Who is Andrew Yang?
March 13, 2019 2:47 AM   Subscribe

Andrew Yang is running for the Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential candidate on the platform of Universal Basic Income, Medicare For All, and Human-Centered Capitalism. The Asian-American entrepreneur and founder of the nonprofit Venture for America, reached 65,000 unique donors on Monday, qualifying him for the first round of the Democratic primary debates. His signature UBI proposal, the Freedom Dividend, aims to give each American between the ages 18 to 64 a check of $1,000 a month to help with the oncoming economic disruption caused by automation, which he views as an imminent threat to society. Over the past month, with appearances on the Joe Rogan Experience and The Breakfast Club, Yang's exposure has increased dramatically, leading to a sudden intense online following, including on 4chan, Reddit, and other centers of meme-creation. Some of these meme creators, erstwhile supporters of Donald Trump and alt-right trolls, have become converts to the $1000-a-month pledge, and have joined the "Yang Gang", the campaign's grassroots following. A subset of the memes created reflected their far right views and have since been condemned strongly by the candidate himself, and efforts within the Yang Gang have been made towards. Despite this deplorable association, pundits ask: why is interest in Andrew Yang surging?

The idiosyncratic Yang has 77 other proposals on his policy page, ranging from requiring a resident White House psychiatrist, to marijuana legalization and pardoning of all minor drug offenders, to creating a Local Journalism Fund, to mandating the NCAA pay its athletes. The candidate has even called for UFC fighters to be unionized. However, the Freedom Dividend continues to be his highest-priority policy, and he is currently paying two families a thousand dollars a month to prove the efficacy of UBI.

While the interest in the campaign has just exploded, a few commentators have written about him:

Vox offers a detailed profile by Dylan Matthews of the candidate's background, his platform, and the meme controversy.

National Review has a surprisingly in-depth take by Theodore Kupfer on why Yang- and the Freedom Dividend- has become so popular with the young and disaffected men who used to make memes for MAGA.

Asian American awareness, let alone interest, in Andrew Yang, is not yet prevalent. However, he has appeared on the comedic duo Fung Brothers' YouTube channel, and has made some speeches with Asian American groups.

Wesley Yang, Asian-American writer: "the Asian-American, precisely because he is neither loved nor feared by anyone, can become the universal figure in American politics and life -- the compromise candidate for a polarized electorate"

and: "Trump reminded voters that they could install whomever the wished into the presidency. He relied on his pre-existing celebrity to overcome the political establishment. Yang is showing that a person w/o celebrity can create it on the open platforms of the Internet."

Murtaza Mohammad Hussain of the Intercept: 'Looking at @AndrewYangVFA’s platform I find it admirably straightforward. No more grand ideological crusades (most of which have proven hollow and unappealing anyways), just guarantee everybody healthcare and $1000 a month. This is an appealing “End of History” platform.'

Populism Updates: 'Andrew Yang is essentially a pirate politics movement in the United States'
posted by Apocryphon (157 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
No more billionaires, in politics or anywhere else.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:50 AM on March 13 [22 favorites]


He's probably not a billionaire. His biggest business success was selling Manhattan Prep to Kaplan- test preparation is a big industry, but it's a far cry from being CEO of Starbucks, Bain Capital, Godfathers Pizza, or other ventures. He then went on to spend his full time on his nonprofit. Doesn't really seem like the run-of-the-mill CEO candidate.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:53 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


How well have the people of Iowa/New Hampshire/SC been receiving his visits?
posted by Harry Caul at 3:20 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


The guy pushing Medicare-For-All and UBI is the compromise candidate? Interest is this dude is "surging" because his PredictIt shares are 7 cents apiece? He's banking on manufacturing his own celebrity by going on Joe Rogan and Fung Brothers? His pioneering study of the efficacy of a UBI is based on a sample size of two families?

Don't get me wrong, I generally agree with the guy's politics, but this... seems like kind of a weird framing.
posted by Mayor West at 3:42 AM on March 13 [14 favorites]


It's surging insofar a nearly complete no-name who wasn't a CEO of a famous company, who isn't a famous neurosurgeon or Oprah's spiritual advisor, is going to the primary debates (and polling at 1% on Monmouth over Gillibrand). And it's not how much the PredictIt shares cost, but where those shares are ranked in comparison to the other candidates'. Going on Joe Rogan's podcast did give him a bump, but arguably The Breakfast Club is even more important for the 2020 presidential elections. Nate Silver is going to cover Yang. And there's the whole meme civil war right now in the trollsphere. Interest in Yang may be an almost localized to the internet phenomenon right now, but it's still surging- for the internet- and so deserves some inspection.

All of the opinion Tweets I linked to are parts of threads which might give a little further clarification.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:52 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Currently viewing the Rogan piece. So far it contains a great deal of Andrew Yang being straightforward and matter-of-fact and very little of Joe Rogan being an asshole. If you've no idea of who Andrew Yang is or what drives his policy platform it seems like a reasonable place to start.
posted by flabdablet at 3:56 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


It is fine and good that eligibility for office is predicated on fundraising.
posted by pompomtom at 4:18 AM on March 13 [13 favorites]


Can anyone tell if this is the kind of UBI that is used to help people or if it’s the kind of UBI that’s used as an excuse to cut everything else? Much as I am in favor of giving folks stability I worry that it’ll be jumped on by those who’d like to erode everything else.
posted by aesop at 4:19 AM on March 13 [14 favorites]


His proposal is that the Freedom Dividend is opt-in, because it would be either $1k or existing welfare programs- the idea is that if your current received benefits total less than $1k, you would simply take the cash, freeing up the benefits from the programs to go to someone else, and saving money. If your benefits are already more than that amount, you would simply keep your benefits and not take the FD. It's touted as one of the ways how the proposal would pay for itself, as per the FAQ.

