Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Andrew Yang: The president Democrats need, but not the one they deserve

True winner on policy substance
Mark Nozell/flickr

The 2020 Democratic primary is shaping up to be divisive, chaotic – and entertaining.

With 18 candidates having announced either a campaign or an exploratory committee, the field is as large as you would expect for a party hell-bent on taking out President Trump and recapturing the glory of a united Democratic government. There are, of course, many candidates who have garnered a significant amount of media attention: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke, among others.

The best candidate – and the one Democrats should choose if they want to have a clear path to take out President Trump – is also the most underrated. His name is Andrew Yang.

Yang is a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-politician. After working in tech for a number of years, he branched out and started Venture for America, an organization with the purpose to build local communities through entrepreneurship. A political outsider, Yang is relatively unknown, especially compared to the bigwigs dominating the cable news airtime.

Differentiating him still further is his lack of advertisement spending. According to an article by the Daily Beast, Yang has only spent $33,000 on Facebook ads and has not yet run any television advertisements. With his relative obscurity and seeming lack of self-promotion, one would think Yang has no chance of winning and should not be considered one of the best candidates. However, I believe that his unique combination of policy proposals, congenial nature and future-oriented approach to government are all reasons why Democrats should vote for Yang in the 2020 primary.

Yang favors a surprising number of policies. His website is dominated by over 70 proposals, an overwhelming figure when one looks through them. While many of these policies are somewhat obscure, a number of them are right up Democrats’ alley. Yang wants Medicare for All, something which up to 81 percent of Democrats approve of. He also wants to decriminalize marijuana and to pursue campaign finance reform, both platforms which Democrats seem to support. Because he has so many policies, there are some that even many Republicans could get behind, showing Yang’s inter-party appeal. For instance, he wants to decrease federal funding for colleges that don’t cut back on the size of their administrations, and he would like to see a transition to nuclear energy until innovations in renewable energy allow it to become more feasible.

His policies are impressive, but perhaps the most likeable thing about Yang is Yang himself. He is intelligent and charismatic and can hold conversations about his policies for hours on end.  Recently, Yang made the unorthodox move to appear on Joe Rogan’s podcast. This was a smart decision because Rogan’s podcast is one of the most successful in the world. There, Yang confidently discussed his most popular proposal, Universal Basic Income, for nearly two hours. This is something that you don’t get a lot from other politicians. Yang’s willingness to talk about the issues plaguing rural America, such as automation, is also endearing; other Democrats steer clear of this type of talk. This could win back some rural Democrats who may have voted for President Trump, something Democrats should take note of if they want to unseat the current president.

Yang is very future-oriented. His UBI proposal, which would give all Americans $1,000 a month to protect against automation and joblessness, begins an important discussion for a future in which 60 percent of jobs are predicted to have at least a third of their tasks automated. Yang is also very focused on entrepreneurship and innovation. His Venture for America foundation emphasizes the importance of encouraging young people to innovate in order to solve some of life’s problems. Other Democrats may claim that they prize entrepreneurship, but none have the same track record as Yang.

Like any politician, Yang has his unsavory sides. Because he spends so much time talking about UBI, Yang won’t be seen as “anti-Trump” as other candidates, a potential downside in a primary in which Trump is likely to be the main topic. Yang is also rather uncomfortably endorsed by prominent white nationalists. While he has vociferously denounced white supremacy, he will probably be maligned by his detractors for this association. Finally, Yang could be seen as just not being angry enough. Sanders, Booker and Warren always seem outraged –  particularly about President Trump’s alleged sexism, racism, homophobia and the like – and this is shown in countless campaign and Senate floor speeches. Yang, however, is seemingly too collected of a person to demonstrate this outrage, a trait which many Democrats seem to feel is important for a presidential candidate to have in order to beat the equally-incensed President Trump in 2020.

Yang is the candidate of the future. His policies, especially UBI, are oriented toward an era in which automation is a major job-killer and people begin to feel the effects. Unfortunately, the Democratic party is not in a position to embrace the future. They want a fighting firebrand to, as Harris says, “prosecute the case against” President Trump. Democrats should wake up and realize that Yang may be the best chance they have to do just that.

Greg Fournier is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • A

    ajApr 13, 2019 at 5:03 am

    yang gang is going to give America a gift in 2020.

