I forget when I first saw Andrew Yang, it might have been in the Secular Talk video “Fascinating 2020 Presidential Candidate Running On Universal Basic Income,” from 11/27/2018, but I cannot be sure. I might have heard of him as one of the few who started their campaign before the midterms, but I can’t quite recall. Either way, with how early Yang started his campaign, Yang had a lot of time to get the American people comfortable with him. Yang had started his campaign to little fanfare on 11/6/2017, a year before his appearance on The Young Turks that got him some popularity.
Yang was quite literally an internet candidate, gaining the most popularity from his appearances on the aforementioned Young Turks, as well as The Ben Shapiro Sunday Special and The Joe Rogan Experience. On 4/3/2018, Yang released a book entitled The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future, which got popular in political circles for Yang’s simple, no bullshit, way of speaking that was uncommon among political books. An audiobook of it was uploaded onto YouTube later, which further brought attention to Yang’s book and campaign.
“No bullshit” are the two words that best describe Yang’s attitude towards politics. As mentioned earlier, this is the man who started running for President a year after the 2016 election, in large part because he understood the disadvantage being a small made put him at. I recall gaining respect for him during the debates because during the opening statements of each candidate they’d go on about typical “I love my country” sweet nothings every politician had been saying for decades, but Yang took the time to talk about Universal Basic Income — his major policy.
While I didn’t always agree with his policies (I spend large sections of Ramblings Of A Mad Man: Life As An Anarchist, my book published at the end of 2019, attacking his policies, in fact) looking back, I certainly think he did more good than harm. Expanding the Overton Window is something I’m always in support of, and he was blowing up the Overton Window like it never was before. Plus, I have to give him credit for being the only politician who is willing to recognize that advancing technology will create issues without falling for the trap of luddism. A Josh Hawley or a Tucker Carlson (or even a Matt Walsh) could easily start irrationally blaming technology and calling for us all to live in mud huts, Yang said that while their are amazing benefits, their are also horrible setbacks federal government should work to weather those as much as possible.
Universal Basic Income, an idea previously argued for by people from Martin Luther King Jr. to Milton Friedman (and which was seriously considered by Richard Nixon) was his solution to any issue automation created. As well as his solution to the various issues of welfare, his plan to bring back stay-at-home mothers, and basically everything else that could be tied back to Universal Basic Income. Yang was even able to bring some social conservatives to his side with his desire to bring back stay-and-home-parents and support for the nuclear family (a cause that would lead to riots in the street if a major Republican candidate even mentioned it) and his desire to limit abortion, albeit not through laws but through economic prosperity and advancements in technology which would make abortion obsolete (which used to be a common talking point among Democrats).
While Yang never got widespread support, his voters were easily the most diehard of any Democrat running, even more so than Bernie Sanders. I recall even seeing some tattooing themselves with “Not left, not right, forward,” one of the slogans of his campaign. The more press Yang got, the more people supported him because once you saw Yang, you supported Yang. Unlike other internet candidates like Ron Paul or Mike Gravel, Yang was able to break into the mainstream (albeit one person at a time) and gain the support of the average American. His campaign even once posted him talking to some nice old people, saying he was going “one boomer at a time.” Yang was the only candidate who remained well liked, even by those who were not his supporters. As AlternateHistoryHub tweeted on 2/12/2020 (the day after Yang dropped out):
In a shitshow of an election season, Yang might have lost, but he certainly left with his image better than ever
When Yang dropped out on 2/11/2020, I knew we hadn’t seen the last of him. Regardless of if he had a long term plan or not, the momentum he built combined with his massive likeability would be something he should obviously expand upon. I was expecting him to run for federal office (likely either Governor or Senator from his home State of New York) during the 2022 midterms. This was all but confirmed by CNN Communications tweeting the following on 2/19/2020:
.@CNN welcomes businessman and former Democratic presidential candidate @AndrewYang as a CNN Political Commentator.
My only response to this news was this: Decade of Yang. I believed that Andrew Yang would be one of the most important political figures in the 2020’s, likely leading the era of radicalism the United States is finding itself in at the moment. In early December, The New York Times reported that Yang had met with many top New York City political leaders to talk about running for mayor, and he filed the paper work to become a candidate on 12/24/2020. (Once again, with little fanfare, just as when he started running for President three years ago.)
With Bill De Blasio being unable to run for a third term, the progressive city is wide open for a candidate like Yang. Although Yang has not announced his candidacy at time of writing, it is almost certain he will announce his run before the end of 2020. Of all the candidates running for mayor, Yang is the only one who has any national recognition, with the rest being either local politicians or CEOs of major companies in that area.
If Yang is to run (and he near certainly is) then it’s near certain he’ll win and become the mayor of the biggest city in the United States. From this point on, he gets to become one of the loudest voices on the left for at least four years, and without a major scandal, it’s unlikely he’ll stop there.
Yang is going to be one of the biggest voices on the left going forward, I have no doubt about that.