The idea, of course, much like most of the other policies, can be further examined and questioned (as the Vox article does somewhat). But it's not the only proposal for UBI out there, far from it.

It is fine and good that eligibility for office is predicated on fundraising.

It's about individual donors, though. Candidates are eligible even if all 65k people gave $1 a piece.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:24 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


> His proposal is that the Freedom Dividend is opt-in, because it would be either $1k or existing welfare programs- the idea is that if your current received benefits total less than $1k, you would simply take the cash, freeing up the benefits from the programs to go to someone else, and saving money.

ah. so Yang is pushing the libertarian nonsense UBI, instead of the actual UBI.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:48 AM on March 13 [37 favorites]


Also briefly covered on this week's Chapo.

Their take away was that UBI from tech folks is usually the "bad" AEI/Charles Murray style. I don't know though, Yang seems compassionate enough.

Seems like a way of avoiding necessary big structural changes with a slow drip of bribery. I'm sure if we amortized a UBI of 1,000 against actually taxing billionaires, enforcing anti-trust and tamping down crony capitalism, this is a great value for the 1%.
posted by Telf at 4:50 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


UBI for those between ages 18 and 64? It looks like 65- and 66-year-olds will have to get a job until Social Security kicks in.
posted by Miss Cellania at 5:01 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


ah. so Yang is pushing the libertarian nonsense UBI, instead of the actual UBI.

Not exactly. It’s more like a weak middle ground.
Now, the second source of money is that right now we spend almost $800 billion on welfare programs. And many people are receiving more than $1,000 in current benefits. So, we’re going to leave all the programs alone. But if you think $1,000 cash would be better than what you’re currently receiving, then you can opt in and your current benefits disappear. So that reduces the cost of the freedom dividend by between $500 and $600 billion.
There was some other interview or podcast where he described negative income tax that gets rid of existing welfare programs as a stupid idea. I don’t think his UBI is meant to be a Trojan Horse to gut existing programs, especially since he’s for M4A. The bigger issue is his support for a VAT, because in his view that would be a better way to tax big tech corporations than income tax.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:04 AM on March 13


it seems like a reasonable place to start.

Unless you think Joe Rogan is a fucking jagoff and can't sit through 30 seconds of him.

From the peripheral chatter everything I know about Yang so far is "techno-utopian bro who's never had a civic job and made his piece on standardized testing, and whose ideas about how others behave always assume a spherical cow."

Un-enthused.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:05 AM on March 13 [18 favorites]


Any UBI that isn't part of an anti-capitalist framework is a giant subsidy to landlords.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:10 AM on March 13 [45 favorites]


I'm sure if UBI rolls out, companies like Aramark and CoreCivic, (The same folks that run privatised prison services.) will start offering all inclusive "lifestyle package deals" for like $900 USD/month.

They'll include a studio cell with good broadband and a cable package and daily meal deliveries right up to your room, along with, possibly a canteen. There will be a perfunctory gym and some basic green space available as well. You wouldn't own anything in your apartment, but it would be mostly provided for you. Maybe the deluxe version includes an annual week long cruise to a company-owned island.

You'd have the option of just doing direct deposit into their accounts and would get bonus company scrip. (Block chain!)
posted by Telf at 5:16 AM on March 13 [17 favorites]


He’s for abolishing private prisons, so those corporations probably would need to pivot.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:21 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


> I'm sure if UBI rolls out, companies like Aramark and CoreCivic, (The same folks that run privatised prison services.) will start offering all inclusive "lifestyle package deals" for like $900 USD/month.

They'll include a studio cell with good broadband and a cable package and daily meal deliveries right up to your room, along with, possibly a canteen. There will be a perfunctory gym and some basic green space available as well. You wouldn't own anything in your apartment, but it would be mostly provided for you. Maybe the deluxe version includes an annual week long cruise to a company-owned island.


okay but only if they promise not to turn me into a horse
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:23 AM on March 13 [39 favorites]


How well have the people of Iowa/New Hampshire/SC been receiving his visits?

I covered one of his visits to NH a month ago and there were 15-20 people at each event on a weekday afternoon. People were receptive to his ideas and liked how detailed some of his proposals are, but worried about electability, how well-known he is, etc. People ask Warren about her electability, too, so make of that what you will, especially this early. It always seems like a specious metric to me.

I was the only media there for one Yang event, but NBC had a large crew doing a special piece on him at a couple other events. Pretty small turnout compared to the Harris, Warren, Moulton, and Gillibrand events I've covered in the last month.

Of course, at this time in the 2016 cycle, Trump was playing to similarly small crowds or sometimes even fewer people in NH. I started the 2016 coverage late, so never saw Trump with a crowd smaller than about 200, but friends tell me they were at some of his campaign events early on where you could count the attendees on a couple of hands.
posted by msbrauer at 5:36 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


The alt-right situation is terrible, and Yang needs to go further in condemning their support, but that is a deeply messed up way of referring to an Asian American whose stated reason, among others, for running is to protect minorities from potential whitelash in the resulting economic disruptions that are to come (whether from automation or from climate change), and who hasn’t exactly been silent in calling out how those disruptions also impact POC.

You might assume from my posts that I’m trying to sell the Yang campaign. Not really. Having 20+ FPs on MeFi for every single Democratic candidate would be quite taxing. So I’m not trying to promote having everyone post about their favorite candidate.

