Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Yang Gang’ Shells Out Big Bucks for Promise of Future Free Money

‘This grassroots fundraising total … ensures this campaign will have the funding to compete and outperform expectations through Super Tuesday and beyond…’

'Yang Gang' Shells Out Big Bucks for Promise of Future Free Money
Andrew Yang / IMAGE: CNBC

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The gradual burnout of former front-runner Joe Biden‘s campaign, embroiled in pay-to-play scandals in Ukraine and China, has led many to shift attention to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who currently polls ahead in most surveys of the Democratic presidential primary pool.

But fundraising totals for the third quarter reveal another threat close on her heels in Andrew Yang.

Yang saw a 257 percent increase in fundraising for the quarter, reported Yahoo News.

The number may be misleading—his previous quarterly total was a paltry $2.8 million—the $10 million helps keep him in the conversation for now and could signal increasing momentum. It is just $1 million short of the total pull from political heavyweight Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

“This grassroots fundraising total, with more than $6 million in the bank, ensures this campaign will have the funding to compete and outperform expectations through Super Tuesday and beyond,” Yang’s campaign manager, Zach Graumann, told the New York Times.

By comparison, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (who was forced to suspend his campaign this week due to heart trouble) raised a reported $25.3 million, the largest sum among Democrats and a 39 percent increase from the second quarter.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg—who, like Yang, has appealed to a younger demographic seeking a D.C. outsider with espoused moderate tendencies—reported $19.1 million, though he still polls well below the first tier of presidential hopefuls. The total was a 23 percent drop over his previous fundraising tally.

Like Warren, Buttigieg and others who have enjoyed their ‘audition’ moments, Yang has been regarded as a dark-horse candidate, unlikely to gain any real traction in the crowded field of seasoned politicians.

His signature agenda item—a universal basic income (UBI), paired with a campaign cash giveaway (the legality of which has raised some questions)—appears to resonate even more with younger voters than Warren’s socialist-tinged wealth-redistribution policies.

However, Yahoo said that after two well-received appearances on popular podcasts, “his bold ideas have been garnering attention, especially among the conservative youth of America.”

A business-savvy entrepreneur in the startup tech industry, Yang’s UBI proposals may be the ultimate in entitlement benefits for lower-end wage earners who stand to benefit and the ultimate tax for successful businesses and wealthy 1-percenters. For many in the middle, however, the $12,000 annual stipend—if universally applied—is effectively more like a tax rebate.

Detractors argue that it de-incentivizes the need or willingness to work and could potentially do little more than simply drive up inflation, creating more of a universal government dependency than economic stimulus.

It likely would promote more illegal immigration as well, and would raise questions of exactly how “unconditional” the eligibility really was.

Of course, the price tag—which Yahoo said would be an estimated $2- to $3-trillion per year—might still lead some to wonder where the money would come from.

But younger voters seem particularly open to it, even if it would raise the likelihood of borrowing into the future with massive deficits and inflation. Yang has gained a notable amount of traction through online media—not only podcast, but also memes and other types of platforms that are popular with millennials and post-millennials.

Should Yang rise to the front of the pack, his similarities with Trump as an outsider from the business world may shift the tone of the dialogue away from petty, partisan politics and more toward a long-term model of economic growth and prosperity.

However, several sharp contrasts remain—notably Yang’s relative youth, his tech savvy and his Asian heritage.

On Trump’s side, not only could he leverage his incumbency advantage (especially if the economy continues to flourish), but he also has a substantial lead on all the Democratic candidates in fundraising.

Amid House Democrats’ latest impeachment shenanigans, Trump was able to raise $15 million over the course of a single week. That brought his quarterly total up to a reported $125 million—which was more than double that of the top three Democrats combined.

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