An Example of Political Excellence

Though he bowed out of the race Tuesday night, Andrew Yang has set a strong and upstanding precedent for the remaining field.


photo by John Bazemore/AP/Shutterstock (10481515l)

Andrew Yang set an example of decency, relatability, and no-nonsense logical thinking in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.

Michael Taffe, Technical Director

After only two primaries into the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential race, hopeful candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang has dropped out. A candidate who said it as he saw it, Yang built his platform on transparency, innovation, and a thousand dollars a month.

In the 2020 race, Democratic candidates have tried to prove to voters that they are the most connected to the common person. Elizabeth Warren has done so with her selfie initiative, Cory Booker touted his community roots, and Bernie Sanders has boasted how he has the lowest average donation amount of any candidate, indicating the people donating are working class. 

Andrew Yang seemed different, though. To be clear, during his campaign he had the second-lowest average donations, only behind Sanders. More importantly, however, were his interactions with voters and interviewers. His Twitter was filled not only with campaign slogans and promotions but also with tweets that came from a person. He made bets on basketball and football games, he shared memes without feeling cold and corporate, and he genuinely seemed to be having a good time. In interviews, he would casually swear and talk about food and sports. On the debate stage, he would loosen or not even wear a tie while still answering questions professionally, showing he was there to solve problems, not put on a show. Most telling, when he didn’t get an appropriate amount speaking time in a debate, was excluded from the news cycle, or had his face replaced by another Asian man for a graphic, Yang would joke and deal with the situation with grace.

Yang developed his campaign on a philosophy of numbers. His campaign slogan, “Make America Think Harder” or MATH, played into this philosophy. Frequently at debates, he would remind the crowd that, as an Asian, he was good with numbers. He pointed to automation as the real killer of jobs, rather than immigrants, and backed that claim up with relevant statistics. He repeatedly related questions to his universal basic income program, guaranteeing every American $1,000 a month. Furthermore, his other slogan “Not left, not right, forward” resonated with a divided country. He was willing to agree with other candidates and bide his time. His performance on the debate stage painted a man willing to compromise and admit when he was wrong for the sake of the country.

In his speech announcing the termination of his campaign, Yang remarked, “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.”

To me, this is where he shined.

With the number of viable candidates starting at an insane 20 back in June, competition was bound to be fierce. Many have already dropped out, but over a dozen remain. By dropping out now and focusing his support on another candidate, Yang has a better chance of getting his policies and views in The White House. He has shown humility and practicality that few others have.

For the remaining candidates, who drops out next will most likely determine the race. If Elizabeth Warren drops out, the votes she has been splitting with Sanders will likely all go to him, causing him to win the nomination. If any two of the Biden-Klobuchar-Buttigieg trio drop out, the one that remains of the three will likely win the nomination.

More importantly, the longer candidates wait to drop out, the more divided the Democratic party will probably grow. A repeat of the rift between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters in 2016 will almost certainly occur again. To beat President Trump, the Democrats must be strong and unified. If not, there is no doubt in my mind that Trump will see a second term. 

I don’t want the remaining candidates to feel discouraged. If they believe they have a chance to be the nominee, they should continue to campaign and gather delegates. However, they must be very realistic with their polling numbers. When it becomes clear that their chances are no longer viable, they must drop out to make room for those who stand a fighting chance.

Andrew Yang has set a precedent for the rest of the field. His gracious resignation speech shows that this country can be united. He has shown that politics don’t have to be toxic and that numbers and analytics can work. In a recent tweet, Yang stated, “I stand before you today and say that while we did not win this election, we are just getting started. This is the beginning.”