Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said at his Friday rally in Austin that as an Asian-American who likes math, he is the opposite of President Donald Trump.
Since announcing his candidacy in 2017, Yang said he has accumulated a significant following and grows more and more serious about the presidential election every day. At press time, Yang had garnered over $500,000 in donations and nearly reached his goal of 65,000 individual donors, according to his campaign website.
In addition to being the first Asian-American man to run for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, Yang is a former corporate attorney, an entrepreneur and a father of two.
In 2011, Yang founded Venture for America, a program that places college graduates in startups in emerging and recovering U.S. cities for two years to increase job growth and accelerate economic development.
“I was a lawyer for five months and walked out,” Yang said. “I said, ‘This is a terrible job’ ... And I thought (instead) I should be starting businesses in places that need it — places like Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore or Birmingham. We needed to create a path for people to do that.”
Yang said his entrepreneurial experiences have shaped his perspective on the U.S. economy and led to what he champions as “The big three: Medicare for all, the freedom dividend and the American scorecard.”
The freedom dividend — the central point of Yang’s platform — is a monthly $1,000 stipend given to Americans that Yang said will help redistribute unclaimed taxes by technology giants like Amazon and Netflix back to Americans.
“We’re going to push our economy to the point where human labor is less and less central and more and more of America is struggling,” Yang said as a reason for his freedom dividend.
Economics senior Hannah Varghese attended the rally, and said Yang’s optimism for instituting economic changes was inspirational as he puts a minority face in American politics.
“It is great that someone represents Asian-Americans ... a lot of Asian-Americans can be overlooked sometimes,” Varghese said.
Biology senior Janine Arounyarath, who also attended the rally, said listening to Yang inspired her to become more politically involved.
“I wasn’t politically active before, but after seeing (Yang), I decided now would be a good time to get involved,” Arounyarath said. “For me, I think there’s been a push for racial representation in Hollywood and media. Having someone Asian running for president would inspire and push others to try for more things and run for higher offices.”