When you’re watching the Democratic debate tonight, you may notice that the debate stage is missing a person who was there in the December debate. Andrew Yang is not at the debate tonight. He didn’t make the polling numbers, so he couldn’t be on the debate stage. But he’s also not spending today quietly. He’s still getting a lot of attention.
Yang Didn’t Meet the Polling Requirements, So He Held a Rally the Day Before & Today Was ‘Yang National Visibility Day’
Yang didn’t meet the polling requirements this time around, but he was still in Des Moines, Iowa. Yang held a rally for about 700 people at Drake University on Monday night, The Washington Post reported. Drake University is also hosting the Democratic debate tonight and the debate’s location was a few buildings down from where Yang’s rally was held.
Today he held a rally in Ames, Iowa.
Many of his supporters have called for today to be “Yang National Visibility Day.”
Yang National Visibility Day was today from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. Eastern, where people showed banners and posters at well-traveled intersections around the country.
Because of more stringent debate requirements, the candidates in tonight’s debate are narrowed down to six from the previous debates that ranged from 12 to 20. The December debate had seven, including Yang.
In order to qualify for this debate, the candidates needed to poll at 5 percent or higher in at least four national or early-state polls, or 7 percent or higher in two early-state polls. These must have been from qualifying organizations that released polls between November 14 and January 10. Another requirement was that candidates get 225,000 unique donors at least, which included 1,000 in at least 20 states.
Yang met the fundraising goal but not the poll requirements. He hit 5 percent in two polls out of the four that he needed.
Yang had even filed a request in late December for the DNC to commission more polls before the January debate, USA Today reported. There were fewer qualifying polls this time around because of the holidays. Yang had said that the debate should include more early state polls before the deadline of January 10, citing that it had been more than a month since polls for some early-voting states were released. He said not adding extra polls would cut down on the diversity on the debate stage. The DNC denied this request.
Yang then commissioned his own polls using the same companies that the Democratic Party used, The Hill reported. Those polls, said Nick Ryan, Yang’s campaign chief, showed him at 5% in both Nevada and New Hampshire.
Despite not being in the debate, Yang had his own exciting news when comedian Dave Chappelle endorsed him.
Chappelle will host two shows this month that will benefit Yang’s campaign.
Yang told ABC: “I want to be on that debate stage. Right now, the best thing we can do is continue to drive the campaign forward right here in Iowa and New Hampshire, make sure we make the next debate stage, and more importantly, make sure that we have a history-making performance when the voting starts. … We did earn a spot on this debate stage, too. I think if the DNC showed any flexibility or even rationality, they would see that.”
His press secretary, S.Y. Lee, told ABC News that this would be the least-watched and least relevant debate so far.