by Curt Mills
Wednesday, 13
October 2021
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10:45

Andrew Yang: already the most interesting 2024 candidate

The odds are stacked against him, but his new party deserves attention
by Curt Mills

Disillusionment with establishment politics in America is not a new phenomenon. Ever since the founding of the Republic, the tide of populism has ebbed and flowed, but rarely has an outsider candidate been able to capitalise on popular discontent and make it all the way to the White House. 

That hasn’t stopped prominent figures in American life from trying. The most recent example is Andrew Yang — a New York millionaire and now former Democrat who has defected to found his own shop, the Forward Party, this month. 

“We can sense in our country that polarisation is getting worse than ever,” Yang, the former presidential and New York mayoral candidate, told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo this month. “And, unfortunately, the incentives are going to make such that we’re going to wind up with violence, strife and even a new civil war. I mean, it is that serious.”

Few people will dispute Yang’s grave analysis (this author certainly doesn’t). But the question is whether he has the political skill to win without Democratic support. After all, the last independent president of these United States was George Washington. 

No doubt the example of Ross Perot, the enfant-terrible of nineties politics, will be front and centre in Yang’s mind. In the ‘92 election, Perot won nearly 19% of the popular vote — around 19.7 million votes — the highest ever number for a third-party candidate. But in spite of these figures, he failed to secure a single electoral vote.

Given Yang’s performance in the final tallies in 2020 nationally and in 2021 in New York, he’s done little to inspire confidence that he could even muster the votes. A technocratic Asian Gen X-er, he certainly a very different persona from Perot, the swaggering Texan of the Greatest Gen. 

And yet, with America far worse for the wear than in 1992, a lust for this type of politics endures.

Following the announcement of his new party, he was greeted with interest by Fox News. He was surprised, he told Tucker Carlson, how poor a brand Democrats had with working people. Fearing a massive swathe of job losses thanks to the onset of automation, Yang has displayed an interest in talking about issues that other Democrats — and Republicans — don’t. With an incumbent political party committed to a dubious racialist programme led by the country’s oldest-ever president and the other committed to vaccine and voter fraud nihilism, count me among the Americans — however few — who are interested in whatever “Forward” is. 

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William Hickey
William Hickey
11 months ago

I urge half of all Democratic Party voters to support him and his party in every election.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
11 months ago

If nothing else, it will be a burden for the Democrats to falsify HIS votes AND the Republicans.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago

SO WTF are these policies which make Yang the most interesting candidate? They do not seem to be in the article, or any of the links, making this a very odd kind of journalism/opinion piece.

I never really get this writer’s stuff – he tells us what he thinks, but not why, in the sense of presenting an argument with facts, quotes, history, and explanations.

I even watched that remarkably vacuous Youtube link where Yang says he is for things which are good, and against things which are bad, and that we need more than two parties for that reason. It did not leave me thinking him intersting.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Good point – because there will be no easy policy decisions – bad decisions for the past 30 years mean that a certain horse has well bolted – unless i have missed something optimistic somewhere ??

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
11 months ago

Good luck to him. But what a rubbish name for a party.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago

Yes, ‘Forward’ to what exactly? Much like ‘progressivism’ it is never quite clear in which direction we’re going or what the end destination is.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“Forward” is generally shouted when there is a cliff edge in close proximity

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

Yang has interesting ideas and speaks the truth on many issues but he’s not much of a politician, imo. And while he might be a multimillionaire he’s not a multibillionaire like Perot which will limit his ability to self-fund a campaign.
I wish him well but, as others have suggested, his greatest contribution will likely be to siphon off democratic votes.

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

He will take just as many votes from the Reps as the Dems because he will only get the swing voters.

Warren T
Warren T
11 months ago

I can only hope with glee that Yang garners at least 5% of the democrat vote in ’24.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
11 months ago

What exactly is interesting about him? American millionaires are two a penny. Genuine political movements are built from the ground up: They represent the cultural or economic interest of an identifiable group. The odd thing about the US is that it doesn’t actually do real politics. Which is why you need money to succeed in getting elected to some office or other. Those of modest means stand for the office of town dog catcher whilst the serious well hung vie for the presidency. Let me know when anything changes.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
11 months ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

I agree with the first part of your comment, but not the second. How is it that a country of 300 million – with all those self-made millionaires and billionaires – ends up with the choice of one old man who acts like a baby, and another old man who needs a carer?