Andrew Yang Qualifies For The Fall Democratic Presidential Debates

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks at the South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang took to Twitter Monday to reveal that he has qualified for the fall debates, just two days before he takes the Wednesday debate stage. The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur already surpassed the 130,000 donor requirements and has now hit 2 percent in four approved polls, with the most recent being the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Fellow candidate Cory Booker also met the requirements for the fall debates Monday by surpassing 130,000 donors. Per The Hill, Booker is the seventh candidate to qualify for the fall debates, which are set to take place in September and October. As of now, the others taking the stage are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke, which means Yang is the eighth candidate to qualify for the polls after Booker.

Yang has been steadily climbing in the polls. Per The Inquisitr, an Emerson Polling survey earlier this month put him at 3 percent, right behind Beto O’Rourke’s 4 percent and Pete Buttigieg’s 5 percent, and more recent polls have put him even higher. His climb is impressive considering OpenSecrets reports he receives no outside money for his campaign and rides the wave of his grassroots supporters.

Despite being a longshot to win, Yang’s signature policy proposal of a universal basic income (UBI) or $1,000 a month for every American over the age of 18 — and his plan to tax tech giants like Google and Amazon to cover a good deal of the plan’s $1.8 trillion cost — has gained lots of traction. It also helps that Yang has the strong following of the “Yang Gang” behind him and a hefty policy page covering everything from climate change and southern border security to addressing the opioid crisis.

During a recent Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, Yang addressed the difficulty of getting the proposal through a Mitch McConnell-led Senate, which has been dubbed “McConnell’s graveyard” by certain lawmakers.

“For the Republicans, they’ll be like, ‘Wait a minute. Do I really want to sabotage the Dividend that will help my constituents in rural areas and areas that have been devastated by automation?'” Yang said in response to a question about how he’ll pass UBI through Congress.

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“Imagine their offices back home and phone lines,” he said. “Cash is a hard thing to demonize. It’s tough for Mitch McConnell to argue, ‘The money will hurt you.'”

Yang acknowledged that he’s aware of the realities of obstruction in the Senate — almost all the bills passed by the Democratic House of Representatives have been blocked by McConnell — but expressed optimism that Republicans would warm to his policy.

“Philosophically Republicans who are for small government should not mind resources being channeled directly to people. It doesn’t create a new bureaucracy. It truly returns power to the people.”