The basic income advocate got further than any previous Asian American candidate for president.
Andrew Yang advocated for a $1,000-a-month universal basic income to all adult Americans, and this bold stance boosted him to the front line, making him an actual contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination. However, Yang suspended his run for the presidency before results came back on the New Hampshire primary night.
Yang was simply known as a two-time author and the founder of the nonprofit Venture for America when he entered the race. VFA helps prepare recent college graduates for careers other than the typical “safe” options like finance, law or consulting. VFA specially builds up and trains graduates for careers as entrepreneurs.
In his 2018 book, “The War on Normal People,” Yang laid out the framework for his “Freedom Dividend” plan: every American adult age 18 to 64 would receive a $1,000-per-month check, no strings attached. It would be funded by a big new sales tax. Yang argued that this Freedom Dividend was a necessary response to unemployment as a result of technology replacing people at jobs.
Yang eventually built up a celebrity following, with figures like Dave Chappelle, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Nicolas Cage, and Rivers Cuomo joining the “Yang Gang.”
Through grassroots fundraising, Yang was able to raise $16.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, far surpassing other conventional candidates. However, the votes didn’t come in as hoped for, and Yang finished in sixth place in Iowa as well as New Hampshire.
Because of those poor performances, Yang decided to drop out from the race.