By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg
Who saw this coming? Andrew Yang is the dark horse candidate for 2020 and the internet loves him. Hell, as a left of center libertarian – I love him. Though the mainstream media is doing their best to keep him in the dark, Yang is gaining clout and credibility every day.
His laid back demeanor and outsider brand of politics have made him a captivating story that simply cannot be ignored. Namely, his call for a Universal Basic Income and his tech forward platform proves that Yang has a new vision for America that seems both plausible and exciting.
At the top of Yang’s platform is an intriguing call for Universal Basic Income. Yang’s policy position would give every American citizen between 18 and 64 exactly 1,000 dollars a month. Yang suggests this will be an important social security measure to fight off new technologies strongarming American workers and he is probably right.
The tech-savvy millionaire entrepreneur has also spoken bravely about the troubling rise of unchecked artificial intelligence at home and abroad. In particular, he has gone so far as to call the looming automation industry “the disintegration of our society.” While most politicians barely utter a word about these topics, Andrew Yang has made it his bread and butter. And his campaign is gaining ground as a result.
Yang’s brand of ‘human-centered capitalism’ positions Medicare for all among his top priorities. He is pro-blockchain technology and an outspoken critic of the failed war on drugs. What’s most impressive about his policy positions is that they are all explained at length on his website, something we rarely see from today’s global politicians. In an era of the soundbite, Yang has prioritized attention to detail.
Don’t believe me? Check out his expansive policy section here: https://www.yang2020.com/policies/
Yang has prioritized getting into the first set of Democratic debates this summer. He needs 60,000 individual donors to get a podium and he is only a couple thousand away. In all likelihood, and against the wishes of more established candidates, he will likely be on the debate stage heading into Iowa. This is a net positive for our Democracy. The more voices outside of the prescribed canon, the better.
Getting into the debates is a top priority of any candidate. Because we place such a high value on the visual, Yang knows this is his best shot of spreading his message. Ross Perot, the last real outsider candidate for President, used the debates as an opportunity to distance himself from the field. Andrew Yang can do the same.
Coding The Future
Recently, Yang suggested we are “in the third inning of the greatest economic transformation in the history of the world.” He points to the 4 million jobs that were automated away in states like Ohio and Florida as being the key to Donald Trump’s victory. And he’s right. Trump ran on a message of bringing jobs back but the notoriously technophobic president has stalled our growth in the sector.
The thing that many supporters like most about Yang is his emphasis on the big ideas in tech. While today’s politicians seem severely unprepared for the next decade, Yang has a history in the industry. His thoughts on A.I., automation, blockchain and the role of the American worker in all of it is refreshing. Speaking with UBI activist Phillipe Chabot, Yang was blunt: “The people in power are technologically illiterate.”
As other Democrats have made headlines recently for their outlandish economic ideas, UBI feels both plausible and increasingly important. Yang has also announced he will take virtual currency donations. As a result, his campaign will highlight the budding cryptocurrency industry.
Andrew Yang is not your normal politician and that’s exactly why I like him. As with President Trump, Americans are interested in new ideas from outsider voices and Yang is coming from far left field. But his interest in promoting new visions for the future of our people and the American economy has people listening. Whether they get the chance to vote for him is another story. For now, his candidacy is a fresh take on an old wheel and we are all looking forward to the next spin.