  • C

    Cindy JordonApr 13, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Andrew Yang is the ONLY Democrat I would consider voting for. I do wish he’d run as an independent because since the Democrat party has become the party of infanticide, anti-Jewish, open borders, abolishment of the electoral college 2nd amendment and free speech I am afraid to vote for any Democrat. Andrew Yang is terrific but I fear he could be crushed by the Democrat party.

  • M

    MichaelApr 12, 2019 at 3:03 pm


  • A

    amyApr 12, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Yang for president!!! Let’s have the first Asian president and make history!

  • K

    Kendra HendrenApr 12, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Wonderfully forward thinking piece. Thank you, Greg Fournier. Hopefully we Democrats will come to our senses and elect this highly intelligent and reasonable man. A future with President Yang is worth working towards.

  • C

    Cindy HodgesApr 12, 2019 at 2:50 am

    Andrew Yang is a visionary who also understands real world issues. His compassion combined with his pragmatism is incredibly appealing. I am looking forward to watching him drive home the UBI argument in the first debate!

  • S

    Simmy TullivanApr 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Well to be perfectly honest, in my humble opinion, of course without offending anyone who thinks differently from my point of view, but also by looking into this matter in a different perspective and without being condemning of one’s views and by trying to make it objectified, and by considering each and every one’s valid opinion, I honestly believe that I completely forgot what I was going to say.

  • C

    Crystal FleischmanApr 11, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    What are you policies on global warming. We need specialist in the house to help bring policies to protect earth, and protect it for our futures.

  • J

    John C DurhamApr 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Excellent. Article jumps over Democratic Party created trash going straight to the heart of the Voter. I voted Bernie/Trump last time but see Yang as a giant compared to these Lilliputians. I gave money to Yang the day I discovered him thanks to an email from my Son Paul.
    I quit the Democratic Party because of what it did to Bernie, I’ll be having to change back. I’ll voting for Yang in the Democratic Primaries. I’m so tired of the Games of Donald Trump, even though the accusations against him and smears from the Democrats are unforgivable. My only problem with all the Democrat Candidates is that they don’t understand Climate Change is “the next” hoax.
    Yang doesn’t even go there. He makes Trump or the Sins of the Democratic Party both irrelevant.

  • D

    David LeeApr 11, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    This is one of best articles I read about Andrew Yang. I have the same conclusion, none of the democrats including Biden will be able to upset Trump in 2020 except that Yang might have a chance.

  • D

    Dixie ThompsonApr 11, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Yang is the man with the vision and the plan, and a way to pay for it!! See him 4/14 #CNNTownHall!! #YangTownHall!!

  • S

    SteveApr 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Great summary of Andrew Yang and his candidacy. Hopefully, his prudence and decency (lack of expressed outrage) will be views as a plus, not a minus, as we need to move past barking at one another and start discussing the important solutions.

  • L

    Luci KellerApr 11, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I love Andrew Yang, thank you so much for speaking the truth! He IS what we need for this country. I personally think it is great that he isn’t as ‘outraged’ as the others like you mentioned. We need to get away from identity politics and attacking the other side. We are all Americans. #Yang2020

  • S

    Sean CoveneyApr 11, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Andrew Yang is the only candidate talking about the #1 immediate threat to the economy and jobs: AUTOMATION and AI.
    We are in the middle of the 4th Industrial Revolution and it is picking up speed.
    **Mainstream politicians want to AVOID this.
    Tech Leaders support UBI.
    Gates, Musk, Zuckerberg and others have been warning about this problem but nobody is paying attention. What other industry is saying “Tax Me”?????
    Automation and AI was responsible for 80% of the 4 million Midwest manufacturing jobs that have been eliminated since 2000. All in the States that voted for Trump.
    Customer Service
    Tax Preparation
    Even computer programming…..
    Etc, etc are all in the firing line….
    ***** It is happening NOW and Andrew Yang is the only candidate talking about this in a serious way. Many supporters are also Conservatives and Libertarians.
    He has gone toe-to-toe with commentators on Fox News FIVE TIMES. What other Democrat has done that????
    Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews haven’t had him on.
    What is wrong with this picture?
    Wake up America!

  • N

    NITZAKHONApr 11, 2019 at 6:58 am

    RE UBI specifically. Government does not have a dime to give to someone without having taken it from someone else. So what UBI does is approve a massive, country-wide theft and plunder.

    Does Yang (and you) really think that the tech companies he wants to tax until their teeth bleed for this will not react?

    And what has happened with other, smaller-scale attempts at UBI? Massive failures as people take advantage of it.