Andrew Yang’s Movement Could Put A UBI Candidate In Congress As Early As This Year, Says Advocate

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang greets supporters in who are holding signs in front of a polling station on February 11, 2020 in Keene, New Hampshire.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although businessman Andrew Yang‘s campaign has come to an end, his supporters are already looking toward the future. Many appear to be looking to focus their efforts on promoting his signature proposal — a universal basic income (UBI) for every American — and helping those with similar beliefs get into Congress.

During a discussion between actor Paget Kagy and UBI advocate Scott Santens — both prominent Yang backers — Santens expressed his hope of getting a UBI supported in Congress by 2020 or 2022.

“We could effectively get our first major UBI candidate in 2020 or 2022 as far as Congress goes. We could have our AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] — like someone who ends up having like a very loud voice who was previously like a bartender or something else,” he said, in a YouTube clip of the conversation.

Santens shared his belief in the benefit of having people like Ocasio-Cortez in politics.

“We could have that in 2020, or we could have that now, we could have that in a couple years from now,” he added, noting that even a successful Yang run in 2024 would benefit from the groundwork of pushing UBI advocates into government.

As noted on the campaign page of congressional candidate and UBI supporter Ryan Blevins, there are many pro-UBI candidates aiming to enter Congress, including James Ellars, David Kim, Brianna Wu, and Jonathan Herzog. Such candidates are spread across states like California, Massachusetts, and New York.

Yang recently said he would support any candidate who backs a UBI and said he would hit the campaign trail “the next day” after such an endorsement. As of now, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate that has expressed support for UBI during her campaign and recently doubled down on this following the entrepreneur’s exit from the presidential race.

In the past, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had voiced his support for the proposal, although he now touts his federal jobs guarantee (FJG). Still, some of his supporters have felt the same way about a UBI, as well as their desire for the senator to do the same.

“Much respect to @AndrewYang,” tweeted author and chef Eddie Huang after Yang suspended his campaign. “He ran a brave campaign with fresh ideas that I hope @BernieSanders will consider absorbing, especially UBI.”

In a recent episode of his eponymous YouTube show, progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski, who backs Sanders, also stated his preference of a UBI over an FJG.

In an Emerson College poll from late last month, the data revealed that the majority of people surveyed were in favor of a UBI of $1,000 per month for all U.S. citizens over the age of 18, as Yang promoted. Specifically, 53 percent said they supported the proposal, 30 percent opposed it, and 17 percent were unsure.