Trump out of office is actually important, that’s a good thing, and he should lean into it.”
Klein even went as far as to compare Bernie to Obama, writing, “Obama actively courted a lot of racially resentful and conservative voters. right before the 08 election, he made a huge deal of Colin Powell’s endorsement, despite Powell helping push America into the Iraq war. whatever Obama was, he wasn’t a practitioner of purity politics.”
However, people were resentful of comparing Powell’s endorsement of Obama to Rogan’s possible endorsement of Sanders.
Former South Carolina representative, Bakari Sellers, tweeted, “When y’all are telling me Colin Powell is the same as Joe Rogan, you’re being intellectually dishonest at best.”
Many people felt Sanders shouldn’t take Rogan’s possible endorsement while some where divided on the topic. Check out some of the the most heated responses below.