Democratic Candidate Spotlight: Andrew Yang

Even though he is not the highest in the polls, Andrew Yang has great ideas for what he would do if he became President.


Stephen Maturen

Democratic Candidate Andrew Yang speaking at a forum in Iowa.

In the world of the Democratic Primaries, it may seem complicated to look at all of the candidates to find out which one fits your beliefs the most. With 19 candidates running for the Democratic ticket this year, many candidates campaigns die out because of low media exposure; there isn’t enough time to cover all of the candidates in-depth. Not Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang isn’t a typical democratic candidate; he is the only one that isn’t a politician. Yang is an entrepreneur that created the non-profit “Venture for America” which has been responsible for creating jobs in American cities. VFA was created in 2011 and was tasked with helping people gain a toolset to help them make their own businesses. VFA has helped create 450+ startups, helped more than 10,000 people send out applications, and helped people who went through VFA become some of the best workers in their workplace.

Yang is focused on helping people find jobs. One of the main topics on his platform is helping Americans get back to work. Yang sees that automation is starting to take over in lots of industries and the threat of automation is going to hurt the American people in a big way. Instead of saying that he will bring back jobs to America, Yang says that he is going to get people back to where they were before machines took their place. How would he be able to force companies to hire more workers instead of using machines? Yang would tax them.  He proposes a Value Added Tax (VAT) that would be 10% for companies that use machines instead of humans for their jobs. A VAT is used around the world in 163 countries and is able to make sure that large corporations would pay their fair share of taxes. Yang says that companies are great at hiding their profits and income.

Win McNamee
Andrew Yang at the Democratic Nominee debate in September.

With this new tax, the money that is generated would go right back into the pockets of Americans. The Freedom Dividend is a plan that Andrew Yang has come up with to help people pay for anything they need. Unlike Social Security, Universal Basic Income (UBI) would give each person over the age of 18 $1,000 a month. With the UBI, Yang says that it would help create new jobs, improve labor market efficiency, and find new jobs. If Yang becomes President, he said that he would give people the choice between keeping their welfare/social benefits or getting the UBI. Another perk of UBI is the fact that it would be projected to help grow the economy by $2.5 trillion dollars in eight years.

Imagine a small town in Missouri with 5,000 qualifying residents. A guaranteed income of $12,000 would bring an extra $60 million of additional income into the community, most of which would be spent locally.”

— Andrew Yang

Another policy that Yang supports that differs from most other Democratic candidates is his view on immigration. He differs from the other candidates because he wants to keep strong control of the southern border. Yang says that the current immigration system works well sometimes. Over time, however, the system has broken down and allowed over 11 million undocumented immigrants into the country. Instead of wanting to deport these 11 million people, Yang wants to give them citizenship. He says if the government wanted to deport all 11 million, it would cost them too much money, time, and resources. Also, these deportations would hurt the communities that depend on the people who work there.

Heading into October, Andrew Yang has been polling around 3% to 4%. In the latest national poll, done by Emerson, however, Yang polled 8%. This is an extremely large gain for a candidate who hasn’t been in the media spotlight. Even though Yang doesn’t get the media attention that other candidates receive, he has a large following on the internet. On Twitter, Yang has 885.7k followers and on Instagram, he has 387k followers.

From this large following and adamant followers, Andrew Yang has been able to stay in the race. A new problem has occurred for Yang: funding. On September 26th, Andrew Yang sent out a newsletter and said that the campaign needs to raise $1.5 million dollars so that Yang can keep debating. The deadline for the fundraising is on Monday, October 30. Only time will tell if Andrew Yang and his atypical policies will be able to pull more voters to his cause.