New York businessman Andrew Yang kicked off the final night of the Democratic National Convention with a speech that, if nothing else, kept his name alive as part of the future of the Democratic Party.
“You might know me as the guy who ran for president talking about MATH and the future. Unfortunately for all of us, that future is now. The pandemic has accelerated everything,” said Yang.
Yang, who spoke at the start of the session and introduced emcee Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was a late addition to the DNC speaker lineup. He expressed frustration at being left off the program, particularly in light of the choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as Biden’s running mate. Harris and Yang were the first two Asian-Americans to seriously contend for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"I've got to be honest I kind of expected to speak,” Yang tweeted after the speaker list was announced. Two days later, Yang was added to the lineup.
“I know many politicians promise and then fail to deliver. I understand if you voted for Trump, or didn’t vote at all, back in 2016. Many of us have gotten tired of our leaders seeming far removed from our everyday lives. We despair that our government will ever rise to the challenges of our time,” said Yang.
Though virtually unknown to the public and by all accounts a Washington outsider, Yang won a passionate following of mostly young voters (the Yang Gang) and a surprising friendship with Biden during the primaries. In December, Yang told Yahoo News he considered the former vice president one of his closest political allies.
Now, that bond perseveres.
Yang and Biden, as well as their advisers, frequently discuss Yang’s key concerns: the impact of automation on manufacturing jobs, holding corporations accountable, and providing guaranteed income to Americans.
“We are here tonight to celebrate Joe Biden’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for president,” he said. “I have gotten to know both Joe and Kamala on the trail over the past year — the way you really get to know a person when the cameras are off, the crowds are gone, and it’s just you and them. They understand the problems we face. They are parents and patriots who want the best for our country. And if we give them the chance, they will fight for us and our families every single day.”
Yang, who had never run for office before, has not denied rumors that he is toying with the idea of running for New York City mayor in 2021 and has recently hinted that there might be a place for him within a Biden-Harris administration — though it’s unclear in what capacity.
“Our future is now, and it is daunting,” Yang said at the convention. “But I ask you tonight to join me to help Joe and Kamala fight for the promise of America, turn the page for our country, and lead us forward to a future we will actually be proud to leave to our children.”
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