Is your most important policy issue a candidate’s stance on UFOs? Do you wish debates had a moderator who identifies as a “free thinker?” Are you waiting to decide who to vote for until you hear Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s answers to the question, “Have you ever tried DMT?” Well, good news, we might be closer to that reality than anyone imagined.
On Monday, the controversial and wildly popular podcast host Joe Rogan called for Trump and Biden to participate in a 4-hour-long debate on his show. No moderators, no mainstream media and no NFL Draft-esque stage. Just three guys, two who happen to be presidential candidates, hanging out and chatting with…Joe Rogan.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal. Rogan is far from the man for the job when it comes to restoring our broken political system, but he’s not exactly the worst option.
The traditional way presidential debates are done is utterly useless. Candidates with lofty or complex policy ambitions (Andrew Yang) are overshadowed by those who have made careers of buzzwords and concrete talking points (Pete Buttigieg). When Marco Rubio had his will crushed by Chris Christie exposing him live on national TV with the line “there it is” every time Rubio reverted to his script, it was actually a revelation – aside from being one of the few highlights of the 2016 election.
Candidates who appear on debates hosted by CNN, FOX or even the New York Times don’t actually have to prove anything, they just have to be the loudest and most aggressive person on stage. The Joe Rogan show could actually provide more substance than traditional media ever could hope to. If Trump and Biden are locked in a room together for four hours, they can’t revert to lying or shouting their way out of a tough question.
Rogan himself, who got his start as a UFC commentator and comedian, is more accustomed to handling guests like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannapoulos. He also has a checkered past on issues like trans rights, race and general political competence. However, this shouldn’t totally disqualify him. He’s recently shown his willingness to press for substantial answers when Ben Shapiro appeared on his show and attempted to dispel systematic racism as a myth. Still, he might allow dangerous ideas and lies to foster, but so do traditional debates.
He’s also willing to press for answers other moderators would not be comfortable bringing up. You’re not likely to hear the possibility of total drug decriminalization or the looming threat of artificial intelligence and automation come up on the CNN-hosted debate, but these topics and more would be right at home on The Joe Rogan Show.
Yes, there are far better options than Joe Rogan, but he’s the only one offering up this possibility. Presidential elections are in need of a serious shake up and a Joe Rogan Show debate might be a starting point.
Noah Wright is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Noah? Tweet him @NoahCampaign.
Correction appended: A previous version of this article included the incorrect spelling of Chris Christie’s last name. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.