Andrew Yang: A Breakdown

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You’d be forgiven for not exactly knowing who Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is – not many do- but it looks as though he may be about to experience a meteoric rise in popularity. Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, spent most of his early career on various startups, one of which  has attained a moderate level of success. Venture For America, or VFA, was a startup focused on putting graduates of top-tier colleges into startups in cities like Detroit or Baltimore instead of ‘safe’ options like finance or management.

For a little-known and not particularly wealthy candidate like Yang, starting out is the most difficult part of the race. However, an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has since gained over 2 million views, has helped bring him to the attention of the internet. Last week Yang’s campaign cleared the bar set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for appearing in the first two debates of the primary by amassing over 65,000 donors, and his response was telling of his approach to the race: “Was considering celebrating hitting 65,000 donations by flossing but found out it wasn’t cool anymore,” tweeted Yang.

One of Yang’s salient points is his plan to essentially give every American (ages 18-64) a universal basic income called a  “Freedom Dividend” of $1,000 each and every month- the name “tests better” than universal basic income, a concept that has been hotly debated for decades. For those already on disability benefits or social security, the choice would be offered between the Freedom Dividend or their existing benefits. Yang claims his UBI to cope with the automation of  blue collar jobs like truck driving.

Yang is not a conventional candidate- some of his other policy ideas include but are not limited to Medicare for all, legalized marijuana, and paid family leave – and having no traditional base of support, has found his main base on the internet. Members of the so-called “Yang Gang” post memes making fun of Liberals and Conservatives alike, especially poking fun at Trump and the MAGA crowd.

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