After disastrous showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Andrew Yang has announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. While this seems a logical outcome and an expected by-product of the primary system, the Yang Gang and other measured voters may see this exit as the beginning of the end of a moderate option.
Whilst more restrained than his identity-politics-obsessed rivals, Yang did have one platform that went far into left field. His key policy of a Universal Basic Income – or Freedom Dividend, as he calls it – was seen by many as an idea whose time has come, even gaining some traction with Republican voters. Yet the tech entrepreneur, despite a strong showing in early debates, could just not beat the electoral arithmetic. In his final speech as a 2020 presidential candidate, he said:
“While there is great work yet to be done, you know I am the math guy. It is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race.
I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race we will not win… And so tonight, I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”
A Message to Dems
The self-professed “math guy” has a valid point. If a candidate fails to win delegates, fails to bring in the major donors, and ultimately fails to excite the voter base, then keeping a campaign going can only damage those still in the race. A percentage point here, half a point there, and the electoral equation goes out the window.
To linger on in a race where every point counts shows a certain selfishness. Senator Elizabeth Warren must surely be wondering if her continued involvement could damage the electoral chances of those left behind.
A Once Solid Campaign
Yang’s promising start in the race appeared marred by an ever-increasing willingness to lurch to the left when against the ropes. As Liberty Nation’s Andrew Moran wrote back in November:
“For much of the primary season so far, Andrew Yang has distinguished himself as one of the few sane candidates running for president. Unfortunately, like a patient who has contracted influenza from strangers who refuse to cover their mouths when they sneeze, the entrepreneur and philanthropist has caught the far-left virus with a mild case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. After every debate performance, he sounds more like his rivals – and that is not good.”
The Yang Gang comprised not only moderate Democrat voters, but also a smattering of progressives, and even some Republicans. It was a campaign that could have gone some way towards bridging the political divide. But like everything else, if it doesn’t fit the party line, it’s got to go.
Not the Right Time
Joe Biden is performing below expectations; Warren’s campaign appears dead in the water. Bernie is on the rise, and Pete Buttigieg is giving the old Vermont socialist a run for his money. Andrew Yang was a credible candidate that could have done well if not for a crowded field packed by desperate hopefuls, but the reality is that this wasn’t his time.
The DNC is holding out hopes for either a Biden resurgence or Bloomberg groundswell. Yang would have made it far more difficult for either of these two contenders to break free from the pack. As other candidates begin to realize that this race is not about them, the field will get thinner and thinner, but only if those with stars in their eyes are willing to put the party before personal interest.
Read more from Mark Angelides.