CULTURE

You Don't Have to Like Him: Joe Rogan's Endorsement of Bernie Sanders Is Still a Good Thing

More than any other candidate in the presidential race, Bernie Sanders' base is actually intersectional.

The Joe Rogan Experience

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.

Joe Rogan

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.

Satire

To Donald Trump: 5 Ways You're Actually a Flawless Being Doing a Beautiful, Unbelievable Job Right Now

You could resign if you want to, but then who will keep America so GD great?

With Donald Trump making a visit to Bangor, Maine today, the editorial board of the Portland Press Herald issued an op-ed calling for President Trump to resign.

The harshly critical piece entitled "To President Trump: You Should Resign Now" was framed as an open letter to the president and got straight to the point with this opening plea, "We're sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign."

In recent days even George W. Bush has been critical of President Trump's response to protests, so this new piece quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Obviously this is another baseless attack from the lying news media—AKA lügenpresse. Considering how delicate our president's ego is—he's our special little guy—we can only hope that Donald Trump didn't see the letter; but just in case he did, it's worth writing another one to lift his spirits. So here's our best attempt—with lots of pictures and flattery to keep him reading:

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CULTURE

Ariana, Bernie, Trump, A$AP Rocky, and the Kardashians: How Politics Became Pop Culture

Pop culture can be useful when connected to politics if it inspires tangible action—but the two can be like fire and gasoline when combined in the wrong way.

In a world where the Kardashians and A$AP Rocky have been name-dropped during literal impeachment hearings, it's hard not to wonder if we're living in a simulation.

Of course everything about Donald Trump's regime has had a simulacra-like quality about it, as full of glitches as any beta website. The former reality TV star has often been called the "social media president," after all, and his prolific Twitter usage grows more surreal by the hour.

We've entered an era where pop culture, social media, and politics blur into each other, tangling in every aspect of our lives. In fact, as the Kardashian, Jay Leno, and A$AP Rocky name-drops reveal, the ties between figures in pop culture and politicians have never been stronger and more influential, able to influence actual policy and political decisions.

Bernie Sanders and Ariana Grande Unite

At the same time Trump is discussing the Kardashians in one of the most high-profile hearings of all time, one of Trump's most formidable opponents is making his own ties to certain pop culture deities. Yesterday, Bernie Sanders was photographed beaming with Ariana Grande, and Grande took to Instagram to voice her support. "MY GUY. thank you Senator Sanders for coming to my show, making my whole night and for all that you stand for !" She wrote on Twitter. "@headcountorg and i are doing our best to make you proud. we've already registered 20k+ young voters at my shows alone. also i will never smile this hard again promise."

Sanders responded, "I want to thank @ArianaGrande for not only being a wonderful entertainer, but also for being such an outstanding advocate for social justice. We must all be prepared – like Ariana has shown – to fight for everyone who is struggling. It was great to meet her in Atlanta last night."

The senator has shown abnormal acumen in terms of using pop culture to his advantage, which can't entirely be said of his primary challengers. Previously, he's aligned himself with Cardi B, Susan Sarandon, and the Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. While Hillary Clinton garnered the support of thousands of A-list celebrities to no avail and put on a show of performative allyship that wound up looking like loyalty to Hollywood elites, Sanders' choice of allies feels more purposeful and genuine.

Bernie x Cardi B www.youtube.com

Then again, in the eeriest way, the same might be said of Donald Trump. His clear allegiance to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West—both figures who provoke immense ire and loathing among the masses and who, like the worst of car crashes, are incredibly difficult to look away from—aligns well with Trump's general distaste for authority and reason.

We have good reason to question celebrity alliances, as they do seem like excellent marketing for both sides. Celebrities can benefit from appearing more politically engaged through alliances to politicians, and, of course, the latter can reap the adoration of massive fanbases through a few deep connections. In some ways, celebrities and politicians seem united by the sheer amount of money and power they both amass and use to run their platforms.

But there's a long tradition of art blending with political ideology and vice versa. After all, what are politicians and performers, if not master storytellers, capable of rallying hundreds of thousands of people? When has anything been separate from politics?

Political Art vs. Pop Culture Politics

Art has always been political, used as a way of disseminating ideas and ideologies. Pop culture, in particular, is a broad mode of communication between the masses and collective values and ideas. "'Pop-culture' does not belong to just the elites and it is not officially or ideologically acknowledged as the dominant culture any level," writes Ayush Banerjee, "yet its discourse has enormous significance in the formation of public attitudes and values, as well as a profound impact on both domestic and international affairs."

Politics has also always been a theatrical game, and pop culture icons have long endorsed candidates. John F. Kennedy had Frank Sinatra sing "High Hopes" during the 1960s. Nixon famously met Elvis; and then there was Ronald Reagan, who, like Trump, made his way from Hollywood to the Oval Office.

President And King TIME.com

But in a time when silence is widely equated to taking the position of the antagonist, there's never been a time when it's been so imperative for artists to develop political alliances, and vice versa. Similarly, politicians must rely on social media and its language to channel their campaigns, as being out-of-touch with the online world can tank you as quickly as a meme can go viral.

Are celebrity relationships influential and beneficial? "If a celebrity endorsement just benefits a politician looking to boost their profile and prove their cool, then it's a lame effort to manipulate fans with short attention spans," writes John Avlon on CNN. "But if Poliwood draws sustained attention to a real public policy problem, it can serve as a gateway to civic engagement and spur political action."

Overall, the general consensus seems to be that pop culture can be useful when connected to politics if it's linked to tangible action—but the two can be like fire and gasoline when combined in the wrong way. "Politicians are not celebrities; they do not deserve fawning worship," writes Mark E. Anderson. "They are public servants, who can and should be scrutinized, and must be held accountable for their actions."

Arguably, with the rise of #MeToo and cancel culture, celebrities are being held to higher standards than ever before (which isn't saying too much, but still). Perhaps the intermixing of politics and pop culture doesn't mean that the simulation is breaking. Maybe the walls between the worlds are just falling down.

In some cases, this intermixing of pop culture and politics leads to the kind of apocalyptic cognitive dissonance that's plagued the entire Trump impeachment hearing circus. On the other hand, seeing Ariana Grande and Bernie Sanders beam together—both so full of hope for a better world—feels like the beginning of something, and God knows we all need something to get us through the next 18 months.