Andrew Yang is solidifying his place as the tech-focused, dark horse candidate of the 2020 democratic primaries, often earning much applause and shouts of “secure the bag” and “math.”
On April 15th, 2019 Yang held a rally in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial. Supporters waited just outside the event handing out Andrew Yang posters that read “Yang Gang.”
His speech focused on answering the question: “Why is Donald Trump President?” Yang detailed how automation and economic anxiety were the primary factors that led voters to elect President Trump.
Yang then name-dropped various economists who stated that GDP is not the greatest way to measure an economy when a member of the crowd shouted, “Google Henry George,”highlighting the “nerdy” nature of his audience, many of whom zealously follow Yang’s campaign.
Henry George for reference, is an obscure economist from the 19th century whose focus was on inequality and land distribution. Today, one of Henry George’s ideas, land value taxes, are seen by some as a way to reduce income inequality in the United States caused by land ownership.
Yang also touched on automation during the D.C. rally. He started by talking about how the most common worker works in retail, and the effects that automation could have on their lives. He then detailed how truck drivers are the most common worker in 29 states and pondered aloud the impact of competition with driverless cars.
Yang said that while considering his run, he had visited D.C. and was surprised by the lack of consideration surrounding automation among many politicians. He repeated a line to the crowd, asserting that worker retraining worked 0-15 percent of the time, and responded, “we will get better.”
Yang’s tone ranged from speaking on technocratic policy to worrying about the future of American jobs due to automation.
Other journalists have noted how Yang’s tone on the issues represents something distinct in the Democratic primary, beyond his technical background and eclectic audience.
Jacob Siegel wrote for Tablet that Andrew Yang is the first “post-liberal candidate” due to the ways he aims to reform the American political economy in the face of automation. He writes that Yang’s main platform points is not just the more widely-reported freedom dividend (1000 dollars a month of universal basic income) – he seeks to end the culture war as well. His theory is that by providing stable healthcare and income to all of America, perhaps the current tensions in American culture can be placated.
Another Tablet columnist, Wesley Yang (no relation to Andrew Yang), contributed similar commentary about Yang after the D.C. event.
Yang is making a counter-intuitive bet on where the electorate is that may or may not pan out, but if and only if he's right, he won't need the establishment.
— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) April 16, 2019
The Verge also commented on the post-liberalism that Yang seems to represent. Their title stated, “Andrew Yang Is The Candidate For The End Of The World.” Similarly, the Tablet piece focused on his drive to solve a specific problem, in this case, the creation of an “underclass” due to the rise of automation.
Futurism also took this tone when covering Yang in a recent article. The piece added that Yang believes his choice is to either come up with a solution or let society fall apart.
Andrew Yang’s world view represents a post-liberal path that the Democratic Party could embrace, an oddity compared to the political ideologies offered by the other 2020 candidates.