A recent report from The Daily Beast delves into what Donald Trump’s campaign is saying about 2020 Democratic presidential candidates behind closed doors. Mostly, it outlines Trump’s comments about South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is allegedly not much on the president’s radar. According to The Daily Beast’s Trump campaign source, there isn’t much game plan for the 37-year-old politician, who top campaign staff reportedly believe is a non-contender in the Democratic primary due to low poll numbers among black voters.
“There are few who scare us less than Mayor Pete,” a senior Trump re-election campaign official reportedly said, citing Buttigieg’s low African American support before touching on candidate Andrew Yang.
“[Andrew] Yang scares us more than Mayor Pete.”
Yang is currently in sixth place in the Democratic primary. The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur’s campaign hones in on many of the same problems that Trump did in 2016 — notably those affecting working-class Americans — and some of his supporters believe his bipartisan appeal makes him an ideal opponent for Trump in 2020.
Back in September, an Emerson College poll put Yang ahead of Trump by eight points in a hypothetical head-to-head — better than all other Democratic contenders save for Joe Biden — and pushed Yang’s supporters to spread #YangBeatsTrump. Despite the hashtag push, Trump has yet to address Yang publicly. In one instance, Trump responded to conservative journalist and political commentator Kassy Dillon, who suggested that she would prefer Yang’s company over Trump’s.
“Here’s the thing: I’m voting for Trump but I wouldn’t be friends with Trump. I’m not voting for Yang but I’d definitely be his friend,” Dillon tweeted.
“I’m OK with that!” Trump responded.
The encounter again pushed Yang’s supporters to spread “#TrumpFearsYang,” and not long after, the presidential candidate responded to Trump directly.
“Someone is hearing footsteps,” Yang tweeted.
VIDEO: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang says that Trump is not the cause of our problems. pic.twitter.com/kj9G9dGK3l
— KAMC News (@KAMCNews) December 6, 2019
Writing for Forbes, Princeton University professor Kevin Kruse highlights how Yang’s approach to dealing with Trump differs from other Democratic presidential candidates. Kruse notes that Yang avoids attacking Trump — purportedly an indirect attack on the president’s supporters — and instead focuses on his universal basic income (UBI) proposal and the mass layoffs and store closures affecting the economy. Kruse also notes that Yang’s narrative paints automation as the villain as opposed to immigrants.
“The only hope of changing the minds of Trump supporters is to validate their problems and fears, point to a new villain and a bold solution, and finally, offer a meme-worthy compelling vision of the future,” Kruse wrote, noting an Economist/YouGov poll at the time that highlighted Yang and Bernie Sanders’ unique appeal to previous Trump voters.