However, I do find fringe candidates to be fascinating and Yang’s meteoric online debut is interesting in how it highlights populist movements behave. There would be some sort of FP about the weird automation guy at the debate sooner or later, so I decided to assemble something. Regardless of the crankery or the capitalism, it is deeply unfair to slur the first East Asian American presidential candidate in a long time as “a Nazi entryist.”
posted by Apocryphon at 5:37 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


[OP, please remember that posts are not meant to be personal soapboxes; you need to let the discussion happen without trying direct the thread.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:37 AM on March 13 [12 favorites]


One of my high school students is basically a nationalist fascist, and he LOVES Yang. He can't stop talking to me about the guy. I think a lot of Yang fans are banking on the fact that fringe people on both sides like him, but my gut feeling is that if your base of support is scattered across the political spectrum, it really means you have no political support in a primary.
posted by lownote at 5:38 AM on March 13 [14 favorites]


You might assume from my posts that I’m trying to sell the Yang campaign.

Yep.
posted by pompomtom at 5:40 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


(I am not anti-Yang. I've bugger-all idea who they are, which puts them head and shoulders above all the potential nominees I know anything about. May they collect much more money speech!)
posted by pompomtom at 5:45 AM on March 13


Eh. I don't like the Nazi stuff semantic creep but that's been hashed over enough in the gray and the blue.

I guess we can apply a modified version of Gillum's corollary* of "I’m not calling him a Nazis I’m simply saying the Nazis believe he’s a Nazi."

But seriously, he's not a, Nazi. I don't think. He's just become the lulz candidate for all those blackpill burn it all down folks.

Perhaps that's functionally the same?

*Is that a, corollary? Adage?
posted by Telf at 5:47 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


[One deleted. Linking to an article that makes "Insider Claims..." charges against Yang with the official source being an anon post at /pol/ isn't great.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:59 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


“Andrew Yang supporters, be SMART with your memes.”

That’s not a thing you have to post when you are not talking to folks who habitually post alt-right shit. And his denials sound an awful lot like their denials.

Honestly I would read The Verge article liked above with a heavy skepticism towards the notion that almost his entire base being nazis and Nazi-adjacent folk running an op is not something he’s actively courted.
posted by Artw at 6:03 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


His wording on the policy page is too folksy and, um, basic for me. Yes, he wants rights for LGBTQ people but says about marriage, "Why should straight people have all the fun?" His language around abortion is ok but focuses a lot on women, when women get pregnant, and ends with a cliche at this point about "if men get pregnant," which, if you're versed in trans language you would know that men DO get pregnant sometimes. I'm not too impressed so far.
posted by agregoli at 6:14 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I'm sure if UBI rolls out, companies like Aramark and CoreCivic, (The same folks that run privatised prison services.) will start offering all inclusive "lifestyle package deals" for like $900 USD/month.

They'll include a studio cell with good broadband and a cable package and daily meal deliveries right up to your room, along with, possibly a canteen. There will be a perfunctory gym and some basic green space available as well. You wouldn't own anything in your apartment, but it would be mostly provided for you. Maybe the deluxe version includes an annual week long cruise to a company-owned island.


So instead of the US turning into The Handmaid's Tale it'll turn into The Heart Goes Last? Thanks, Margaret Atwood!
posted by fuse theorem at 6:15 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Also from the OP: How Little Known Andrew Yang May End Up on the 2020 Debate Stage by Gaming the System - more on how this dude is basically an op.
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Vox: Yang, of course, totally rejects support from white nationalists. But the mainstream Yangsters? He’s a fan. “If you excise any racist white nationalist, bigotry leanings, I find the whole thing hysterical,” Yang told me in a phone call, audibly laughing. “You know what I mean? Imagine seeing your face on dragons and whatnot. The whole thing is funny.”

Remembering that it’s the same people posting this stuff with varying degrees of message control that’s absolutely not an appropriate answer.
posted by Artw at 6:24 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


yeah, on most issues (even his signature issue), he comes off as a flake who's out of his depth.

basically andrew yang is the real version of what fox news accuses alexandria ocasio-cortez of being.

the confounding factor is that our society is bafflingly tolerant of flakes with silicon valley money.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:43 AM on March 13 [26 favorites]


The “Legion of Builders and Destroyers” thing is breathtakingly dumb.

Also racist frog twitter assumes it’ll basically be a government funded Brownshirt brigade just for them to fuck shit up with, and honestly why wouldn’t they, it being perfect for that?
posted by Artw at 6:47 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I have a very weird prediction to make, based on a half-baked theory: The "human biodiversity" (aka scientific racism) people generally rank East Asians as smarter than whites, and Ashkenazi Jews smarter than anyone. I suspect that it might be partially a defense mechanism - "See, we can't be racist, because we think Jews are the smartest!" - but, in any event, that's how they do the ranking. I wouldn't be surprised if the racist parts of the alt-right start pushing this in support of Yang ("Asians are smarter, so it's only logical for them to run the country"), and I wouldn't be surprised if next time - provided the whole subculture is still around and still influenced by the same currents of thought - they support a Jewish candidate. If that happens, it could tap into the weird pro-Israel anti-Semitism (or however the hell you characterize it) of many Evangelicals. It's kind of the logical endpoint of the Elders-of-Zion worldview combined with unbridled meritocracy: If you have the racist belief that Jews are people with a semi-supernatural ability to run the world, and you believe in meritocracy, then there's really only one conclusion to come to.

I doubt this will happen, but my mouth won't be hanging open if it does.
posted by clawsoon at 6:58 AM on March 13 [6 favorites]


This post is framed like a fundraiser and campaign promotion, which concerns me.
posted by theora55 at 6:59 AM on March 13 [21 favorites]


Count me as another who supports UBI, but thinks this borderline-libertarian framing of "trade your benefits in for weed money" is terrible.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:05 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon: "the confounding factor is that our society is bafflingly tolerant of flakes with silicon valley money."

