Andrew Yang for mayor? The Yang Gang is seeking to occupy New York City in this summer’s electoral race, potentially putting their guy in place to succeed outgoing Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio. After achieving national name recognition during the 2020 Democratic primaries, mainly for being the candidate to offer Americans free money for existing, Yang is vying for one of America’s most powerful positions. Can Yang transfer his die-hard followers from the presidential race to local politics? If modern U.S. history is any indicator, the national stage is a successful springboard to political victory and adding to the campaign war chest.
Andrew Yang vs. The World
Is it too early for the polls? If there is anything the left and the right adore, it is polling data and betting odds for future elections. Research firms are already surveying Americans for the 2024 primaries (former President Donald Trump lead in most). So, what do the numbers say about the June 2021 New York City mayoral contest?
The latest poll came from Slingshot Strategies (Jan. 15-19). It found that the entrepreneur and presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship is at the head of the pack, with 25%. This is followed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (17%) and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (12%). When these candidates go head-to-head, Yang secures at least 48% of the vote.
Since he hardly made a dent in the 2020 Democratic primaries, the mainstream media refrained from engaging in a full-frontal assault on the Yang campaign. The debate moderators usually allotted Yang only a few minutes of speaking time while allowing President Joe Biden to spout gibberish, Vice President Kamala Harris to laugh incessantly, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to deliver crafted and hebetudinous platitudes. Now that Yang is a frontrunner in a crucial race, is the press digging up any controversies?
The Bro Culture at Yang HQ
According to Business Insider, Yang’s White House campaign was engulfed in a “bro culture,” where the bullying was so intense that some female staffers revealed they were emotionally scarred. The website reported that one senior female official was placed on the sidelines in favor of a younger man, while another woman claimed she was terminated for reporting social media harassment from Yang’s supporters. It was so toxic for some women that they sought professional counseling.
“The problem is, in general, this campaign is being run by bros who promote bros,” one former presidential campaign staffer told the news outlet.
In a statement to the New York Post, Yang admitted that he failed to ensure all employees were “heard and respected,” adding that his campaign team failed to take into “account for how much our male-dominated culture alienated female and non-binary employees. I wish we had. For that I am deeply sorry.”
The New York Daily News recently obtained a copy of an 11-point contract that requires staffers to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). The arrangement also contained a noteworthy conclusion: “I recognize the campaign’s right to proceed directly against me to obtain both injunctive relief and reasonable monetary damages if I violate the commitment listed above in any way.”
The publication learned days later that Yang’s campaign would cease utilizing NDAs for volunteers. Press Secretary Jake Sporn confirmed that the main objective of ditching these hush contracts was to send the message to volunteers that discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct would not be tolerated. Sporn told the newspaper:
“The remaining sections were there to protect all staff and volunteers from inadvertently running afoul of any rules regarding campaign finance or restrictions on coordination with any outside groups. These agreements are no longer used by the campaign.”
Yang also faced criticism that he did not vote in many national and local races. Yang told The Hill that he did not vote in the 2000 and 2012 presidential elections, as well as New York City mayoral races between 2001 and 2017. But he says times have changed and that “now we’re in a crisis,” noting that “I think a lot of people are very galvanized to bring in a different sort of leadership.”
A Movement or Political Careerism?
Yang was often described as the internet’s favorite candidate. But did he initiate a movement with his White House bid last year? Yang proposed as his chief campaign plank the Freedom Dividend, also known as a universal basic income. Aside from that, he failed to offer anything substantive or different from his opponents. He adequately addressed society’s symptoms, from Middle America’s woes to the Democratic Party’s disdain for working-class folk, but Yang never offered solutions except for free money.
Many are hoping that some young blood in politics rather than the gray-haired Swamp lifers may help bring fresh relevance to their constituents. By standing at the podium, Yang garnered enough attention to become a mainstay in politics and lay the foundation for a new and likely successful political career.
Read more from Andrew Moran.