When Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton and was elected in 2016, I, like many others, felt confused and out of the loop. Yes, he lost the popular vote. But it shouldn’t have gotten that far. Why did anyone vote for this guy? What the hell is going on in the United States?
I’m a white guy that lives in Massachusetts. Not exactly the most diverse place in America in regards to politics or otherwise. But even I found people around me who voted for him. Reasonable people. Intelligent people. Not exactly the type of people I thought of as typical “Trump supporters” that dominate his base. There were swing voters who saw something in him.
They wanted change. They wanted something different. GDP was high. Unemployment was low. The stock market was doing well. Obama’s administration helped save the economy and gave it the platform to grow on. So why change direction?
I have been a supporter of Democrats since I was a teenager. I have voted Republican and third party a few times but I typically vote for and support Democrats. I was paying attention to politics and I understood the problems we still had to deal with but I didn’t realize how that could lead to so many people voting for a narcissistic greedy reality tv show billionaire celebrity for President.
I tried talking to the more adamant Trump supporters but most of the ones I encountered were not the type of people that I would want to associate myself with and the conversations were unproductive. I was constantly reminded that we live in different worlds and see things very differently. I understood some of the elements but a huge piece was missing and it took me too long to see what it was that fueled this madness.
Our economy had systemic problems that were not being addressed. Even Bernie Sanders, who was addressing a lot of problems, did not give great answers as to why the midwest was torn apart or why we felt stressed economically. Cable news talked about how great the economy was doing and they mostly credited Democrats for it but the numbers they used told a story that most of us didn’t see around us. It didn’t feel true because it wasn’t.
One side blamed corporations. One side blamed immigrants. Extreme people on both sides blamed capitalism or people of color. While there is plenty of blame to go around and some of them were closer to the truth than others, no high profile politician or presidential candidate consistently and adamantly pointed to the game changer that our founding fathers of the United States could not accurately predict: Technology. Nobody before Andrew Yang.
Andrew Yang is a 44 year old entrepreneur and philanthropist who spent the 7 years before his Presidential run operating a non-profit; Venture For America, that he started in order to address the growing inequality between the rich coastal cities and the smaller or more isolated smaller cities with struggling economies. His non-profit helped young educated entrepreneurs jumpstart businesses in cities that needed it like Cleveland, New Orleans and Detroit. He and his team at VFA created thousands of jobs.
As Andrew Yang explains in different versions of the same speech he provides at every rally and event he speaks at across the country, he had no ambition to run for President. He saw the election of Donald Trump and saw that as a red flag that something wasn’t right. Working in many of those same states that voted for Obama just 4 years earlier and flipped to Donald Trump, the evidence was all around him. The economic resurgence Obama promised, and the fake news and bad measurements told them had arrived, did not reach them. They didn’t see the progress.
Andrew Yang, who was honored by the Obama Whitehouse on two occasions for his non-profit work, went to Washington and did his best to explain the problem nobody was talking about on cable news or at the state of the union; technology has been changing everything we thought we knew about our economy and we have a limited amount of time to prepare ourselves for massive innovations that will displace a huge part of our workforce.
The response he got was far from satisfactory. Washington D.C. is out of touch. Money has corrupted the system. While many were aware of the issue, they seemed unaware of the scope of the problem and devoid of legitimate solutions. He was left with no choice but to do something crazy. Despite being a barely rich entrepreneur with no name recognition, he was going to run for President. No, not the president of a club or a union. The President of the United States of America.
The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary had over 25 candidates. Most of which were more famous and/or had a higher profile in Politics. As of early October 2019, he is ranked #6 in the polls and raised $10 million dollars in the third quarter of 2019, just $5 million dollars less than the polling front runner, former Vice President Joe Biden. This has happened as most of the country hasn’t been paying much attention to the race and the news cycle is dominated by Donald Trump’s antics.
Yang is running a campaign that promises to put Humanity First as he focuses on changing the goals of our government to improve elements of our lives that we truly care about. GDP is no indication of the well being of the country and is bad at measuring human value. Unemployment is a flawed measurement that purposely disregards most of the people without jobs. The stock market is owned mostly by the top 20% of the country. No wonder why most people don’t pay attention to politics and distrust our institutions if we have garbage metrics that don’t ring true to how we feel.
