What seems to have made lots of people mad, however, is that Sanders has embraced the endorsement. What’s worth noting is that it’s not clear that Sanders sharing the video is actually going to earn him any more voters. Sanders, of course, has a huge audience, but Sanders’ reach is almost certainly smaller than Rogan’s. Sanders’ clip has 3.2 million views on Twitter. Rogan’s audience fluctuates and it’s notoriously difficult to get reliable podcast statistics (especially if you don’t work for that podcast), but if Rogan’s 190 million downloads per month figure is accurate, we could conservatively estimate that each episode is getting far more than 3.2 million downloads.
This is why it’s impossible to “amplify” Joe Rogan: He has an audience bigger than nearly anyone in the country, and to ignore that he exists and that people like him is to remove yourself from reality. There’s little danger in Sanders tweeting this video and radicalizing people because Rogan’s audience is already huge. But sharing the video and tacitly accepting Rogan’s endorsement feels like an unforced error, or at least a risk Sanders didn’t need to take: He’s opened himself up to criticism from parts of his base who care about social justice, marginalized people, and stand against the people and ideas Rogan has allowed to be laundered on his show, without really standing to gain anything.