FTFY
posted by chavenet at 7:06 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


more on how this dude is basically an op.

He was literally recognized by Obama
posted by Apocryphon at 7:11 AM on March 13


Dude. Come on.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:12 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


[Apocryphon, if you want this post to stay live, and I'm not convinced it should, then you need to stop commenting in here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:16 AM on March 13 [14 favorites]


As far as US presidential candidates go, foreign policy is key for me.

While America has undoubtedly made mistakes, we’ve been a positive force in world history, leading to the spread of peace, prosperity, and democracy. Presidents from JFK to Ronald Reagan maintained strong relationships with allies while sending clear and honest messages to those who would work against us

And that's a no. Seems like another pro-coup candidate.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:19 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


I would like this thread to stay live, please. I have more thoughts but I am reading all the links.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:21 AM on March 13 [6 favorites]


He’s taken every single pet issue of weird internet pedants, and rolled them into one campaign platform.

There was actually a conspiracy theory going around a few months ago on right wing websites, interpreting some weird plank of his platform as meaning he advocates a China-style social credit score system. Expect that one to come back now.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:47 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


We need to give up on the myth of the political outsider saving the county. The Presidency is a technical job. Its more apparent now than ever. The Presidency isn’t a learn on the job type of position, much like pilots and boat captains. Diplomancy and international relations are a thing, and in a world after the orange cheeto where America has abrogated its role in the world and exacerbated the worst aspects of years of bad foreign policy, there should be someone there who knows how to build something back that is better. We need to give up on the idea of the “gentleman farmer” who rises on a wave of populism to lead our government back to being responsive to the people. Yang is riding on that myth, based on a bunch of progressive policy proposals I like, but no experience dealing with the hard problems to accomplish them.

There was a post on the blue some years ago about a former Clinton Whitehouse staffer who talked about the interview process. The big part of it was an impossible choice exercise. Your choices were awful and got worse from there. But that is government in a nut shell. More so when your have half to 3/4 of it run by a multi-level marketing organization that scares its voters and keeps them uninformed. You need to demonstrate that you understand how to still accomplish what little you can in the face of that level of obstruction.
posted by herda05 at 8:01 AM on March 13 [41 favorites]


They'll include a studio cell with good broadband and a cable package and daily meal deliveries right up to your room

Real estate is all about location, though. If they decide to reopen Eastern State Penitentiary, put me on the waiting list.

Anyway, I don't think this guy has a snowflake's chance in hell, but more diversity of opinions in the early debates is probably good. Hearing about UBI from someone who isn't vulnerable to charges of being a red diaper baby is even better. It may not be everyone's ideal proposal, but it strikes me as something that could potentially be palatable to a wide cross-section of the electorate, which will at least prompt a discussion if not actual implementation.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:02 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I also tend to think that accusing him of being alt-right isn’t correct. What he is, is a candidate designed to appeal to people who spend too much time online.
posted by vogon_poet at 8:11 AM on March 13 [16 favorites]


I spend too much time online and I still expect a candidate to be able to adequately answer the “Why me?” question.
posted by Selena777 at 8:14 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


ah, all that Ron Paul energy that got sucked into the Trump campaign for a while has found a new home
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:21 AM on March 13 [15 favorites]


"Human-centered capitalism"

I just puked in my mouth a little.
posted by still bill at 8:40 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I spend too much time online and I still expect a candidate to be able to adequately answer the “Why me?” question.

If you’re asking that question instead of yelling “1000 YANGBUCK$” you must not spend that much time online. Your brain has not yet been liquefied.
posted by vogon_poet at 9:15 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


As for Yang himself, my objection is not to any of his particular proposals, but to the fact that he's embracing an running with the idea that a rich dude should just be able to have a real chance at being President on the basis that they're rich.

Not that American politics is even remotely meritocratic, but at least the idea that a person should try being in politics at a lower level for a while before trying to be President has, until Trump anyway, kept out the dilettantes who just wake up one day and decide that since they're rich they should get to be President without any of that peasant crap about being in government in any other position for a while first.

Now that Trump has cleared the way I expect Yang is going to be just the first of many rich kids who think being President would be cool an decide to spend some of their vast hoard of resources on trying.

So I'm entirely opposed to Yang simply because of what he represents. If he gets shut down in a humiliating what that turns him into a national joke it might discourage the next billionaire asshole from trying to break our government just for funsies.
posted by sotonohito at 9:31 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


I'm uninterested in defending Yang's ability to do the job of POTUS, but I am intrigued at the idea of supporting him as an independent candidate to suck away the alt-right supporters from Trump and/or drive a wedge there. Those people may not be an extremely large percentage, but they're basically IRL griefers and I'd rather they turn their efforts against one another.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:32 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I'll consider him once I hear him say on TV, "If you know that different colors of pills are a thing on the internet, please do not vote for me." Also I'm open to UBI discussions, but as others have implied above, we don't live in a world where everyone has equal access to education and information and where grifters and exploiters of the system are relentlessly policed and punishment. That means that disadvantaged people are often ripe for the picking by MLMs, payday lenders, false advertisers, online colleges, miracle cures, and who knows what else. UBI really does need to be considered while we are also trying to fix/regulate/dismantle the current crazy-ass capitalism system where anything goes.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:35 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I probably wouldn't vote for Yang in a primary, but there are two points that I think people are getting really wrong in this thread:

First,
The center of Yang's platform seems to be about a social policy response to the impacts of an automating production economy. He mentions his target audience is largely those that have been impacted by it (and are in rust belt locations that were swings for Trump). Are there victims that are more deserving than recently de-privileged white midwesterners? Sure.

