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Here’s What’s Actually Scary About Joe Rogan’s Bernie Endorsement

A disaffected, undecided, apathetic populace is worse than whatever the Rogan Army represents

Joe Rogan, a mediocre dude’s idea of a renaissance man, says he’s probably going to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. That statement is, in itself, so anodyne as to not merit discussion. Except Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, has an audience of millions, and those listeners are wildly invested in his every waking thought. Joe also has a history of saying libertarian-brained nonsense, laundering views more fringe and extreme than his own as he roves the tedious wastelands of 21st-century faux intellectualism. The show is styled as a place to debate the Big Ideas™ in a format the average DMT-smoking dude can vibe to, and that often means entertaining the propaganda of dangerous charlatans.

So, a de facto endorsement from Joe? A real mixed bag! Hard to fault Bernie for reaching out to Rogan’s followers, who are (I’ll be generous) often harmless but easily misguided bros just trying to think about stuff. Appearing on the show in the first place was plain old sensible politicking. To boost the endorsement is rather more questionable, if only because the people likely to be influenced by it will stream that episode anyway, and giving yourself a public high-five over praise from a divisive figure invites open hostility from his critics.

Of course, the #NeverBernie liberals don’t actually need an excuse to rage at the senator, but this does nicely. It could be, too, that we’re all pissed off at Rogan’s sheer influence — the realization that his opinion may have far greater impact than a verdict delivered by the New York Times, even in an alternate universe where the Editorial Board managed to pick one damn candidate, not two.

But in this strange, dystopian timeline, without a real historical precedent, some have compared Rogan to… Colin Powell? Okay. Very helpful.

I guess it would be unprofessional of me to cut this piece short with a sentence along the lines of “AHHHHH SHUT UP WHO CARES NONE OF THIS MATTERS,” much as I feel that on a cellular level. Instead, allow me to politely wonder how bitching about a meathead podcaster’s nod of approval gets your preferred Democrat where he or she needs to go. Worse than whatever the Rogan Army represents is a populace that doesn’t have the political literacy or interest to discern among presidential hopefuls and needs a voice of authority to tell them how to vote. As of this month, 58 percent of probable caucus-goers in Iowa had yet to make up their minds. It’s a problem that never comes up in the sniping between rose- or donut-emoji Twitter accounts.

But sure, knock yourself out over this. It won’t change that it happened, or why, or what the net result is going to be. Denouncing the association of two men you hate individually is cool, nice and epic. Personally, I’d rather have Rogan’s fans excitedly researching Bernie’s platform than reading Jordan Peterson.

Does that make me a piece of shit? Sound off in the comments.