Why Andrew Yang Might Just Be What America Needs In 2020 - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

Why Andrew Yang Might Just Be What America Needs In 2020

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Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 2:18 pm

Over the past two months, the race for the democratic presidential nomination kicked off with two debates in Miami and Detroit, respectively. Currently frontrunners include ex-vice president Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders (VT Senator), Elizabeth Warren (MA Senator), and Kamala Harris (CA Senator) who are all consistently polling at least 10% with Biden leading the way. One candidate that has gained some traction yet remains relatively low in the polls is author and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Yang was born in upstate New York as the son of two immigrants from Taiwan. He graduated from Brown University with a BA in economics. After Brown, Yang graduated from Columbia Law School, only to spend “five unhappy months as a lawyer.” He found his true passion in business and became an entrepreneur.

Yang’s campaign is built off his biggest idea known as the Freedom Dividend, a form of universal basic income. The Freedom Dividend would give every American citizen 18-years or older $1000 per month that he claims will trickle-up into the economy. He states that it would build a human economy where people can “do the kind of work that they want to do.” Critics say that this discourages people to work, yet Yang responds with evidence that only two types of people actually work less, which are stay-at-home mothers and soon-to-be mothers. His beliefs on creating a human economy derive from personal experience, as his wife is a full-time caretaker for his autistic son. Yang likes to cite the support of a universal basic income policy from Martin Luther King Jr. and founding father Thomas Paine. The obvious response is to question how Yang will get the estimated $1-1.5 trillion required to pay for such a program. Yang says that by taxing trillion-dollar companies like Amazon and Google, the former of which paid an astounding $0 in corporate tax, he will have more than enough money to pay for the Freedom Dividend. The Freedom Dividend also acts as an investment, as students would be more willing to take on the costs of college with an extra $12,000 annually. Another possible benefit is that more Americans would be willing to take on costs for moving and be able to get out of jobs where they are unhappy. Yang came from an upper-class family; both his parents attended UC Berkeley; and was fortunate enough to have the ability to get out of his unfulfilling job as a lawyer, but he knows the majority of other Americans can’t. Seventy-eight percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 57% cannot afford an unexpected $500 expense.

In addition to the famed Freedom Dividend, Yang has come up with several other catchy names. He calls his followers the Yang Gang, and regional Yang Gangs have popped up all over the country in support of him. There is indeed a Yang Gang based in San Diego, which can be contacted at socal.yang.gang@gmail.com. He has two trademark campaign slogans, “Not Left, Not Right, Forward,” an illustration of his mostly moderate views. His other well-known slogan is MATH, which has a double meaning as it stands for Make America Think Harder. Yang took considerably less shots at Donald Trump than other candidates and actually discussed policy with his limited talking time in debates (During the first debate he talked for less than three minutes over a 2-hour period). However, Yang has been anti-Trump, saying his campaign is about “fixing the problems that got Donald Trump elected,” and he describes himself as “...the opposite of Donald Trump, an Asian man who likes math.” Yang does indeed love math and is a keen economist. He sees automation as the cause for unemployment, unlike Trump who sees immigrants as the cause. Economists project jobs such as truck drivers (the most common job in 29 states), retail workers, and fast food workers to be diminishing within the next 5-10 years due to corporations in Silicon Valley creating self-driving trucks and expanding online shopping. Yang often references how re-education has failed in the past for workers in such industries and that he would slow down the transition, giving time for future generations to seek different jobs and for the current generation to continue their work. He provides a solution to unemployed workers in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, which Trump won, states where jobs are being lost due to automation.

One of the things that makes Yang stand out from the other democratic candidates is his ability to win over people from both sides. He is one of the more moderate candidates that focuses on policy over party. As I mentioned, he has called out Trump as a scapegoat considerably less than other candidates who do nothing but bash Trump. He was interviewed by conservative journalist Ben Shapiro on the show The Daily Wire and calmly handled all the host’s questions in a very articulate manner. Shapiro said he has invited “many members of the left,” including other presidential candidates and Yang was the only one to accept the invitation. The interview was posted to Youtube The Daily Wire’s Youtube channel, which has a dominantly conservative following of 1.6 million subscribers. Yang’s interview with Shapiro has amassed over 1.9 million views. Youtube is one of the most divisive social media platforms, but the comments on the video were very supportive of Yang, some examples including “This doesn’t sound like us versus them. This sounds like brainstorming solutions (3k likes on the comment),” “I typically vote republican and I just donated $100 to Andrew Yang and I’m voting for him if he wins the nomination (1.2k likes),” “He presented his entire platform without one negative comment on Trump (4k likes,” and “First I cried seeing so much civil and rational discussion between a liberal and a conservative. Then I cried harder seeing the united comment section. (1.9k likes)” It has become clear that the democratic candidate will need to win over conservative and moderate voters for a chance at beating Trump. If Yang can further spread his message to more people, he should have no problem.

So what’s next for Andrew Yang? The next democratic debate is scheduled for Sept. 12 in Houston and in order to qualify, candidates must have at least 130,000 unique donors and hit 2% in four different polls approved by the DNC. Yang only needs one more poll in which he is at 2% to reach the stage. If he can, Yang will be joining Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Corey Booker (NJ Senator), Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, IN Mayor), Beto O’Rourke (Former Rep. TX), and Amy Klobuchar (MN Senator). Maybe he will receive more talking time at this debate if he makes it.

I am not trying to convince you to vote for Andrew Yang. I am simply attempting to educate the general public about the potential steps this country could take if Yang is successfully elected. Unlike the other candidates his ideas are little-known and with some needed exposure Yang has strong upside to break out of the large pack of democratic candidates. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them, free to email me at prestonhelfand@gmail.com.

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