The impact of Yang in the 2020 Democratic primary

Courtesy of Todd Heisler

Timothy Katon, Staff Writer

Many can agree that the most influential presidential candidates in 2016 were Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. In essence, most people credit this to their charisma, policies or simply because they addressed what seems like the end of the middle class.

Andrew Yang came on the scene in 2019, addressing why he thinks President Donald Trump got elected in the first place as well, explaining that socialistic policies can complement a capitalistic government.

One of these socialistic policies is the Universal Basic Income (UBI), which aims to pay every American $1,000 a month.

Many critics responded to this idea with, “Who is going to pay for this?” To which the reply was that it would be paid for primarily by the tech companies who generate billions off our data who pay little to no taxes.

This is also why Yang coined this policy, the “Freedom Dividend,” because as he believes it’s a dividend, not a handout. Yang was quick to point out that  American people are all shareholders of the wealthiest country in the history of the world. 

So, to many people, Yang represented what Americans were owed. Thus, he gained a lot of support, especially on social media and specifically with young voters, who were enthusiastic about his potential for being the Democratic nominee.

Nonetheless, since Yang was not an establishment democrat or a billionaire, he did not get a lot of mainstream airtime. During the primary debates, little to no questions were asked to him and he even claimed that his microphone was turned off when asked why he did not step in and give as much input as his supporters expected.

However, Yang did not give up there. He knew he had supporters and that this movement would gain momentum. He held rallies across the country, with large attendance numbers and extensive social media coverage.

Unfortunately, when a political party has super delegates, that support can be irrelevant.

On February 11, Yang officially dropped out of the race, because mathematically he was not going to be able to catch up to his opposition. Huge supporters of Yang had plenty to say about the candidate’s impact and what it will mean for the rest of 2020.

“It makes me sad because his ideas are juicy and innovative, but deep down, I knew he was not going to go anywhere this time around. However, it would not surprise me if he ran for another political office or if he chose to endorse a nominee, and I think that endorsement would be huge. Most of his supporters would vote for that person,” Juan Catala, Yang supporter, said.

Although Andrew Yang had to call it quits this time around, if this momentum continues, he will be someone to look out for in the 2024 election.