Andrew Yang: The Democrat underdog that has the nation (and internet) going wild.
While many of us are familiar with the likes of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, there are nearly a dozen other candidates vouching for the Democratic nomination that only recently rose up from obscurity. Beto O’Rourke, Wayne Messam, and Seth Moulton are just a few of these virtually unknown stragglers fighting for any semblance of relevance outside of their home states. However, despite the challenges of effectively garnering support on a platform split between 24 different candidates, one man in particular has established a name for himself so quickly that he’s become a poster boy for economically-minded progressives and moderate conservatives alike. At the center of this political anomaly is Andrew Yang, a Taiwanese-American attorney, entrepreneur, and philanthropist whose ultimate goal is simple: to save Americans from the upcoming wave of unemployment due to A.I. taking over the work force.
Despite how scary the notion of robots taking our jobs may be, Yang’s proposal to combat the results of the Fourth Industrial Revolution capitalizes on an age-old economic theory supported by the likes of brilliant minds such as Thomas Paine, Milton Friedman, Stephen Hawking, and even Elon Musk: Universal Basic Income. First proposed in Sir Thomas More’s 1516 publication, Utopia, UBI ensures that those whose careers become marginalized by the technological revolution will not be forced into the growing 43.1 million Americans living at or below the poverty line. Andrew Yang’s policy proposal, The Freedom Dividend, promises that every American between the ages of 18 and 64 will receive $1,000 a month, which will pan out to $12,000 a year. While many on the right-wing side of the aisle might fear such a seemingly radical proposal, the truth is that a similar policy is already in place in Alaska, which is famous for being a red vanguard state similar to Texas. In Alaska, residents receive a monthly check from the state in order to help cover the costs of living in such a harsh area. With payouts ranging from $1,884 to $2,069 in the past decade, many Alaskans are content with the law, which as been in place since 1982. When logic-loving conservatives do the math and look into the literature, it all makes sense.
This is where Andrew Yang stands out amongst his democratic peers: he does the math, the meet-ups, and the media relations in a manner that makes him appeal to conservatives as well as democrats. When Ben Shapiro — founder and editor-in-chief of the conservative news website, the Daily Wire — contacted all 24 Democratic candidates for an interview, Andrew Yang was the only one willing to make an appearance on the show. This spoke volumes of Yang’s character, as he was willing to spread his message to all who would listen, regardless of their political affiliation. Beyond that, the interview did not devolve into a passionate shouting match as commonly seen with many on Tucker Carlson’s show, but rather continued as a civilized discourse brimming with knowledge, logic, and class befitting of a president. In a world as politically polarized as our own, these actions are major strides towards compromise between two camps that have been stuck in bitter conflict for years.
As a result of this interview, which received over 1.5 million views on YouTube, Yang has established a name for himself with conservatives tired of personal attacks against themselves and the current administration. His massive congregation of online supporters known as the “Yang Gang” is perhaps the most moderate and diverse fanbase of any political candidate to date. Composed of Silicon Valley enthusiasts, young college intellectuals, former Trump supporters, blue collar workers, and pragmatic democrats, the Yang Gang has overrun social media with hysterical memes and viral posts that have spread the “Gospel of Yang” far and wide. Appearances alongside Joe Rogan, whose podcasts have amassed over 221 million views, have only further bolstered his internet recognition, resulting in Yang edging out career politicians like Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Tulsi Gabbard in the latest Emerson National Poll. Currently, he is the underdog leading the pack, only trailing behind long-standing politicians such as Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
It seems that for the time being, this entrepreneurial “longer than long shot” candidate can only continue to bolster his popularity, be it by memes or other public antics. Fortunately for him, the Yang Gang seems to be alive and well at work doing just that.