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Andrew Yang

Yang launched his presidential campaign in early February on a platform that focuses on preparing for the future in an increasingly automated world.

Background

Andrew Yang is a Democratic candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in 2020. He is 44 years old and was raised in upstate New York. Yang’s parents immigrated from Taiwan in the 1960s and met in graduate school. Yang recalls that his father’s career as a researcher for IBM and his mother’s as a university systems administrator led him and his brother to grow up “pretty nerdy.”

After graduating from Brown University with majors in economics and political science, Yang went on to attend law school at Columbia University. Over the course of his life, Yang has been a corporate lawyer, a healthcare startup entrepreneur, the CEO of Manhattan Test Prep, and the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Venture for America. Yang recognizes himself as an entrepreneur with expertise in the economy, rather than a “career politician.”

Policy

Yang launched his presidential campaign in early February on a platform that focuses on preparing for the future in an increasingly automated world. The New York Times reported that Yang “believes that automation and advanced artificial intelligence will soon make millions of jobs obsolete” and his campaign is focused on taking “radical steps to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment and a total societal meltdown, including handing out trillions of dollars in cash.”

Andrew Yang’s policy proposals are detailed and comprehensive but his campaign focuses on three big policies that are all directed towards fixing the automation issue: The Freedom Dividend, Medicare for All, and Human-Centered Capitalism.

 If elected, Yang promises that he will implement The Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income of $1,000 every month for every American over the age of 18. Yang defends this policy by explaining that it would “enable all Americans to pay their bills, educate themselves, start businesses, be more creative, stay healthy, relocate for work, spend time with their children, take care of loved ones, and have a real stake in the future.” According to Yang, his proposed Freedom Dividend would grow the economy and increase the labor force. 

In addition to The Freedom Dividend, Yang is running on a platform that promotes and promises Medicare for All. Yang believes that the current healthcare system must change and Medicare for All ensures that all Americans will receive the healthcare they deserve. The healthcare system that Yang supports would be funded by the government as opposed to private insurance agencies. According to Yang, his proposed policy will increase access to preventive care and lower healthcare costs. 

Yang is also focused on implementing Human Centered Capitalism. He believes that as a nation, we need to move towards a new form of capitalism that is geared towards maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. Yang suggests that under Human Centered Capitalism, the unit of the economy will become people rather than money and the market will exist to serve the goals and values of the people. Yang believes that enacting Human Centered Capitalism will assist in maximizing human welfare through the economy. 

Besides these three major policy areas, Yang emphasizes a generally progressive agenda. For example, he is focused on fighting for equal pay, gun safety, and reducing the burden of student loans.

Yang also has a $5 trillion plan to address climate change. Consistent with the rest of his platform, Yang is interested in exploring technological options for addressing climate change, including unproven measures such as geoengineering, carbon capture, and cloud seeding.


Standing

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According to the left-leaning Politico, as of the second quarter of 2019, Yang has raised around $2.8 million dollars for his campaign, coming in at about 12th out of all of the Democratic candidates. The left often wonder if Yang and his campaign are serious, and the right side of the political spectrum believe that Yang is too radical.  Yang has secured the required 130,000 unique donors and 2 percent polling to qualify for the next round of primary debates in September. According to Time Magazine, Yang’s campaign has had the most success with younger voters. Vox News describes Yang’s platform as being traditionally left-wing with “a massive appeal to young, predominantly male, and socially conservative audiences.” He is currently polling at number eight out of all of the democratic candidates, with 2% of all votes. He also ranks eighth in media coverage of Democratic candidates, as of August 2.Yang has accumulated a massive online fan base, with his popularity growing mostly through Twitter, Reddit, and appearances on political podcasts.