But for a community that (1) tries not to blame the victim and (2) often claims that material dynamics are systemic, not individual, it seems like there's a lot of painting Yang with broad and convenient brushes instead of attacking the content of his message (UBI nuances being a good exception to this complaint). I think people underestimate the hurt that is coming our way from the adoption of algorithmic directed production. And I think it's great and worth paying attention to someone who puts it at the center of their politics.

Second,

"Human-centered capitalism"
I just puked in my mouth a little.


As an ardent critic of the current economic situation, I think people have to get down from their armchair revolutionizing and not dismiss people just because they show some amount of pragmatism. The incubation period away from feudalism probably took around 300 years. We're likely to do better, since capitalism accelerates everything, even its own demise. But don't hold your breath. And don't berate everyone who isn't holding theirs.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:39 AM on March 13 [20 favorites]


Why does this just feel like the best-case Howard Schultz candidate?
posted by sinfony at 9:59 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


If there's one thing that everyone ought to have learned from the presidencies of Donald J Trump and George W Bush, it's that being president is a difficult job that requires a lot of background knowledge and experience and is very hard to fake. I'm really not interested in voting for anyone who has not devoted their career to serving as an elected official or perhaps as a civil servant. I have never in my life seen any evidence that a career in business prepares one in any way to work in government. Working in government prepares one to work in government.

I'm voting for a senator or member of Congress who has distinguished themself in their legislative service, preferably including work on major committees like Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, Budget, or Appropriations. I could possibly consider a governor who had done an especially good job as governor of a diverse state or a very successful cabinet member (most of them have elected experience as well). I am not considering a mayor. I am certainly not considering a test-prep pseudo-technocrat or the CEO of a bad coffee company who thinks the presidency sounds like a good gig.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:03 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I'm uninterested in defending Yang's ability to do the job of POTUS, but I am intrigued at the idea of supporting him as an independent candidate to suck away the alt-right supporters from Trump and/or drive a wedge there. Those people may not be an extremely large percentage, but they're basically IRL griefers and I'd rather they turn their efforts against one another.

I like this plan on paper but here's what happens: literally any Democrat other than Biden or Sanders wins the primary, a bunch of dudes are all "I'd totally vote for a woman for president, but not $this_particular_woman," and whoa hey that wedge didn't land where we hoped it would
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:05 AM on March 13 [20 favorites]


He seems good enough to run for president to me. I don't know enough about UBI to know the different kinds of UBI, but it seems like a good thing that someone is running for president who's loudly talking about UBI, because it doesn't seem anyone else is.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:05 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


I'm an artist type who's always been income-challenged. So the notion of UBI has always been at least a little compelling. That said, two concerns come quickly to mind:

1. who is going to determine what the basic income should be, and how will the metrics work in the long term (ie: how will it reflect changes in cost of living etc or for that matter a change in govt?) The thought of some vast and faceless govt bureaucracy deciding how much money I'm going to have next month in order to survive (and having such decisions made for perhaps arbitrary, certainly political reasons) -- well that sends chills ...

2. some people are always going to need some kind of assistance in terms of getting through the day-to-day week-to-week of life. You could give them five grand a month and they'd still mess up. UBI will not resolve all social welfare concerns.
posted by philip-random at 10:15 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


$1000/month kinda puts the 'basic' in UBI--$12k a year isn't even enough to lift you above the poverty line for a single adult, and a full-time minimum wage worker earns about $15k annually.

A reddit post: Andrew Yang 2020: The NEETs President
posted by box at 10:36 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


I really think people don’t quite get how weird of a candidate he is. One of his campaign platforms, on equal footing with all the others is “The American Mall Act”, to find something useful to do with all the empty dead malls.

He also wants to bring back Congressional earmarks, provide free marriage counseling, and create a new metric that’s an improved version of the GDP.

He is profoundly weird and very funny and mixes all this bizarre shit in his platform with reasonable ideas. Classic weird stunt candidate.
posted by vogon_poet at 10:37 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


I'm happy with anyone who makes alt-right people enthusiastic about any political thing that's less objectionable.

Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of Yang's policy ideas. But his seduction of far/alt right people is an unmitigated good, and I don't see much reasonable disagreement about that.
posted by andrewpcone at 10:44 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I don’t want to give the impression of being a fan of the guy, but look at his platform. I want him to stay in the primary as long as possible while still losing just to liven things up.
posted by vogon_poet at 10:44 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


$1000/month kinda puts the 'basic' in UBI--$12k a year isn't even enough to lift you above the poverty line for a single adult, and a full-time minimum wage worker earns about $15k annually.


It is if you are below the poverty line by a margin of less than $12k. Anyway, the poverty line itself is not the important thing. The point of UBI at this level is not to provide adequate money given no other source of income. It is to make poor people less fucked. Anyone who has been anything close to poor knows that an extra $1000 a month can easily be the difference between your life falling apart and not.

I'm not saying I unconditionally support UBI, or that I think Yang is the best candidate for the presidency. I'm saying the test for whether a given policy is good should be "does it make things better," not "does it conclusively Solve The Problem." Anti-poverty efforts are, I think, a case where the perfect is the enemy of the good.
posted by andrewpcone at 10:59 AM on March 13 [17 favorites]


I want him to stay in the primary as long as possible while still losing just to liven things up.

