American mathematician and podcaster Eric Weinstein recently took to Twitter to reveal that he went for dinner with comedian Joe Rogan and public intellectual Sam Harris — both also podcasters. Weinstein said the trio discussed the possibility of hosting an improved, long-form format for the presidential debates.
"This was just being discussed at a recent dinner by @SamHarrisOrg and @joerogan," Weinstein said in response to a fan suggesting the idea. "The idea of long form debates with penalties for mindless gotchas done well off of the mainstream institutional media is totally viable. I couldn't see the impediment anyway."
The news comes not long after Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, making him the third 2020 candidate to do so after Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.
Weinstein has brought up the idea before. After Yang received just two minutes and 58 seconds of speaking time during the first round of presidential debates, the mathematician suggested that Yang consider leading a longer internet-based format. Yang even took to Twitter to suggest that he plans to start a podcast— possibly called Let Yang Speak — focusing on the debates, although it's unclear if or when it will materialize.
According to NBC, a petition is currently running to get Rogan to host his own presidential debate. The petition is available on Change.org and currently has over 118,000 signatures of its 150,000 goal. The petition cites Rogan as a "widely respected host" with experience interviewing both progressive and conservative thinkers, including former libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro and progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski."Joe Rogan has an audience containing viewers from all areas of the political spectrum," the petition reads. "Joe Rogan is not registered under any political party and is well-known for having civil, productive, and interesting, conversations about political issues without partisan bias."
In the comments section of the petition, many praised Rogan's unbiased approach to interviews and his ability to ask follow-up questions.
"He genuinely would be a great moderator. I feel like he would ask questions that actually matter and would be highly productive to the debate."But the Democratic National Committee (DMC) probably wouldn't let it happen — or Rogan, Weinstein and Harris would have to come up with another name or format that allows them to skirt around the debate categorization. Per Truthout, the DNC previously passed on holding a climate change debate and said it would punish candidates that attend a debate hosted by an outside organization, suggesting the same might be true for alternative presidential debates.