Joe Rogans Endorsement: The Stain On Bernie Sanders That Some Voters Think Makes Him More Attractive – Forbes

Posted: February 1, 2020 at 8:43 am


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PASADENA, CA - APRIL 17: Comedian Joe Rogan performs during his appearance at The Ice House Comedy ... [+] Club on April 17, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)

The news that comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan endorsed Bernie Sanders for president matters just as much as The New York Times endorsing both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar; Which is to say, not at all. But all the buzz surrounding Rogans nod to the Independent U.S. senator from Vermont has taken on a life of its own, far surpassing the Wha...? moment that followed The Times hotly debated double trouble pick.

This week, the Sanders campaign embraced the endorsement, which Rogan announced during a podcast withTimesopinion writer Bari Weiss, the self-described left-leaning centrist whos described by observers of her writing as a pro-choice conservative.

Sanders acceptance of Rogans support,in the form of this video, didnt just generate a backlash. The reaction seen on Twitter was more like front-, side-, top-, bottom- and every other which way-lash. To call it a backlash would be akin to describing the movie Joker as an intimate drama about a desperate mother and her troubled son.

As Dani Di Placido explained in his own Forbes.com story, in the rush to condemn the podcast as problematic, many commentators are missing the point.

Rogan, the colorful, bombastic, actor-turned mixed martial arts commentator has become an influencer in American politics and well-known for his candid conversations with controversial figures. Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro, Edward Snowden, Jordan Peterson and Roseanne Barr have sat in the same studio as Dr. Cornel West, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Macaulay Culkin and Robert Downey, Jr. Elon Musk famously smoked pot there, sending Tesla stocks plummeting 9%.

But Rogan also made racist remarksthere, about a primarily African-American neighborhood where he saw the film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes: We walked into Africa, he said on his podcast in 2013. His podcast is one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes, and he has nearly 6 million followers on Twitter.

Ten million users follow the Sanders campaign; another nine million follow his official Senate account. The endorsement video tweeted by his campaign was seen more than 5.5 million times, and retweeted 145K times.

That endorsement tweet was swiftly followed by outrage, hand-wringing and a statement by Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the Sanders campaign. She did not name Rogan but made the point that the campaign is not going to reject support from people just because they dont always share the same beliefs as Sanders, the Washington Post reported.

Sharing a big tent requires including those who do not share every one of our beliefs, while always making clear that we will never compromise our values, wrote Gray. The truth is that by standing together in solidarity, we share the values of love and respect that will move us in the direction of a more humane, more equal world.

Among the angry responses to Grays statement was this tweet from the press secretary for rapid response at Human Rights Campaign, Charlotte Clymer, in which she declared: I am a human being and a trans person. I am not another belief.

Her boss, Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David, followed-up by publicly calling for Sanders to renounce Rogan and his endorsement. David noted that Rogan has attacked transgender people, gay men, women, people of color and countless marginalized groups at every opportunity.

Given Rogans comments, it is disappointing that the Sanders campaign has accepted and promoted the endorsement, David said in the statement, which contrasted Rogans record with Sanders, applauding him for having run a campaign unabashedly supportive of the rights of LGBTQ people.

The Sanders campaign must reconsider this endorsement and the decision to publicize the views of someone who has consistently attacked and dehumanized marginalized people, David said.

Two examples of this would be Rogans podcast with Peterson in which the two men mocked respect of a trans persons pronouns as madness; more famously, Rogan misgendered the first MMA fighter to come out as transgender, Fallon Fox, in 2013. You're a f***ing man, Rogan said. That's a man, OK? Fox publicly asked for an apology; she never got one.

Moveon.org not only called for Sanders to reject the endorsement, but to also apologize for accepting it in the first place.

But like a big electoral bug zapper, Rogans endorsement didnt merely scare-off some voters; It drew some closer.

Socialist journalist, editor of Jacobin magazine and Guardian columnist Bhaskar Sunkara called Rogan the best endorsement Bernie Sanders could hope for his fans are a group of people we cant afford to cede to Trump.

And since transgender people are not a monolith, it should come as no surprise there are trans voters who welcome Rogans endorsement. Here are tweets from three trans people who refused to join the Sanders-bashing bandwagon:

@Fox_Barrett tweeted, Hey. Fellow trans folk. I REALLY don't give a sh*t if Joe Rogan is endorsing Sanders. Neither Biden nor Warren nor f***ing Buttigieg are going to meaningfully push something like Medicare for All through. Free healthcare is a queer issue. Please don't get distracted.

The thread by Princeton professor and author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, shared by transgender athlete and journalist Karleigh Webb, actually walks the line. The scholar, who in 2017 called President Trump a racist, sexist megalomaniac and received death threats for making those remarks in a commencement address, doesnt have a problem with the endorsement. Taylor does call out the campaign for failing to take the next step, and urges Sanders supporters to adjust their focus forward, not try to rewrite what happened this week.

I think its fine to accept the endorsement even as I disagree [with] highlighting him in an ad... Solidarity cant be built on a faulty unity that assumes some of our acceptance of the repugnant ideas that continue to keep us divided. And receiving Rogans endorsement [without] publicly challenging his backward politics is effectively to accept those ideas... Stop denying Rogans bad politics, instead challenge them.

The bottom line, of course, is: Will all this hurt Sanders at the Iowa caucuses one week from Monday? Its highly doubtful, but rival Joe Biden certainly is doing what he can toward that outcome:

At last count, in 2016, Iowa had about 7,400 residents who identified as trans, or 0.31% of the states population. And for Joe Rogan, like Dave Chappelle, every trans Iowan is a punchline whose sole purpose is to make people laugh. This is, after all, America in 2020, where punching down is tolerated, so long as we defeat the bigger bully.

Medicare for all will take care of trans people, and only Bernie Sanders...

Just you wait...

Youll see...

Hell protect trans rights, as soon as hes elected...

Hey, as soon as this election is over, trans rights are next...

By the way, that reminds me, did you hear what Joe Rogan said about trannies?

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Joe Rogans Endorsement: The Stain On Bernie Sanders That Some Voters Think Makes Him More Attractive - Forbes

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February 1st, 2020 at 8:43 am

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