Back in January, a little-known presidential candidate with just 27,000 Twitter followers appeared on Freakonomics Radio, one of the most popular podcasts in the country. Today, that candidate has more than a million followers and a slot in the most selective Democratic debate. Andrew Yang returns to Freakonomics Radio, in an interview conducted last week from the campaign trail in Iowa.
On the new episode, Andrew Yang explains why he thinks his ideas have taken off and offers some thoughts he hasn’t said elsewhere, including his strategy for tonight’s debate and what he thinks the Democratic Party is getting wrong — plus a colorful hypothetical imagining how he’d respond if Trump asked him to be his vice president.
Yang on UBI
The full episode is available now here and on all podcast apps: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/andrew-yang-update/
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See select excerpts below and let me know if you’d like a transcript of the full interview.
On why he thinks most big-name Democrats disagree with his proposal for a “Freedom Dividend”:
“Unfortunately, I think putting money into people’s hands is at odds with the Democratic Party, because the Democratic Party has a lot of faith in programs and institutions, where it’s more likely to champion something like free college, even though only 33 percent of us will go to college, than just putting cash into people’s hands.
There’s a mistrust of people in the Democratic Party that I frankly don’t understand, because I feel like people are the point. … It’s one reason to me why Trump won, is that he was saying something that many Americans agreed with, which is that D.C. has stopped serving the American people. … Unfortunately, the Democratic response seems to be, ‘D.C. is not the problem, Trump is the problem.’ And then the solutions they recommend seem like more layers of government. And I’m concerned that if that’s the primary message, then we may end up losing to Trump yet again in 2020.”
Andrew Yang on impeachment
On the potential voters that aren’t yet supporting him, Andrew Yang stated:
“The more people hear about us in the campaign, the more they like us, and so we’re weakest among voters who have not heard of us. I guess that might seem kind of obvious. And the people that haven’t heard from us tend to be older. They tend to be women. They tend to be people that aren’t getting their information from the Internet. So we need to do more in that direction.”
When asked what he would do, hypothetically, if President Trump asked him to be his running mate, Yang said “I’d say thanks, but no thanks.” But on second thought, Andrew Yang offered an alternate scenario: “Tell you what, if I did become his V.P., it would be like a WWE-style thing, where I’d hit him over the head with a steel chair, take off my shirt, and it turns out I’ve got a Democrat blue jersey on underneath that thing. That would be hysterical. He would bring me in, we’d have a ceremony. And then while he’s gloating to the press, I’m taking off whatever jacket I have on and then I pick up the steel chair.”