Andrew Yang Drops Out
The math compelled it. But he outlasted several better-known candidates.
Andrew Yang, a Democratic businessman who campaigned on giving every adult American a monthly check for $1,000, will end his campaign for president after a disappointing showing in the New Hampshire primary.
“I am a numbers guy,” Yang said in an interview before addressing supporters at Manchester’s Puritan Backroom. “In most of these [upcoming] states, I’m not going to be at a threshold where I get delegates, which makes sticking around not necessarily helpful or productive in terms of furthering the goals of this campaign.”
Yang said he had not decided whether to endorse another candidate, though campaigns have reached out.
“If I become persuaded that there’s a particular candidate that gives us a superior chance of beating Donald Trump, and I think it’s important to make that opinion known, then I would consider it for sure,” Yang said. He also said he would be open to becoming another candidate’s running mate or joining a presidential Cabinet.
I had not heard of Yang before he began his quixotic campaign for the White House. While it never made sense to me that he was running, much less qualifying for the debates, given that he had no meaningful experience, I ultimately found him interesting.
And, as the Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere points out, he made an outsized impact on the race.
Yang generated more support, raised more money ($30 million!), and qualified for more debates than many of the senators and governors who dropped out before him—more, even, than some candidates who are still in the race. But that alone doesn’t capture what he achieved. Will his $1,000-a-month universal basic income become law? Probably not, but at this point, it’s about as real as Donald Trump’s border wall or Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All. At the very least, he changed politics, as Sanders and Trump did. And he sharpened Americans’ sense that something has gone badly wrong with the economy, that American life is getting worse, but no one is doing anything about it except make empty promises that the jobs would come back. The $180 textbooks that college students have to buy are “exhibit No. 178 in how we’re leaving you a mess,” he told the crowd at Keene State.
Yang’s remaining rivals bought in to his pitch months ago. Elizabeth Warren spoke about automation at the October debate; Joe Biden discussed the fourth industrial revolution on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. As for Yang’s $1,000-a-month idea? His campaign’s pollsters put together a memo showing that support for the plan in Iowa grew from 17 percent of expected caucus-goers in September to 60 percent in January.
Politics is a strange business. There’s no way Yang should have outlasted star politicians like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Or even the half dozen faceless governors who we have long since forgotten were running. But he did.