Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur who announced his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination way back in 2017, is beginning to generate some unlikely momentum. The 44-year-old has raked in enough individual donations to qualify for June’s Democratic debate, increased his name recognition with appearances on the Joe Rogan podcast and the Breakfast Club , and built an online following that calls itself the “Yang Gang.” In perhaps the most significant sign of the energy around his outsider bid, Yang drew an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 to a San Francisco campaign stop on Friday, where he emphasized his signature issue: a universal basic income.
“What they are doing with oil money in Alaska, we can do for all of us around the country with advancing technology,” Yang said , according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, is the founder of Venture for America, a New York City-based nonprofit that trains young people to work at start-up companies. He has no formal experience in politics, and according to various polls, is largely unknown to voters. But his call for a $1,000-per-month “ Freedom Dividend ” for all Americans, as well as his appeal for what he calls “ human-centered capitalism ,” have created ripples online—and not just among progressives
As the Outline noted Monday, some on the far right—including white nationalist Richard Spencer —have taken to Yang, posting memes and trolling tweets in support of his White House bid, though they haven’t formally endorsed him. Yang has attempted to distance himself from their overtures. “Anyone who spends, like, five seconds looking into me, or my background, or my beliefs, or my platform, would be like, ‘This guy is the least white-nationalist dude ever,’” he told Vox earlier this month. “The opposite of Donald Trump ,” he added during his Friday rally in San Francisco, “is an Asian guy who likes math.”
Yang remains a significant long shot in the crowded Democratic field, which already includes big names like Bernie Sanders , Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, and seems poised to feature former veep Joe Biden . But some polling already shows him on par with or leading more established politicians like Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julián Castro. If he can draw more crowds like the one in San Francisco, his profile will continue to rise. That still won’t likely be enough to win him the presidency, but it may be sufficient to enshrine his ideas in the political firmament. After all, they’ve already been immortalized on the Internet
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