Bernie Sanders Prefers to Boost People Like Joe Rogan Than Listen to Black and Brown Critics (OPINION)

Jan 26, 2020
11:38 PM

If welcoming bigots instead of engaging a cautious and suspicious Black and Brown electorate is more appealing to progressives, then that’s a bad sign of how they’ll govern. Plain and simple.

For the last few days we’ve seen white progressives (and some poor Black and Brown people who know better) trying to bamboozle us into thinking Joe Rogan endorsing Bernie Sanders and Sanders making an ad about it is some brilliant move that will introduce and sway tens of thousands of “misunderstood” and impressionable young bigots to Bernie’s movement—therefore beating out Trump. I say the opposite is happening.

Presupposing that there aren’t any racist progressives already (many are), what makes Bernie’s stans believe that their people won’t look for Joe and be introduced to the bigots he constantly gives a platform to? What makes them think they won’t be recruited by these bigots instead? It’s happened before, when indie writer Caitlin Johnstone suggested the Left joined forces with the Alt-Right to take on the “Deep State,” but everyone conveniently forgets. She’s now edited her piece because of the embarrassing blowback. Conspiracy theorist and ex-hardcore Bernie supporter H.A. Goodman switched teams and pleaded with Bernie’s base to vote for Donald Trump. The Shirtless Pundit, once one of Bernie’s biggest fans, swallowed the Red Pill and has been retweeting Trump and conservatives ever since. The last election broke many people’s brains. Now it’s doing the same to many others. They can debate our humanity and go home. We have to live with the repercussions of their rhetoric, in fear of never arriving home, or being home and executed there.

I can see why so many cis straight white Bernie supporters are debating the merits of such an endorsement, while angrily dismissing their opposition as Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren’s Psyops and ignoring the Black and Brown voices who clearly have a better grasp of what’s happening and what’s to come for us if we stay silent. I’m hurt by the Black and Brown ones saying the same, but it isn’t my first rodeo so I put them all on that white supremacist glacier and push them out into the sea with their racist progressive white friends.


God forbid we endorse any other candidate and have valid grievances about Bernie Sanders and his campaign. I often see how they viciously attack the Black women who endorsed Senator Warren for commenting on any of Bernie’s missteps by pointing out something Warren did that they believe is equally or more offensive. Then they peruse their social media to unearth anything they can use against them, to defame them, to soil their name. They’ll look for any little thing to discredit you after calling you everything under the sun but a child of God. I’ve often been dismissed as some malcontent because I originally wanted to help out the campaign and was rebuffed. Newsflash: I’m down to help any campaign that wants to do right by us. I believe Black and Brown people should be in any space, on any platform, without condemning or condoning their moves as long as they are working to make our lives better—not just theirs.

These Bernie supporters have turned into the very people they despise, they constantly decry online. I’ve been gaslit for pushing back against the erroneous believe that welcoming incels and white supremacists into the fold will help us defeat Trump. Yes, making people out to be crazy or deranged nihilists is a tactic of the status quo. It’s easier to dismiss people’s legit criticisms when you attack their character. Why do you think Donald Trump calls your candidate Crazy Bernie? And, I’m sorry, no good person is Ok with a platform that gives bigots a space just because non-bigots are welcomed as well. And zero of us are Ok with mainstream media doing the same.

It’s also pedestrian to pull all sorts whataboutism so your fave can get away with the same type of fuckery you accuse the opposition of doing. Accusing folks of hypocrisy does not absolve you of your wrong. It’s also infantile to go on the attack for any little or big gripe we have—not all of us come in bad faith. A lot of us are fighting for our lives.

Are you really better than the neoliberals, corporate Democrats you rail against if you’re willing to join forces with the people who religiously follow a white man who casually and gleefully says the n-word? Joe Rogan has a history of boosting the voices of bigots—not just his own. Giving a big platform to bigots in order to expose and embarrass them has never worked. (And it’s not like he brings them on to discredit them, anyway.) It’s something that mainstream media loves to do. The New York Times profiled many a white supremacist and has turned their Opinion section into white mediocrity galore. Mother Jones called Richard Spencer a dapper white nationalist, for crying out loud.


Giving credence to bigots just because they might vote for your candidate opens up the doors for them to harass us, to doxx us, to put our lives in danger for merely fighting for our lives with our words—the only thing many of us have to combat bigotry. Scholar Wendi Muse has warned us about entryism and how it opens the floodgates for them to do just that.


You’re putting our lives at risk—a hell of a lot more than what they already are. Even scholar and Sanders’ supporter Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor sees the danger of validating Joe Rogan’s platform by acknowledging his endorsement.

Joe Rogan can endorse whoever he wants—Bernie and comp can’t stop him, obviously. Creating an ad and posting online is the problem.

Worse, the excuses, the justifications, the dismissals, the gaslighting, the twisting, the indifference, the erasure so-called progressives have shown us just because we dared balk at that ill-move tell us exactly how they’ll govern for us: they will be no better for us than the people they believe they are fighting against.

I am done with racist progressives. Having a diverse coalition means nothing—especially since marginalized people are as adept at upholding white supremacy, of bigotry, as those who benefit from it.

Don’t bother looking for any connection to other campaigns—there are no strings on me. The same ones that didn’t exist when I was endorsing Bernie.

You say “not me, us,” when you don’t really mean it. Count me out. You already did when you boosted Joe Rogan and many other problematic folks.

What will do you now, Senator Sanders?


César Vargas is an award-winning writer, advocate, strategist, speaker, and social critic with a loyal following and a robust social capital that spans from coast to coast: Journalists, celebrities, activists, artists, executives, politicians, and more. He was named one of 40 Under 40: Latinos in American Politics by the Huffington Post. He’s written about internal and external community affairs to several news outlets and quoted in others: The Huffington Post, NBC, Fox News, Voxxi, Okayafrica, Okayplayer, Sky News, Salon, The Guardian, Latino Magazine, Vibe, The Hill, BET, and his own online magazine —which has a fan base of over 25,000 people and has reached over a million— UPLIFTT. He’s familiar with having a voice that informs, invigorates, and inspires people—creating content that usually goes viral. He recently won two awards from Fusion and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts for his films Some Kind of Spanish and Black Latina Unapologetically. He attained a degree in Films Studies from Queens College, CUNY. He’s currently heading Azul, a PR & marketing firm for the modern world.