Though Bernie Sanders’s gruff charm and unwavering political message were not enough to win the much-maligned endorsement of the New York Times editorial board, the Vermont senator may have pulled in a more important — though more controversial — co-sign this week. When Times opinion staff editor Bari Weiss went on fight-guy-whisperer Joe Rogan’s podcast, the host revealed that his preferred candidate was Sanders, a guest on the show back in August.
The best news for the Sanders campaign this week comes with CNN’s new poll showing the senator leading the pack for the first time this primary, though the unofficial Rogan endorsement is a close second. If Bernie’s winning coalition includes his 2016 base, newly eligible zoomers, and disaffected working-class voters, a tentative Rogan endorsement could be a boon for his support in that last category — particularly men who aren’t politically engaged, but are open, like Rogan, to a compelling argument, whether it comes from Weiss, Sanders, or Tulsi Gabbard. (A more difficult guest to stomach: two-time podcast visitor Alex Jones.)
As The Atlantic’s Devin Gordon noted in a deft write-around from August: “There’s no real way to describe ‘Joe Rogan fans.’ They’re not aligned around any narrow set of curiosities or politics. They’re aligned around Joe.” If this read is correct, the podcast host’s vote could mean a great deal to his weekly audience of 4 million listeners, and could further bolster Sanders’s support among the newly political: The most recent CBS poll puts the Vermont senator in first place among first-time caucusgoers in Iowa.