When you’re watching the Democratic debate tonight, you might find yourself wondering: “Who is Andrew Yang?” He was relatively unknown before the campaigns began, but he’s been quietly drawing crowds and enthusiasm and rising in the polls. He has a unique take on how to fix America’s problems, including a UBI (universal basic income) in the form of $1,000 a month.
His supporters call themselves the Yang Gang and he often uses “Math” as his slogan because the 44-year-old entrepreneur likes to solve problems with math. He studied economics at Brown University and then obtain a law degree from Columbia University School of Law. For the last eight years, he’s run Venture for America and is the CEO and founder.
Yang is perhaps one of the most unique candidates in a crowded Democratic primary race. His platform includes Medicare for All, requiring all police officers to wear cameras, paid family leave, media fragmentation, a call for UBI (Universal Basic Income), which he refers to as the Freedom Dividend, and more. The idea of a UBI has many supporters, including Elon Musk. Yang has said that a UBI will be necessary as America becomes increasingly automated. In fact, a phrase he often uses is “The Robots Are Coming,” based off Game of Thrones‘ “Winter Is Coming” phrase.
Yang says UBI will help stem the problems coming from increasing automation. He says this will boost the economy ultimately.
Although he doesn’t plan to make public college tuition-free, he will help students pay for college with a 10×10 Student Loan Emancipation Plan. He wants to expand vocational training and he supports Medicare for All, paid family leave, and creating a path to citizenship. You can read all about his policies on his detailed webpage here.
Throughout his campaign, his supporters have been growing and his rallies have been well attended. In April 2019, at least 2,000 people attended his rally in Los Angeles. According to NBC, about 3,000 to 4,000 people were there. Yang’s campaign noted in a press release that a crowd of 2,000 attended the rally. You can tell from the photos that his rally had a large crowd.
His rally in New York City also attracted a large crowd:
The rally was in May and thousands attended. Meanwhile, a rally he had in Seattle was attended by more than 4,000 supporters, Newsweek reported.
When Yang held a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., he had an impressive crowd, Business Insider wrote.
Here are some more of Yang’s rally photos.
And apparently an eagle flew over Yang’s Seattle rally, and his supporters loved that moment.
Another look at a Yang rally.
Yang is talented at using memes and leaning into jokes and ideas that come from his supporters, and this is likely part of what is helping him gain momentum. When his CNN Town Hall was scheduled on the same night as Game of Thrones, he shared watch party events that showed him sitting on the Iron Throne with the hashtag #YangofThrones. Many watch parties combined his town hall with the Game of Thrones premiere.
He also shared the following video that a supporter made on his official YouTube channel. The video is reminiscent of Bitcoin videos that were made when Bitcoin was at its height of popularity.
Yang qualified for tonight’s debate both ways: through obtaining enough individual donors and through ranking high enough in the polls. He was one of six who had already qualified in April, setting him apart from the crowd.