By John Teng
On Tuesday, February 11th, businessman and Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang announced that he was going to suspend his campaign. Addressing supporters on the eve of the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Yang said, “While there is great work left to be done, you know I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race. I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win. And so tonight I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”
Andrew Yang began his presidential race in late 2017, running on the slogans “Make America Think Harder” and “Not left, not right, but forward”. Initially thought to be a long shot candidate, Yang quickly appealed to voters with his cheerful and energetic personality. Yang’s campaign focused on automation, Asian American involvement in US politics, and economics, with his signature policy being the “Freedom Dividend”, a universal basic income system that would grant American adults $1,000 every month. Yang crafted his policies around automation, which he claims is a growing issue and has led to severe job displacement in the US. In 2018, Yang authored “The War On Normal People,” a book detailing several of Yang’s policies.
Yang’s supporters are collectively known as the “Yang Gang”, and he obtained several endorsements from several high profile individuals throughout his campaign. Yang is especially active on social media, with sites such as Reddit and Twitter generating a large and loyal supporter base. His pool of supporters is known for being very diverse, uniting people from all sides of the political spectrum . Yang’s campaign was largely ignored by the media, especially from MSNBC, which led to his supporters coining the term “Yang Media Blackout.”
Yang consistently ranked at around 4-5% throughout the course of his campaign. While voters approved of Yang’s personality and professionalism, many were reluctant to pick Yang as their first choice due to concerns regarding his UBI policy. Yang qualified for all but one of the Democratic debates, but he was given very little speaking time at each one. At the first Democratic primary in Iowa on February 3rd, Yang’s campaign, despite investing a large amount of resources and time in the state, achieved very disappointing results. After the same occuring at the New Hampshire primaries on February 11th, Yang finally made the call to end his campaign.
Despite dropping out of the presidential race, Yang has made it clear that he intends to continue to support the people. Yang told reporters this week, “I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve activated and energized many people that are new to politics. I don’t think they’re going anywhere. I think that we can be this movement that keeps on pushing until we actually get some of these solutions across the finish line.”