The Freedom Dividend: Yang's bold plan to undercut Trump in his key demographics
Few candidates have caused as much as a stir online as Andrew Yang, the lawyer turned entrepreneur determined to give every American $1000 a month as his flagship campaign issue. The pitch is simple, with the dawn of AI and automation, more and more of the most vulnerable Americans are going to lose their jobs and be permanently left behind. Re-training, the often-cited solution to these issues, Yang believes, is inadequate as it is both historically ineffective and would far take too long. With companies like Uber rolling out self-driving cars, Yang believes that automated driving and trucking will fundamentally transform the industry which employs the most men with only a high-school education.
But men aren't the only victims. Google has been developing AI capable of replacing call center workers, an industry that predominantly hires less educated women. Education is important, as the acclaimed pollster and political predictor Nate Silver noted, less educated swung greatly towards Trump while more educated counties voted Clinton. These groups, which largely dominate the midwest and so-called "flyover" states, as well as key states in Trump's 2016 victory such as Wisconsin and Michigan, are Yang's primary target in his bid to undermine the Trump coalition and flip the 2020 map back in Democrats direction.
Yang's plan, if put into place would create a safety net for every American, as well as lessen the burden on the most vulnerable population, freeing up time and capital for them to invest in their communities, become entrepreneurs, or seek out the education or training they need to achieve the life they want, according to him. He views his plan as a comprehensive welfare reform which will reduce administrative bloat and remove the negative incentives our current system has which encourage people to stay out of the workforce and do less, for fears of losing their current benefits.
Some far-right and even alt-right figures have taken to Yang's plan, viewing it as a solution to the many downtrodden white communities they pull support in. Richard Spencer expressed approval for UBI as a solution to oncoming "White Death" on twitter. Whether Yang either wants to or intends to, he may find some of the more unsavory segments of the right is his coalition, whether he acknowledges them is another story.
Yang has seen some success, consistently polling nationally around the same level as other well-known candidates such as Cory Booker and Robert "Beto" O'Rourke, and only trailing the likes of Pete Buttigieg and Harris by a few points. Despite this, he continues to fail to gain ground in early states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, early primary states which some argue largely impact the election. Other polling reveals the New Hampshire may be warm to Yang's plan, as recent polling has him ahead of Trump in the general election.
Regardless, look forward to seeing him on the debate stage for a third time this upcoming Thursday.
By Jacob Facemire
Deputy Researcher of the Pluralism Project
The Pluralism Project is devoted to increasing diversity in politics. We believe that politicians should represent all of society. We support constructive dialogue between Americans in the hopes that despite once belonging to different nations and tribes, through meaningful exchanges we might come to know and embrace one another. E Pluribus Unum: Out Many, We Are One. We need and appreciate your support. Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date, and please show your support by liking, commenting, and retweeting your favorite tweets!