That's how I felt about Donald Trump in 2015.
posted by peeedro at 11:00 AM on March 13 [6 favorites]


Main difference there is that Yang appears to be a competent problem finder while Trump has never ever been anything more than a professional heel.
posted by flabdablet at 11:22 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


From https://www.yang2020.com/policies/human-capitalism/

> We need to move to a new form of capitalism – Human Capitalism – that’s geared towards maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. The central tenets of Human Capitalism are:

> Humans are more important than money
> The unit of a Human Capitalism economy is each person, not each dollar
> Markets exist to serve our common goals and values

This seems... okay?
posted by mikhuang at 11:26 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


finally! that's all I've ever wanted from a politician, to have my inherent human worth as an economic unit recognized
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:29 AM on March 13 [18 favorites]


It sounds like the kind of copy I get from my employer when they want to talk about holistic wellness while they're hiding that our actual benefits are getting cut.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:45 AM on March 13 [10 favorites]


Just looked at his "Limit Bureaucracy In The Federal Workforce" plank.

Typical "Small Government" argle-bargle with no real concept of the actual scope of what government does.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:14 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Has anyone asked the MAGA internet crowd why they are supporting Yang? There appears to be no overlap on platform or is it all for the lulz and to piss off the norms? Why not just Lil Pump 2020?
posted by misterpatrick at 12:26 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


> We need to move to a new form of capitalism – Human Capitalism – that’s geared towards maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. The central tenets of Human Capitalism are:

> Humans are more important than money
> The unit of a Human Capitalism economy is each person, not each dollar
> Markets exist to serve our common goals and values


This is, uh, not capitalism.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 12:28 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


> We need to move to a new form of capitalism – Human Capitalism – that’s geared towards maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. The central tenets of Human Capitalism are:

> Humans are more important than money
> The unit of a Human Capitalism economy is each person, not each dollar
> Markets exist to serve our common goals and values
This is functionally equivalent to saying “we need to move on to a new kind of square that’s about minimizing corners and maximizing roundness. The central tenets of Round Squareness are:
  • roundness is more important than corners
  • squares in a Round Square economy have only one side, instead of four
  • square pegs exist to fit into round holes, not four-sided ones.
Eventually you gotta acknowledge that there’s no such thing as a round square, and what you’re looking for is a circle.

Or you could run an outsider presidential campaign in favor of round squares, I guess.

n.b.: Yang isn’t the only round squarist candidate. Warren, for example, had declared her support for round squares. I am willing to give warren more of a pass than yang, just because warren’s previous actions in government indicate that she’s low-key in favor of generally circleist measures, even though she masks her circleism behind round square rhetoric.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:31 PM on March 13 [16 favorites]


Something to remember about the meme wars surrounding Yang:

I've talked here about the alt-right a lot and started a few years ago begging people to take the threat of the chan sites and meme wars more seriously.

We're dealing with a large group of marginalized, disenfranchised and highly motivated people with too much time on their hands of questionable mental health and emotional toxicity basically trying to wag the dog via the internet and exert some sort of control over the world where they feel like they have none.

Every rational motivation for this that you can think of whether it's overt bigotry or libertarian chops or whatever is really superseded by this one: "Fuck you, normie."

That's basically it. This is the core ethos of the so-called deplorables and that's why that label rung them like a bell and shoved a big pointy stick in the beehive.

This "Fuck you, normie" ethos definitely covers monkeywrenching the political propaganda machine, splitting the Dem vote, and otherwise throwing up smoke screens and muddying the waters.

These people are very well organized online. They are actually much more organized than the progressive left. That's pretty much all they do. And yes, they're using Discord and other private services now. Whatever you see in the public web is at least a month old or more, and what things do bubble up into the public conscious got there through a lot of back channel work, not organically.

So.

These people are by and large actually disenfranchised, ostracized and marginalized - it's just not in the metrics that hit all the progressive, intersectional checkboxes.

We're talking about the first generation to grow up highly medicated for ADHD and other drugs, working their way through public school systems that are crumbling and then being sold a huge pack of lies about higher education and student debt still being the ticket to the middle class.

These people have a lot of reasons to be angry and don't have a whole lot to lose.

They are lashing out at the world and trying to exert some control through the only tool or device or media that ever actually gave them control of their own lives - the internet - and it is foolhardy to dismiss them either as forces to be reckoned with or the ostracization they're facing.

And we're now in a zeitgeist where these emotionally unequipped, fragile people are feeling pissed off that their votes for Trump got mired in this clusterfuck of "low energy" bullshit that isn't MAGA. That this achievement in the real world isn't as easy or clean as a video game achievement. The more reflective ones might actually be thinking they made a horrible mistake, and the emotionally immature or fragile among that set is not going to process or own it well.

I am not for a moment suggesting placating this demographic by either giving them what they want nor not holding them accountable for what they say or do.

We are not in normal territory any more. You know the Panther Moderns from Gibson's Neuromancer? A lot of these guys are the Panther Moderns. They're into the disruption for the lulz and seeing the world jump to their drumbeat without ever having to leave the safety of a desk.

They're not all white cishet guys, but maybe most of them are. They're not all young, but most of them are.

And to be honest? I don't really have any ideas or suggestions about how to solve or defuse this. The normal tactics of dialog, trying to be welcoming or finding middle ground or extending olive branches doesn't seem to map to this territory.

It pains me to say this, but I don't think hugs will solve this problem.
posted by loquacious at 12:38 PM on March 13 [20 favorites]


> We're talking about the first generation to grow up highly medicated for ADHD

I wonder what connection you're making, here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:46 PM on March 13 [10 favorites]


We're dealing with a large group of marginalized, disenfranchised and highly motivated people with too much time on their hands of questionable mental health and emotional toxicity basically trying to wag the dog via the internet and exert some sort of control over the world where they feel like they have none.

