Getting Down with the Yang Gang

Christina Chekerdjieva, Opinions Editor

As Andrew Yang’s face appeared from behind an American flag curtain, a room of 1,200 rose to their feet to clap and cheer him on the makeshift stage of the Downtown Des Moines Marriott’s conference room as Drake’s “God’s Plan” played, elevating the experience others the already iconic entrance. 

Yang’s entrepreneur background allowed for a fresh perspective in the candidate pool, with economic policies ranging from a UBI to unique methods of washing out lobbyist money in DC. Let’s run through a shortlist of pressing issues and solutions that Yang discussed in his rally. He opened by citing the theories of celebrated economist Milton Freedman as evidence to support a Universal Basic Income, which Yang self-titled a “Freedom Dividend” of $1000 a month to every 18+ citizen in the US. He supports a UBI because the American should be paid for the money consulting companies are making off of their data. He followed up by saying it is necessary to “distribute the swamp,” the meaning of which is still a mystery to me. I took this to Twitter, and found that the top three responses consisted of  “He is a useless candidate,” “Explain pls I no understand Yang today. Send help,” and “He means move some of the government organizations from DC to all around the country.” The final seemed like the most likely answer, but I identified with the second most personally. The issue Yang discussed for the majority of the rally is the decline of jobs available to Americans as robots become more integrated (and cheaper for large corporations) into the workforce. 

To finish off, he jumped into a comparison between himself and Donald Trump. In his boldest claim to date, he said that “I am the only man Donald Trump has not challenged over Twitter” and said this is because Trump sees him as a fierce opponent that could send his campaign crashing and burning. However, I argue this could be a matter of his relevance, as he ended up polling at around 1% at the Iowa Caucuses. In accordance with one of his speech slogans, he left the crowd with a final quote, saying that “The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.”