Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, is a candidate for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. Yang, who is the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to appear on Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro’s “Sunday Special” podcast series (video below), is one of the more heterodox candidates in the present 2020 Democratic field. Yang’s proclaimed public policy stances often mirror those in many of his more traditional competitors’ platforms, but his campaign’s signature policy is a universal basic income proposal — which Yang calls a “Freedom Dividend” — whereby every American receives $1,000 a month. His campaign is thematically centered around his entrepreneur background and is focused on restoring, as Yang sees it, the American dream. According to recent 2020 Democratic presidential polling, Yang polls at 0-3% support.
Yang, who would become the first Asian-American nominee for a major American political party if successfully nominated, lives in New York City with his wife Evelyn and their two children. His parents are Taiwanese immigrants.
Yang, who has never before sought political office, is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School. He briefly worked in private law practice before switching his career trajectory to specialize in the start-up and venture capital space. In 2009, Yang founded the nonprofit group Venture for America (VFA), which describes itself as a two-year fellowship program for recent graduates “who want to work at a startup and create jobs in American cities.” Yang’s work with VFA was lauded by the Obama administration.
Electoral History: Yang has never sought political office prior to his current campaign for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination.
On The Issues: Yang, who has no prior political history, emphasizes the personalized nature of his campaign and assortment of public policy proposals. His signature proposal is for a $1,000/month universal basic income payment, and he also emphasizes a “human-centered capitalism” whereby the “focus of our economy should be to maximize human welfare” over corporate profits. Yang’s call for a more worker-centric approach to capitalism makes him a possible ally of some more populist-oriented economic thinkers on the American Right, such as Tucker Carlson and Oren Cass. Yang has drawn headlines for his public opposition to male circumcision, although he suggested on his podcast appearance with Shapiro that he would not seek to ban the practice and thereby threaten religious liberty.
Constitution: Although a lawyer by professional training, Yang has not spent much time in the practice of law and he does not have much of a paper trail on legal and judicial issues. But according to Yang’s campaign website, he supports the customary legal positions of a contemporary progressive leftist. He supports restoring voting rights to ex-felons and supports term limits for both members of Congress and U.S. Supreme Court justices. Yang supports the so-called constitutional “right to privacy” and “right to abortion” that were promulgated by the Supreme Court in the decisions of Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade, respectively. He opposes Citizens United v. F.E.C., the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 political speech-affirming ruling. Unlike some of his 2020 rivals, Yang opposes the abolition of the Electoral College.
Economy: Yang’s signature 2020 campaign proposals are his economic proposals. His aforementioned universal basic income proposal would, according to the campaign, not merely “enable all Americans to pay their bills, educate themselves, start businesses, [and] be more creative,” but would also “permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent—or about $2.5 trillion by 2025.” Although the policy of universal basic income is primarily associated with today’s political Left, famous free-market economist Milton Friedman also lent some support to the idea as a possible alternative to the status quo of an expansive welfare state. Yang’s other core economic platform, “human-centered capitalism,” represents more of a vaguely defined goal than a concrete policy prescription. Yang also supports stricter regulation of the financial services industry.
Health Care: Yang supports “Medicare for All,” and considers it to be one of his three core campaign policies — alongside universal basic income and “human-centered capitalism.” In practice, “Medicare for All” would effectively amount to a single-payer health insurance system and a de facto governmental takeover of health insurance and imposition of socialized medicine in America.
Immigration: Yang supports the DREAM Act amnesty and supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens who have been present in the U.S. for 18 years. He supports additional border security at the U.S.-Mexico border, although his campaign is vague on what precisely that would entail.
Foreign Policy: Yang is skeptical of foreign intervention, and supports a more dovish foreign policy focused on building alliances with like-minded democracies. He is a strong supporter of NATO.
Abortion: Yang is pro-abortion and supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, which has historically banned taxpayer funding of abortion.
Guns: Yang supports gun control policies that would curtail Americans’ free exercise of their Second Amendment rights. He supports stringent licensing requirements for firearm ownership and has been sympathetic to a possible federal gun buyback program. Yang seems to support a ban on the undefinable sub-class of firearms referred to as so-called “assault weapons” — a line of thought that, if taken to its logical conclusion, could lead to the banning of all semi-automatic firearms in America.