Are there really that many, or are they just loud and able to give the appearance of numbers because they never stop posting? I would think that by the failed movie/razors/videogame boycotts, they don't really have significant numbers. I don't doubt they exist, and are actively nihilistic, but I wonder how many people there can really be out there who fall into this particular niche. They alone didn't move the needle on Trump. He needed all the garden-variety conservatives and white Evangelicals to do that.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:56 PM on March 13 [10 favorites]


not dismiss people just because they show some amount of pragmatism.

Thing is, there's very little pragmatic about "Human-Centered Capitalism" - the framing is nonsensical. "Pragmatic" doesn't actually describe any of these proposals from a political or social policy perspective. It's techno-utopianism with a glib mission statement full of buzzwords.

I want knowing how existing systems work or don't to be a prerequisite for anyone running for office. I have yet to see much evidence that Yang actually understands any of the problems he's proposing to solve, or has bothered learning about the ways others have attempted to solve them.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:04 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


I wonder what connection you're making, here.

Apologies, it's a lot of connections. It's not just about meds or ADHD, and you're right, I shouldn't single this out.

The main connection I have in mind is that there's a whole lot of kids out there that have been overmedicated simply for being kids in an increasingly crowded and stressful modern adolescence and it seems to be a developing problem with a lot of young adults that I know and talk to.

I've heard some variation of the phrases "My first recreational drug was a prescription" and "I wish I'd never started taking this stuff" with regards to a variety of behavioral health medication (particularly ADHD and benzos and other anti-anxiety medications) from people in this age group that I can't even count them all.

These young people have told me over and over again that this has definitely negatively affected their choices in taking street/recreational drugs as teens and young adults, and further, that they were well aware of the real, imagined or orthogonal hypocrisy of being prescribed certain classes of drugs that were also contraband and had high abuse potential on the street.

My point and intuition I've gathered from talking about this with the young people involved is that they feel like they never had a chance to have a relatively normal childhood or sense of safety or peace, especially in the face of so much economic inequity and the increasing lack of involved parents.

And they're upset about this. They're upset about the frequency and scope of these medications. It's one of the things that these young people are really upset about, because one of the other things they were raised on is the internet, and so they're also a lot more aware of things like the ongoing hypocrisy of the Drug War and what drugs are and do.

We're living in an age where teenagers can micro or mega dose and vape DMT from an e-cig. They're all over this stuff and know what research chemicals and nootropics are. Smoking weed isn't even really considered a drug to the demographic arc I'm referring to.

We're in the middle of a pretty unprecedented chemical and behavioral mental health experiment. Whether or not these drugs are FDA approved, prescribed and generally recognized as safe - which I have no quarrel with, here, not the point of my argument - but we've never really done this before with what seems like most of a generation raised with this much chemical augmentation, with this kind of stress, with these really fucked up economics and a lot of complicated issues.

In closing and to be clear - I'm just trying to bring up and share some of the reasons why this age range and some of this demographic is angry, because this is what they've told me and what I've read online from this general age range. (Which is roughly very young millenial to zoomer, about 14-22 right now.)
posted by loquacious at 1:54 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


We're talking about the first generation to grow up highly medicated for ADHD and other drugs, working their way through public school systems that are crumbling and then being sold a huge pack of lies about higher education and student debt still being the ticket to the middle class.

Oddly, all of this also happened to many of the members of their generation who are not white men, and yet they didn't become Nazis in response.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:00 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


Are there really that many, or are they just loud and able to give the appearance of numbers because they never stop posting?

There's more than people think there are. 4Chan was in the top 10 or 20 trafficked sites for a while.

There's more coming and becoming young adults, and this long end of the tail seems to be being radicalized by YouTube alt-right vloggers and not overtly obvious alt-right-aligned vloggers.

PewDiePie has been on record saying some screwy stuff and having to walk it back. So has h3h3.

One of the most popular games in the last 10 years was Minecraft. Notch now somehow has millions of twitter followers where he most recently is spewing transphobic bile and antisemitism and still somehow hasn't been banned from twitter.

I beg people to take this seriously. Not as a threat or to further other these people, but to be ready to try to embrace and extend and heal.

We're headed for a pretty shitty time if we don't figure out how to quench this flare up of outright fascism and bigotry.
posted by loquacious at 2:02 PM on March 13 [23 favorites]


Oddly, all of this also happened to many of the members of their generation who are not white men, and yet they didn't become Nazis in response.

The people I'm talking about aren't all white, and they're not all Nazis, either. The actual Nazis are exploiting these people. Some of these people are trolling with the Nazi thing because it's easy, endless outrage.

The Patriot Prayer brigade only has a small overlap with the chansites and "kekistan" or whatever. There are many, many factions in play.

If anything I'm specifically talking about nihilists who pretty much just want to fuck shit up and they don't care what tools they use to trigger people or what people think of them of it already - because they're considered deplorables and they have nothing to lose.

This is a dangerous mix.
posted by loquacious at 2:06 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


And I'll back out of this meme and chan site derail and leave it with this:

There's a shift happening in the dialogue that's been going on for about a month on reddit and other sites, and I'm seeing a lot of troll acounts switch themes, MOs or just go dark.

It's like there's an organized ideology switch happening and I think we should be ready for Trump 2.0 and round 2 of whatever this clusterfuck is.
posted by loquacious at 2:10 PM on March 13 [15 favorites]


roundness is more important than corners
squares in a Round Square economy have only one side, instead of four
square pegs exist to fit into round holes, not four-sided ones.


This is not a good analogy. Yang believes that capitalism achieves these objectives better than alternatives proffered, but only if it subject to appropriate constraints.

