Don’t Be A Stranger, Andrew Yang!

A brilliant, transformative politician has dropped out of the race to be US President… I hope to God he’s back in 2024!

US presidential candidate Andrew Yang
Image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

D’OH! THOSE BOZOS in America!

I’ve got used to seeing the people I vote for not win in the UK, ever since my first ballot failed to unseat Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher, back in 1987.

And today, I’m fucked off because my favourite candidate from Across The Pond didn’t make it either….

Andrew Yang – whose idealistic bid to be the Democrat taking on Donald Trump in November’s US Election got me excited about politics again – has thrown in the towel after a disappointing performance in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday.

But Yang can be proud of a run that saw him outlast 18 more established candidates for the Top Job – and for becoming a “thought leader” in the US, with his well-received policies for a “human centred capitalism” to soften the effects of future job automation.  

Giving his final campaign speech, the former tech entrepreneur said he was proud of a campaign that had “brought a message of humanity first and a vision of an economy and a society that works”.

Yang’s central ideas included giving all Americans a guaranteed $12,000 annual income funded by a VAT-style levy on tech giants like Amazon and Google – and finding new ways to measure economic success, such as how happy and healthy communities were.

Derided as a nobody when he announced his Presidential plans in 2017, Yang made it to the last 10 in the multi-runner Democratic race and also raised an impressive $30 million in campaign funds, much of it crowdfunded.

BBC News called it “a remarkable achievement.”

And Yang’s withdrawal may further strengthen the winner of Tuesday’s vote, Bernie Sanders, as the young supporters making up the so-called ‘Yang Gang’ are now likely to back the Vermont Senator’s campaign.

An incredible, historic run.”

In an opinion piece for CNN.com, writer and podcaster Jeff Yang (presumably no relation!) thanked his namesake for “an incredible, historic run” at the presidency.

“Yang didn’t just make history, he unquestionably put a sizable dent in the future as well,” the CNN piece argued.

“He’s earned himself an ongoing place in the national conversation. He established the resources and support to be taken very seriously in any campaign or organization he might launch going forward.

“And if Obama was the first mobile-app-driven candidate of our digital era, and Trump the first social-media-driven one, Yang was the first to crowdsource himself into relevance, which will surely change the landscape of politics forever.”

W.E. Messamore, a republican activist writing on ccn.com, meanwhile said he was relieved Yang had gone, claiming the $12,000 plan was “bad math” that would have destroyed the US economy. 

“He was a presidential candidate running on a campaign of handing voters free money.” Messamore added.

“It’s such an effective parody of all politics, that Andrew Yang 2020 could have been satirical performance art from beginning to end.”

Ouch.

But, actually, reading such a biting (if nicely put) bit of cynicism only serves to remind me of why I starting rooting for Yang in the first place: his idea that life could be different if it was kinder.

2024! 2024!”

I’m going to miss him, because I’d long given up on the idea of US being the saviour of the world before Yang came along.

Most of their political and social ideas seemed to me bad ones, and yet they were still adopted over here: ‘Baby Trump’, Uber Eats, chlorinated chicken, and so on.

And then came a guy – an American – who wanted to make capitalism work for people instead of the other way around…  

As he gave his farewell speech this week, Yang’s supporters started chanting “2024! 2024!”

It’s some, small, consolation that we might be ready to listen to his ideas next time…

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