By Henry McCabe
I remember when I first heard about Andrew Yang. It was a Reddit AMA, and my immediate thought was to scroll past. I thought he was just another random nobody trying to get some publicity with a crazy policy. I mean, $1,000 a month for every American sounds crazy when you first hear it. I ended up reading some of Yang’s responses, and although they were well thought out, I still didn’t think much of him. Fast forward to the following summer, and Yang is one of the many candidates that qualified for those first debates. Something about Yang’s way of presenting the issues finally clicked with me, and when I finally delved into his policies I became convinced that he was the best Democratic candidate to lead the country forward. Yang brought something that the remaining candidates would do well to keep in mind: Humanity First.
Yang fully embodied this principle that his campaign ran on. There was nothing partisan about Yang’s message, and the Yang Gang was welcome to all who wished to join, a true embodiment of the slogan “Not Left, Not Right, Forward.” Indeed, speaking from experience, the enthusiasm of the Yang Gang was infectious, and it was a true coalition where I could see moderate Democrats, progressives, libertarians, disaffected Republicans, as well as people who have never been involved in politics, working together to promote Yang’s message.
This is the first presidential election that I have participated in as a registered voter, and while I may have picked a “loser,” I don’t regret my decision one bit. It would be difficult to say that Yang’s campaign was even a failure. Yang’s ideas such as universal basic income have reached the mainstream of Democratic politics, with 66% of Democrats supporting it, and 49% of all voters in favor as well. Yang was far more than his “Freedom Dividend” though: his “Democracy Dollars” policy aimed to provide regular Americans with a way to fight back against Citizens United and the money of large corporations in elections. Yang’s climate policy embraced nuclear energy in a way no other candidate did as well. The point is, the list of valuable ideas that Yang brought to the table is immense, and I urge everybody to give them consideration. Many of the remaining Democratic candidates would be wise to incorporate ideas such as these into their campaign.
While many will think little of Yang dropping out, it is important that we not forget the values that he stood for. We as Democrats must remember that our goal is to defeat Donald Trump, and in doing so, it would be wise to listen to Yang’s advice that he has reiterated throughout the campaign. We must focus on fixing the issues that got Trump elected in the first place. To win crucial swing state voters we must understand why they voted for Donald Trump, and speak to those issues. We must avoid alienating voters, and Yang’s message shows that you can be both progressive and unifying. While Yang has yet to endorse a candidate, and may not, it is important that the remaining candidates understand the importance of this message. It is a roadmap for success in the 2020 election.
As I finish this article, writing from the perspective of a Democrat and a Yang supporter, I am surprisingly not sad. I certainly would have preferred Andrew Yang as the Democratic nominee for president, but I find comfort in knowing that Yang and his ideas will not leave the world of politics so easily. Yang’s ideas and message will live on long after this minor blip on the path forward, towards a country that truly puts Humanity First.
Henry McCabe is a freshman from Saratoga Springs, New York, currently studying International Affairs.
Note: The GW College Democrats News & Blog Committee’s mission is to highlight, empower, and facilitate the political expression of its members. As such, the views expressed in this article are based on the opinions of its author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the whole of GW College Democrats, its executive board, or its senior deputy board.