#WTF: The Rogan Debates

How can anyone describe the sheer depth that is Joe Rogan? Between being a stand-up comic, MMA commentator, podcast host and role model for college bros, one would think that this Internet everyman would be too busy to accept another gig. That has not stopped devoted fans from calling on Joe to perform a major civil service. A 2019 petition directed towards the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is calling for Joe Rogan to host the 2020 presidential debates. Organized by user Ashton Stowell, this petition outlines four qualities that could make Rogan a solid choice. Specifically, the petition points to Rogan’s history as a podcast host, his interviews with past presidential candidates, his commitment to interviewing supporters of both parties and voters being disenfranchised by corporate anchors and pundits. Even with these arguments and thousands of signatures, the idea initially sounded like a far-fetched dream. Now? Not so much.

The petition has gained increased attention after a tweet from President Trump. During an interview with retired MMA fighter Tim Kennedy, Rogan expressed his ideal plan for his debate. Rogan claimed that he would want the debate to have no audience, no editing and that he “would want them in there for hours.” Kennedy later tweeted about Rogan’s vision and asked, “who wants this?” Trump then retweeted this call responding, “I do!”

Now that Trump has brought attention to the idea of a Rogan-hosted debate, public response has been mixed. CNN political commentator Alice Stewart views the potential debate as a positive, claiming that the informal debate could vastly expand the electorate. A recent Forbes estimate lists Rogan’s potential listeners at around 200 million. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some individuals consider Rogan to be unfit as a host. Sunny Hostin, co-host of ABC talk show The View, spoke out against Rogan’s involvement due to some of his past comments. Hostin claimed that Rogan has “notably made misogynistic, racist, homophobic comments,” which should disqualify him entirely.

As of now, the CPD has not responded to the proposed debate. The original petition is still gaining traction with a new goal of 300,000 signatures. Stowell has updated the news section of his petition, claiming that “support from Biden’s team is unlikely” while calling signees to “pressure them in that direction.” The Biden and Harris Presidential Campaign has yet to respond about whether or not they would agree to the proposed Rogan debate.