On Thursday, the FreedomToons YouTube account uploaded a new video imagining what an interview between noted podcast host Joe Rogan and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) might be like — and it’s utterly hilarious.
Two scenes in particular stand out. First, cartoon Rogan asks cartoon Sanders about wealth statistics:
SANDERS: This is a country riddled with injustices. At one time, we had slavery. Today, we have college that is not for free.
ROGAN: So, I heard this statistic…
SANDERS: What?! Who are you?!
ROGAN: And it says that in the United States, we create more millionaires and billionaires than any other country – in the United States.
SANDERS: Oh, isn’t it sooo great that the top one percent in this country has so many wealthy people! Oh, look at me! I just screwed the middle class so that I could buy a yacht that stretches three houses long! [Stammering] Um, three miles long, I meant to say. Three miles long. Joe…there’s nothing wrong with having three houses. Yachts…yachts are evil, Joe. Yachts are bad news. Joe, can we please forget that I said all of that?
ROGAN: For five bucks.
SANDERS: Fine! Fine! I’ll pay whatever you want. [Takes out wallet that belongs to someone else] Let’s see. Five dollars…where is it. That’s a twenty, twenty, fifty, hundred-dollar bill, hundred-dollar bill, hundred-dollar bill, hundred-dollar bill. Here! Don’t you go spend it all buying some democracy.
After cartoon Rogan asks cartoon Sanders about climate change, and Sanders goes on a rant about how all the agencies (including the CIA, the FBI, the ABC, the MSNBC, and the Avengers) agree that “climate change is colluding with the Russians to buy our democracy,” Sanders tells Rogan that the United States is the only developed nation where you’re punished for eating deodorant at the supermarket.
The second scene that stands out is about the minimum wage:
ROGAN: So, you always talk about raising the minimum wage.
SANDERS: It’s the humane thing to do, Joe.
ROGAN: But won’t that increase unemployment?
ROGAN: Buy didn’t your campaign have to cut back on the number of hours you could hire for people in order to pay them all $15 an hour?
ROGAN: Like, instead of giving them more money…
ROGAN: Didn’t you just cut their hours?
SANDERS: See…the thing is…you can’t always…afford to [the increasingly sweaty Sanders punches Rogan in the face, then runs off].
These scenes are funny, but they also have important real-world parallels. When cartoon Sanders accidentally talked about a “yacht that stretches three houses long,” then attempted to pay off cartoon Rogan, there’s an actual story there.
Sanders, who claims the mantle of democratic socialist, actually owns three houses.
In 2007, the senator bought a $488,999 townhome in Washington D.C., and in 2009, Sanders and his wife Jane bought a $405,000 home in Chittenden County, Vermont, according to Business Insider. In 2016, Sanders reportedly paid almost $600,000 for a third residence, a vacation home off of Lake Champlain in Vermont.
Sanders also has a net worth of approximately $2 million as of 2017, according to The Street. A large part of Sanders’ money has reportedly come from a book advance and royalties. When asked by The New York Times about his new money, Sanders stated, “I wrote a best-selling book. … If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
The second scene, in which cartoon Rogan grills cartoon Sanders about his fight for a $15 minimum wage, is also reflective of reality.
Sanders has long been a proponent of a “living wage.” Announcing a plan to introduce legislation that would raise the minimum wage in November 2018, the senator said, “We have got to raise the minimum wage in this country to a living wage — at least $15 an hour.”
However, raising minimum wages can have some negative side effects.
In July, The Washington Post obtained internal documents from the Sanders campaign revealing an ongoing wage-war.
According to the documents, union members were ready to send a letter to Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir that stated in part, “[Field workers] cannot be expected to build the largest grassroots organizing program in American history while making poverty wages. Given our campaign’s commitment to fighting for a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour, we believe it is only fair that the campaign would carry through this commitment to its own field team.”
According to the report, organizers claimed that despite making only a $36,000/year salary, they were allegedly working 60 hours a week, translating to approximately $12.50/hour in real pay.
After internal negotiations, on July 23, Sanders announced that an agreement had been reached whereby unionized individuals working for his campaign would earn no less than $15/hour. However, according to the Des Moines Register, “Sanders said the campaign will limit the number of hours staffers work to 42 or 43 each week to ensure they’re making the equivalent of $15 an hour.”
FreedonToons was created by Seamus Coughlin, who animates and voices every video (with animation assistance from Pat Oberle, and a rotating team of freelancers). You can follow FreedomToons on YouTube, and follow Coughlin on Twitter.