More than any other candidate in the presidential race, Bernie Sanders' base is actually intersectional.
As if the recent Warren-Sanders feud wasn't already threatening progressive politics enough, Leftist Twitter is now actively self-cannibalizing over controversial podcast host Joe Rogan's endorsement of Bernie Sanders.
Or, more specifically, a lot of people seem to be mad because Sanders actively accepted Rogan's endorsement, cutting together a campaign spot on Twitter featuring Rogan's support.
But to any leftist upset about Bernie Sanders jumping on Rogan's endorsement, especially those who want to see Bernie Sanders win the nomination, please keep in mind: You're missing the forest for the trees.
There's a reason that mainstream media companies like The New York Times support Elizabeth Warren (and Amy Klobuchar) over Bernie Sanders. It's because Sanders' staunchly pro-worker policies like Universal Healthcare and actual fair taxes for billionaires challenge the capitalist, majority-white hegemony (which the owners of every major media company benefit from) far more than any other candidate. It's the same reason that the majority of non-white voters and millennial (and younger) voters do support Sanders.
Bernie Sanders' movement has always been grassroots in nature, and for a grassroots movement to succeed on a large scale it needs all the individual support it can get––after all, the establishment actively wants Sanders to lose. So what does that mean, practically?
It means that if a problematic podcast host with tens of millions of monthly listeners (many of whom are apolitical, centrist, or right-leaning) publicly endorses Bernie Sanders, then we can both dislike said podcast host on a personal level and recognize that bringing such a base into Sanders' orbit is objectively a good thing for Sanders' electability.
In fact, one of the most common critiques of the Sanders campaign by neo-liberals revolves around how his ideas are far too unrealistic (read: leftist) to ever actually work with right-wing people. In this context, one of the establishment's democrats (i.e. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or even Elizabeth Warren) is always presented as the more compromising, viable alternative.
Rogan's support of Bernie Sanders completely debunks this argument. To be clear, Joe Rogan is a deeply problematic public figure. On top of his history of transphobic, racist, and sexist comments, Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is considered by many to be a gateway to far-right ideology due to Rogan's willingness to give a wide platform to fringe voices like Milo Yiannopoulos and Jordan Peterson. But then it stands to reason that if Rogan really does have the ears of a massive potentially right-leaning demographic, then his support of Sanders has the potential to draw in people who genuinely might otherwise vote for Trump––which is way more than anyone could say about a The New York Times endorsement.
Contrary to what seems to be a popular viewpoint on Twitter, you do not need to like or agree with all of your preferred candidate's supporters. Even if you actively dislike a large chunk of Bernie supporters (which is perfectly valid), we need to recognize that nothing will ever actually get better if we can't band together long enough to get a candidate with progressive policies into office.Most importantly, Sanders didn't need to move any of his policies to the right in any capacity to gain Rogan's support. Sanders has remained consistent in his ideology throughout his entire career––it just so happens that his ideas truly hold the most benefit for the widest spectrum of American people. More than any other candidate in the presidential race, Bernie Sanders' base is actually intersectional. You don't need to agree with every Bernie supporter, but it's time for leftists to stop in-fighting and band together for the greater good of everyone.
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The Trump-Twitter Industrial Complex continues to fester and mutate.
This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted a false statement about mail-in ballots.
He wrote that secretaries of state were sending mail-in ballots to every person, when actually states are only sending out ballot applications. For the first time, Twitter jumped in to fact-check Trump's statement, adding a link to a webpage full of information about mail-in ballots.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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