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Free healthcare, free college, and free access to classified government information about aliens?
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made internet headlines as the presidential candidate went on Joe Rogan’s podcast this week. One of the most interesting and unexpected tidbits to emerge from Sanders’ appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience involved the Vermont senator’s stance towards extraterrestrials.
“My wife would demand I let you know,” Sanders said when asked if he would disclose any discoveries regarding life on other planets. He then promised to return to Rogan’s podcast with any big alien revelations he might have.
Strangely, this was not the most controversial aspect of Sanders’ appearance. Liberals and leftists debated whether Sanders should have gone on the podcast in the first place. Rogan has hosted controversial right-aligned figures like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro in the past.
Just as with Sanders’ Fox News town hall in April, some felt that the Rogan appearance worked to legitimize the podcast’s more fringe and right-leaning guests.
Bernie Sanders did a podcast today with friend of Alex Jones, far-right influencer Joe Rogan. pic.twitter.com/jTCBMMkaso— zachary (@zatchry) August 7, 2019
Others say that by going on the show, Sanders was introducing an audience to his ideas that would never have heard them otherwise.
Such a smart move by Bernie Sanders' team to have him go on Joe Rogan.— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) August 7, 2019
Traditional political types might scoff at it, but Rogan's reach - to independents, conservatives and liberals - is enormous. He's a humanizing, fascinating interviewer, even if I don't always agree with him.
Regardless of how the appearance is perceived, there is no denying that the meeting of the (maybe slightly altered) minds drew a huge audience.
In the 24 hours since the episode of Bernie on Joe Rogan has been released:— Joe Calvello (@the_vello) August 8, 2019
📈It has 3 million views on youtube
📈It is the most downloaded podcast on iTunes
This campaign has always been about reaching and activating the masses. https://t.co/5QMN3LBrlQ
A Reddit thread on the r/SandersForPresident subreddit was filled with listeners claiming to be swayed by Bernie’s appearance.
User “drawcody” wrote:
“After listening to Bernie talk frankly about his positions on the Joe Rogan podcast, I’ve decided to vote for him come 2020. I think he has a good heart and I would be proud to call that man my president. I don’t agree with him on every issue, but I believe he will take this country in a direction that’s desperately needed.”
Disclosure: Brenden Gallagher is a Bernie Sanders supporter.
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Brenden Gallagher is a politics reporter and cultural commentator. His work has been published by Motherboard, Complex, and VH1. He’s the co-founder of Beer Money Films, an indie production company. Based in Los Angeles, he works in television drama as a writers assistant.