Andrew Yang

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Andrew Yang
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
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Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest

Andrew Yang (1975–) is an American entrepreneur, author, and a (failed) candidate for both the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination and the Mayor of New York City. He is most well-known for the flagship proposal of his 2020 presidential bid: a universal basic income program, known as the "Freedom Dividend", which would give every American citizen aged 18 or older a monthly check of $1,000, whose primary intent would be to serve as a safety cushion for people who might lose their jobs to automation in the future. While he failed to generate meaningful support in his presidential campaign, Yang's embrace of universal basic income later helped popularize the idea of stimulus checks to help individuals and businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] His campaign was notable for its (alleged) embrace of mathematics and science,[2] even going so far as to sell hats that just say "MATH" on them (claimed to mean "Make America Think Harder").

Political positions and policies[edit]

We need to move to a new form of capitalism — Human Capitalism — that’s geared towards maximizing human well-being and fulfillment.

While Yang was primarily known for proposing universal basic income, his campaign website featured hundreds of smaller-scale policies that nobody really covered. Summing up his views with any one phrase like "progressive" or "moderate" is difficult — in fact, he is quite the outlier within the Democratic Party, even being compared to a libertarian.[4] He generally describes his own views as "human-centered capitalism."[5] On the surface, his rhetoric aligns him with progressives like Bernie Sanders. However, he is also willing to do things like call Boycott, Divestment and SanctionsWikipedia anti-Semitic.[6]

Freedom Dividend[edit]

Yang ran his presidential campaign on the Freedom Dividend, which would establish a $1,000-per-month universal basic income for every adult American citizen. The dividend would be funded by a 10% national VAT tax, alongside carbon fees, capital gains taxes, and other taxes. Additionally, it would stack with veteran's disability welfare, SSDI, and housing assistance (but notably not with SSI or SNAP).[7]

While a distributional analysis showed the Freedom Dividend to be highly progressive,[8] critics claimed the dividend would be regressive as it was universal and not targeted, and funded by a regressive VAT tax. Some argued, for instance, that landlords would just raise rent accordingly,[9] heralding a libertarian talking point which asserts that because of inflation, increasing people's disposable income doesn't actually help them.[note 1] This is not true.[10]

Homelessness and mental illness[edit]

For his mayoral race, Yang focused much more heavily on homelessness and mental illness — specifically, the idea that homeless mentally ill people are dangerous and hurt the city's economy. His solution was to institutionalize far more people to get them off the streets. When asked this during a mayoral debate, he claimed having homeless people around violated everyone else's rights. "We have the right to walk the street and not fear for our safety because a mentally ill person is going to lash out at us."

This ignored the overwhelming data showing that the unhoused are the group most likely to be the targets of violence. (He tried to evade this by claiming that half of all attacks on Asian-Americans were by people with mental illnesses.) It also ignores the decades of abuses that those with mental illnesses went through in the days of rampant institutionalization. While he would occasionally nod at the actual causes of homelessness (such as housing costs), his solution wasn't a housing first model as seen in some cities, but instead to lock people up.

Runs for office[edit]

In 2020, Yang ran for the Democratic nomination, receiving a lot of media attention but not translating that into actual votes. He dropped out after failing to receive any delegates from the Iowa caucus.[11]

When the New York Democrats tried to cancel the state primary election after every major candidate besides Joe Biden had dropped out, Yang and a couple of Democratic delegates sued in a bid to give Bernie Sanders a better chance of reaching a delegate threshold at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[12] Inexplicably, liberals were outraged that the Democratic Party was being challenged for skipping democracy.[13]

While Yang failed to get the presidential nomination, he did make himself a household name. In January 2021, he would exploit this by announcing his candidacy for Mayor of New York City.[14] He got quite the interesting group of endorsements, from Martin Luther King III[15] to... Anthony Scaramucci?[16] His campaign started out great,[17][18] but ultimately went up in smoke.[19]

A few months after this, he left the Democratic Party and founded the "Forward Party", another in a long line of forgettable centrist faux-populist third party ventures. We are sure Yang wishes to save us from partisan gridlock and is not at all motivated by his failure to get nominated by the Democrats for… anything.[note 2]

See also[edit]

  • Technocracy — He goes for this aesthetic at least.
  • Ron Paul — Yang is shaping up to be his Democratic counterpart.[20]
  • Alt-right — Yang is not part of the movement, but a lot of alt-righters flocked to him around 2019 for some rather strange reasons, calling themselves the "Yang Gang".

External links[edit]


  1. Ironic, coming from the same group of people who accused Yang of being a Libertarian Trojan Horse.
  2. Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven, hm?