The entrepreneur Andrew Yang has qualified for next week’s Democratic debate, bringing the lineup to seven and ensuring that the candidates onstage will not all be white, though the lineup still does not include any black or Latino candidates.
Another reverberation from Harris’ departure: with a last minute qualification, Andrew Yang will be the only person of color participating in next week’s Democratic debate.
I’ve spent the past couple days attempting to understand Yang’s surprisingly enduring appeal, and...I guess I can see it. Yang’s signature proposal, a $1,000 per month “Freedom Dividend”, still seems like the wrong prescription for an admittedly serious problem, but there’s something clearly captivating about Yang as a candidate. Listening to his recent interview with David Axerod, I was struck by how personable he seems, and how he legitimately seems to be running for President out of a sense of passion, rather than a naked aspiration towards power. That’s not something you can say for a lot of Yang’s peers in the second-tier bucket of candidates.
Secondly, holy shit the DNC bombed this debate season! It is unconscionable that a party that defines itself by diversity and relies so heavily on minority turnout has a whiter debate stage than the Republicans did in 2016. This is a packed race with a very fluid second-tier, and the DNC should’ve have adjusted their rules to allow Castro, Booker, and Gabbard on the stage a long time ago. Especially when one of the other candidates, Tom Steyer, bought his way on the stage through aggressive ad buys.
January’s debate qualifications haven’t been announced yet. It’s clear something needs to change.