He wants to instead promote measurements that we care about, like Life expectancy, Clean Air, Happiness and Wellbeing, Access to Clean Water and Freedom from Substance Abuse. He is going to present these measurements as The American Scorecard and he wants to update us on the progress every year at the State of the Union and explain what they can and will do to improve those metrics going forward.
Andrew has over 100 detailed policies on this website and many of his supporters find dozens of unique and interesting ideas and solutions to our dysfunctional government. His policies and goals are similar in a lot of ways to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren but there are major differences on methods given their backgrounds. Bernie Sanders comes from the world of politics and activism. Elizabeth Warren spent her career in education before transitioning to politics. Andrew is from the world of business. All 3 bring valuable perspectives but Andrew is the only true outsider.
Andrew is educated in economics, political science and law and has a deep understanding of the problems from working with growing businesses across the country. He has seen the struggles people are having across the country. He voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primary and considers him an American hero.
From his perspective, he sees an extremely dysfunctional political system with two political parties who are contributing to a cultural divide. The Democratic party’s attempts to bring people together have failed. Warren and Bernie have important big ideas and goals that unfortunately depend on support and a functioning government they don’t have yet. Joe Biden, the assumed front runner clinging on to his spot, is either not willing or able to come to grips with the fundamental changes we need.
Andrew wants to flip Washington upside down. He wants to redirect the Democratic Party, who mostly have the people in their best interests, toward a new vision that fixes the problems that made many of our citizens desperate enough to vote for Donald Trump in the first place. He wants to avoid the political pendulum swinging backward in 2-4 years as it tends to do quite often. Otherwise, progress will be stopped again.
His campaign is designed expertly to utilize various campaign marketing strategies that have proven successful in previous elections. He has framed his talking points to appeal to conservative leaning voters and has even agreed to appear on conservative leaning shows while the rest of the Democratic field will not. The way he talks to former Trump voters is eye opening. He’s welcoming. He does not judge or even insult Trump’s message. He extends the olive branch by explaining to them that he understands why Trump appealed to them and then explains, logically, why Donald Trump was wrong and why his solutions were backwards and the opposite of what we should do.
This strategy has drawn criticism from liberals and some left-wing media on the internet who are skeptical of an outsider who appeals to conservatives. Yang’s unifying message is, ironically, unintentionally divisive to some. But Yang realizes that in a deep field of quality Democratic candidates, his best chance to gain support is among the people that had no plans on voting in the primary. Yang’s message happens to resonate with people who stopped following or caring about politics. He appeals to them by articulating the same thing millions of disenfranchised voters have been thinking; politics sucks. And then he gives them great reasons to care.
The science of polling in American politics comes down to predicting likely voters based on trends and history of the voters. The campaign’s strategy is, in part, to target the people who wouldn’t be expected to show up. Yang realizes that he will need support from everywhere he can get it if he intends to accomplish his goals. For those that support him, that welcoming attitude is inspiring and motivating. Even many who will never vote for him see something to like in that.
He has attracted huge crowds in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Las Vegas, Seattle and Los Angeles. Various campaign financing metrics show that his donor base is grass roots and he does not accept any dark money from corporations. He motivates a sizable amount of dedicated supporters, dubbed the “Yang Gang”, who work hard to spread his name and his message. They know he lacks in name recognition, campaign money and a base of voters that trust him, so the efforts are full of unorthodox ways to get his name into people’s minds.
There is a strong belief among some experts that Andrew Yang has the best chance to beat Donald Trump if he were to get the opportunity. As a supporter famously told Andrew at an early event “You are the opposite of Donald Trump. You are an asian man that likes math.” He has since adopted that as part of his pitch to voters. The contrast would be clear and Donald Trump wouldn’t be able to attack Yang, and outsider, in the same ways he’s been attacking Democrats for the past 4 years. Yang is one of the youngest candidates running for President and is savvy enough to know what to expect and is not planning to fall back on classic debate strategies that failed in 2016.
Andrew Yang’s platform is heavily focused on adapting our government and our economy to the 21st century, preparing us for life after an exponential increase in automation eliminating jobs and restoring the power over our government to the people and away from the dark money that causes the dysfunction and corruption. He wants to be a President that understands and embraces technology and data.
His popular hat reads “MATH” on the front and it stands for “Make America Think Harder”, a purposeful play on Trump’s “MAGA” hats. To many of his supporters, this represents his dedication to problem solving via science and reason over intentionally corrupting via ideology and division. It’s also a product of his sense of humor and willingness to let organic elements of his campaign blossom into full fledged opportunities. If a statement or catchphrase or a joke catches on, his campaign is savvy enough to take advantage and use it.
