Andrew Yang Channels Rocky in Philadelphia

It took place just steps away from the spot that Jason Kelce and the Philadelphia Eagles capped their Super Bowl victory in 2018. Andrew Yang, 2020 Presidential Candidate, visited Philadelphia. The rally was held on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Kelce famously talked about all of the things that people had said about why the Eagles would never win the Super Bowl. Yang spoke as an underdog who is starting to believe that the momentum is swinging his way. And the polls are starting to support his case. 

Andrew Yang, the evangelist of a new concept in economic policy, has been rising dramatically in the polls. Both nationally and in the key early states for the Democratic Party, Yang’s rise is striking. The momentum of rising to 7% in a recent poll, despite a fraction of the airtime and coverage by mainstream media, has been nothing short of dramatic. Check out the Gallery from Tuesday, September 17th via The Painted Lines staff photographer Wayne Terry.

What is behind Yang’s rise?

Watching Andrew Yang speak, you are immediately struck by the simplicity and depth of his message. “It’s worse than you think” is a common refrain as Yang talks about the challenges of a future where automation puts millions of lives and livelihoods at risk. One has to wonder if his experience as a venture capitalist has honed his ability to make a point in a concise way that resonates because it allows the audience to connect the dots themselves. 

He is starting to have enough of a following to do call and response work with the crowd. As he discusses Amazon paying no taxes despite massive revenues, the crowd seemed to be able to respond en masse with tagline responses. This is a sign of someone who is not just growing in polls, but forming deep connections with his supporters. The simplicity of the UBI concept is easy for virtually anyone to connect to how it could impact their lives. 

How would $1,000 per month change your life? 

The Freedom Dividend

At the core of Yang’s proposal of a way to meet the challenges of an economic future is the Freedom Dividend, a form of Universal Basic Income. This graphic connects the Freedom Dividend to the potential impacts on Americans at various rungs of the economic ladder. 

This concept is not new, as Yang himself points out. The founding fathers discussed this at the nation’s inception, with Thomas Paine being an advocate for a shared dividend among all citizens. Martin Luther King in the 1960s also talked about the need. Today, this is a favored solution to a very complex set of economic issues associated with the technology industrial revolution. 

A list of notable tech sector advocates includes: James Baker (Ronald Reagan’s Treasury Secretary) and Tesla and Paypal founder, Elon Musk. It also includes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Milton Friedman, noted conservative free market capitalist economist. 

Broad Appeal 

At one point Yang, who was noticeably more comfortable and at ease in front of a crowd compared to last month, called out to his crowd citing the diversity of thought. When he called out his Republican supporters, he got cheers from 20-30% of the crowd. He then called out independents and got a roar, and finished with Democrats where he had the smallest cheers. This is the fascinating point to consider with Yang. Despite polling just 7% so far nationally in Democratic polls, Yang has a wide base of appeal. His supporters defy the normal duopolistic paradigm of party politics. 

In multiple polls, Yang beats Trump in a head-to-head matchup. He has support from over 10% of former Trump voters which leads the Democratic field. Citing this statistic, Yang said, “That means, if it comes down to me versus Trump, we win!”