Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is ending his presidential campaign.
“I am so incredibly proud of this campaign and what we’ve accomplished together,” Yang said Tuesday night in Manchester, New Hampshire. “We have touched and improved millions of lives and moved this country we love so much in the right direction. And while there is great work left 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.”
The announcement came as polls closed in the state, the first Democratic primary of the 2020 race.
Yang said Tuesday he would support whomever won the Democratic nomination, but urged his fellow candidates to look beyond President Donald Trump as they craft their visions for America. He told The Washington Post he had not made a decision regarding any endorsements, but would be open to joining another candidate as a running mate or serving in a Democratic Cabinet.
“Donald Trump is not the cause of all of the problems,” Yang said. “He is a symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years. We must address the real problems that affect our people and offer solutions to actually solve them.”
A former tech executive, Yang officially declared his candidacy through the Federal Election Commission in 2017, but his campaign gained most of its momentum in early 2018 as news outlets and voters inquired about the details of his plan to provide Americans with what is known as a “Universal Basic Income.”
As automation increasingly replaces American workers, Yang campaigned on solving the problem by using the federal government to distribute $1,000 per month to Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. Yang called the payments a “Freedom Dividend.”
“This is a change we have to make,” Yang said during a debate with other Democratic candidates in June 2019. “Technology is now automating away millions of American jobs.”
He touted efforts to bring such conversations to the forefront of the Democratic debate during his speech on Tuesday, saying his efforts to pay 13 families the dividend was one of the things he was “most proud of” during the race.
“Our signature proposal, universal basic income, has become part of the mainstream conversation,” Yang said. “Without a doubt, we accelerated the eradication of poverty by years, maybe even generations.”
Yang’s $1,000 stimulus was not the only divergent aspect of his campaign. Much in the mold of a “political outsider,” Yang differentiated himself from fellow Democratic candidates in temperament as well as policy.
Throughout his campaign, Yang’s polling numbers hovered around the low single digits. He tried to distance himself from the Democratic Party, saying his stances were “not left or right,” but “forward.” Yang showed more eagerness to engage conservative and far-right media outlets than most of his competitors in the Democratic field. As a candidate, he sat for interviews on Fox News, Breitbart and with conservative podcast host Ben Shapiro.
“Endings are hard, New Hampshire, but this is not an ending, this is a beginning,” Yang said. “This is just the starting line. This campaign has awakened something fundamental in this country, and in ourselves. The Yang Gang has fundamentally shifted the direction of this country and transformed our politics, and we are only continuing to grow.”
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