Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently jumped into fourth place in a new California Emerson poll, putting him behind Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren, and ahead of Kamala Harris — who serves as a Senator for the state. His campaign has been steadily gaining ground since earlier this year and appears to be growing faster in the recent months, putting him in sixth place nationwide in polls with 3.3 percent support.
Although the 44-year-old serial entrepreneur has a ways to go before he breaks into the ranks of frontrunners, his campaign’s manager, Zach Graumann, tweeted an interaction between Yang and a reporter that suggests the rising candidate is playing to win.
“Are you surprised you’re doing so well in the polls?” the reporter asked.
“I’m genuinely not. And I won’t be surprised when I win, either,” Yang responded.
Yang filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) back in November of 2017 to participate in the Democratic primaries. The founder of Venture for America, he has no political experience and gained much of his early traction via the internet on podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience and the radio show The Breakfast Club. His strong online following, the Yang Gang, appears to be continuing to grow at a steady rate along with his campaign.
The rising candidate’s campaign centers around a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 monthly for every American over the age of 18, branded the “Freedom Dividend,” and he used his recent appearance on the debate stage to offer a giveaway of 10 families $1,000 monthly for one year. Yang also garnered attention by revealing that he plans to sit down with recently fired SNL addition Shane Gillis, who was removed after racist comments resurfaced, including comments directed at Yang himself.
Saagar Enjeti recently wrote in a piece for The Hill that addressed Yang’s decision to meet with Gillis and his belief that he shouldn’t be fired. According to Enjeti, one of the primary reasons the entrepreneur’s campaign has been such a success is its positivity.
“The relentless positivity of Andrew Yang is something that I want to go out of my way to highlight because it seems so lost from our politics today.”
And while Enjeti expressed his skepticism at UBI and even admits he doesn’t believe it will work, he highlights the importance of what he believes Yang has tapped into.
“But the man is onto something: I think it has a lot less to do with UBI, and instead is a recognition of the rapidly changing pace of American life and what that might mean for all of us,” he said.