I like many of the other candidates running in the Democratic primary. I will vote for them. But I support Andrew Yang because this is a vision I want to fight for. No other candidate presents this message. No other campaign provides the same unifying spirit. No other movement is as forward thinking.
For the first time, I see a candidate that details the future I want to see for my friends and neighbors. I enthusiastically voted for Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in previous elections (and I would again). But no other candidate has me locked in like Andrew Yang. I am going to lengths I was never willing to go before to spread his message. I will not sit on the sidelines and expect Donald Trump to be defeated by Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or hoping he is Impeached by his Republicans colleagues. I’m playing in this game and I found my team.
Andrew Yang has a vision for the country that I endorse. He is what I want the President of the United States to be like. And I hope everyone who reads this sees what I see in him and is willing to do what they can to make that happen. The odds are against him but there is 4 months before the first vote will be made. The pundits give him no shot but the growth says otherwise. Let’s shock the world. Let’s make a statement that will never be forgotten. If too many of us ignore this campaign, we can only expect Washington DC to do the same to us. This is an opportunity to change politics.
Here are some helpful links for those that want to learn more about Andrew Yang…
Yang’s Platform (a list of all of his 100+ stances and policy ideas that he supports).
- The Freedom Dividend (Universal Basic Income — $1000 a month for every American Citizen over the age of 18 to guarantee a safety net in the wake of automation and technology replacing common jobs and to help make our welfare system more efficient and effective.)
- The Freedom Dividend FAQ (A tremendous breakdown of answers to the most common questions regarding Yang’s transformative economic policy.)
- Improve The American Scorecard (Changing the measurements of our success to represent what we should care about as a country and provide us a guide for how to move forward.)
- Democracy Dollars (Public Campaign Financing that provides $100 worth of vouchers to every Registered Voter, every election cycle, that they can use to donate money to a candidate or cause of their choosing. This could wash out the corporate bribes by a factor of 8 to 1.)
- Ranked Choice Voting (Reformating our voting system to allow voters to select candidates in an order of preference. This is a more accurate way to choose a consensus selection. This will avoid problems that arise when candidates with similar visions split support in a 3+ candidate race and thus reward an unpopular candidate with the most loyal supporters).
- Decriminalize Opioids (Every hour, 8 Americans die from opioids and the current laws punish those that seek guidance. Andrew plans to decriminalize all drugs to make the ones we have safer and to allow those addicted to seek help and to stop fearing punishment.)
- Make Election Day a Holiday (Everyone should have ample time to particular in every federal election. Increasing voter turnout is crucial to keeping our government accountable.)
- Promote Vocational Education (As technology replaces many low-skill jobs, the safest jobs will be taught in vocational classes. Plumbers, Electrician, Carpenters, HVAC installers, Mechanics and various other skilled manual labor will be needed and it provides a well paying career.)
- Life Skills Education in All High Schools (Expand curriculums to prepare students for the challenges they will face as adults instead of standardized testing that leaves kids behind and unprepared for the basic functions they will need to understand to thrive.)
- Medicare For All (Expand access to Medicare, the most popular health insurance company in the country, to all citizens and allow Medicare to negotiate better prices on behalf of a large base of patients and out-compete the for-profit health insurance industry and moving the United States to streamline healthcare to focus more on the health of our citizens and not profit and the administrative annoyances of negotiating with and billing hundreds of various insurance companies. This will also eventually take healthcare off the backs of businesses so no worker will need to consider healthcare when deciding on their job or career again).
Check out Andrew Yang’s Policy list to find the issues you care most about. If you want to see him speak, I recommend this Town Hall Video on YouTube. Andrew Yang has plenty of various long interviews, town halls and speeches on YouTube to help you get a sense of what’s important to him, what he’s like and why he is inspiring so many people to support him despite a deep field of great candidates to choose from.
I will be writing more about specific aspects of Yang’s policies and stances to better articulate his more unique policies and opinions that differentiates him from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the two candidates he identifies with the most but just disagrees with in some areas about method and strategy.
Maybe you disagree with some of his policy ideas and maybe you think the President should be somebody with a long history in politics. Regardless, Andrew Yang is a great candidate we can learn from. He brings people together and he communicates with unlikely Democratic voters really well. If you want to push this country forward, we have to pay attention to Andrew Yang.