Does Andrew Yang have a chance in 2020?

Samuel Ogali , Courier Staff

On Sept. 12, 10 of the 20 eligible candidates running for president in the Democratic Party will get the opportunity to be a part of the two hour long debate. In order to qualify for this debate, compared to the previous two years, a candidate has to reach a threshold of at least 130,000 unique donors and reach at least 2 percent in at least four different polls approved by the Democratic National Committee. However, one candidate who may come as a surprise to even having enough support to qualify for the debate is Andrew Yang.

In the first debate, Yang had one of the lowest speaking times of any candidate at nearly three min even sparking concerns of whether his microphone was working properly the first time. But, Yang has impressively been able to establish a “cult” following called the “Yang Gang” and has created a slogan called MATH (MAKE AMERICA THINK HARDER). In the past several weeks, Yang has been polling between 2 and 4 percent, even beating out more recognizable candidates like Beto O’Rourke. But why is that? It’s very simple: he’s not a politician.

Yang is an entrepreneur with no political or military experience and while many people, including myself, originally cast him aside from the beginning, Yang seems to be gaining considerable support among voters in particular to his main policy proposal called the “Freedom Dividend.” This proposal is universal basic income where the federal government would give every American $1,000 (excluding those who get Social Security) every month for as long as they live. Now, when I first heard this proposal, I pretty much scoffed at the idea, but to my surprise, this proposal was actually almost enacted into law by Congress in the 1970s and even Alaska has its own system called the Permanent Fund Dividend, which since the 1980s has given more than $1,000 to every Alaskan due part to the excess mineral resources the state has. So, this idea of universal basic income isn’t as far-fetched as I thought.

Why do I think Yang has a chance? The same reason a lot of people thought Donald Trump didn’t have a chance. Yang is an outsider appealing to people not on the basis of immigration being the reason jobs are becoming scarce, but the notion that automation and machines will easily one day take over basic jobs humans have always held. Aside from that, Yang’s campaign is very much a grass roots one with his own supporters dubbing themselves the “Yang Gang.” To top it all off, Yang just received a major endorsement from Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

With Donald Trump as President, the thought of electing another businessman doesn’t seem unthinkable, but the true question is: is Andrew Yang the right candidate for 2020 to even be competitive against Trump? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.