In Yang's view, I think, you don't get humane results by implementing a seemingly humane system any more than you solve global warming by running a shitload of air conditioners. Capitalism+UBI+progressive taxation is not socialism. Socializing a few more things, like healthcare and education and more of infrastructure, is not socialism either. Bernie Sanders is not a socialist, despite what he says. Northern European countries are capitalist societies, despite the fact that "social" or "socialist" is in the name of some of the prominent parties. The most prosperous, humane countries all have primarily capitalist systems. What makes them more humane the constraints they add to capitalism, not rejection of capitalism. There is no country with high HDI that is not primarily capitalist. You can say there could be, but there is no example of that.

We do not need a circle. We need a rounded square.
posted by andrewpcone at 3:29 PM on March 13 [10 favorites]


Yang sounds like an unhinged version of the text on a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap.
posted by stet at 3:52 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Scrolling through the WikiLeaks Twitter thread that was linked... uh... somewhere above, the repeated themes seem to be that Trump has given up on stopping immigration and is giving money to Israel, therefore vote Yang.

Yang needs better friends.
posted by clawsoon at 3:54 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


andrewpcone: The most prosperous, humane countries all have primarily capitalist systems. What makes them more humane the constraints they add to capitalism, not rejection of capitalism. There is no country with high HDI that is not primarily capitalist.

I'd say it's more the case that most prosperous nations have figured out a reasonable balance between which industries to socialize and which to leave to the free market. Education, defense, healthcare, emergency response, and the judiciary are almost universally socialized. Some democratic nations have also socialized, at various times and with varying success, things like transportation infrastructure, postal services, and energy (electricity/coal/oil) production.

Of all those, it seems like the only choice which has consistently produced bad results has been taking over oil production. For whatever reason, that never seems to work out. You can democratically socialize electricity production with no problems, but democratically socialize oil production and you're asking for it.
posted by clawsoon at 4:19 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Could it be that oil production is inherently tied to an unjust global economy dominated by OPEC and oil cartels?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:27 PM on March 13


Norway basically has partially nationalized oil production. The state owns 2/3 of Statoil/Equinor and smaller stakes in other companies.
posted by vogon_poet at 4:46 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


Oh right. The Norwegian oil pension fund is a pretty remarkable story of good governance. Not exactly UBI, but great management of a nation's resource-derived wealth.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:06 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


I'd say it's more the case that most prosperous nations have figured out a reasonable balance between which industries to socialize and which to leave to the free market. Education, defense, healthcare, emergency response, and the judiciary are almost universally socialized. Some democratic nations have also socialized, at various times and with varying success, things like transportation infrastructure, postal services, and energy (electricity/coal/oil) production.


Yes, I'd agree with that, and I don't think it's incompatible with what I'm saying. I also suspect Andrew Yang would agree with that. As usual, I suppose, which "isms" we prefer are less helpful than figuring out precisely which mix of solutions is optimal.

Nonetheless, I've been looking around for ways to measure how socialist a given national economy is. Here is what I've found:
- Percentage of workers employed in the public sector (here). This is my favorite one. Under this definition, it seems I was wrong about Norway, which would qualify as one of the most socialist countries. The high HDI countries span a large range, mostly between 10% and 30%. So there's a lot of variance, but in the vast majority of high HDI countries, between 70% and 90% of workers are employed by not the government. I would say that qualifies as "not socialist."
- The economic freedom index published by the Heritage Foundation. Yes, I know it's a right wing organization, but their methodology for measuring "economic freedom" seems largely consistent with a reasonable definition of "capitalist." Their data comes mostly from authoritative nonpartisan sources, so I mostly trust the index. Most high HDI countries are between 60 and 100, with the richest ones mostly above 70. Again, a lot of variance, but still some correlation.
- Per capita government spending seems like another reasonable metric. Here, the correlation with HDI seems to be positive. The Nordic countries are near the top.

So if you buy that HDI is the thing we are trying to maximize (I'm a fan, anyway), the Great Socialism Versus Capitalism Debate is pretty sensitive to definitions. I find that interesting.
posted by andrewpcone at 5:15 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Education, defense, healthcare, emergency response, and the judiciary are almost universally socialized.

born and raised and living in a country where this is the case, anything else honestly feels batshit fucking insane. Just sayin ...
posted by philip-random at 5:49 PM on March 13


Look at this sweet vaporwave hat, it is much more powerful than a MAGA cap. (Unofficial merch, and only simulacra of the original, which is a photoshop appearing in memes.)
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:04 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


he is definitely vaporwave, the only candidate that wants people to hang out in dead malls.
posted by vogon_poet at 6:35 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Look at this sweet vaporwave hat, it is much more powerful than a MAGA cap.

Holy shit, this time line... what's even happening any more?
posted by loquacious at 7:16 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


The incubation period away from feudalism probably took around 300 years.

And, likely, the death of 75-200 million people. It seems that almost always, any significant societal change (ie revolutions) comes with a significant human cost.
posted by MikeKD at 8:03 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


i would guess that capitalism has been responsible for more than 200 million deaths but i don't want feel like sitting down and mathing it out
posted by JimBennett at 9:31 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I'm tipping that "human capitalism" had its genesis in the same marketing test groups as "freedom dividend".
posted by flabdablet at 10:11 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


I hope it gets a better response from those in power than "socialism with a human face" did.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:20 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Has anyone asked the MAGA internet crowd why they are supporting Yang?

1. What's more anti-government than giving all its money directly to the people?
2. Trump put tax cuts for the rich first. Blue collar workers got shafted. Where's the wall?

At least, that's what I could figure out from looking at the boards. I'm not signing up for Discord, though I'm curious.

It does explain why Anne Coulter attacked Trump in regards to the wall, and why he freaked out about it. The alt-right is an important part of Trump's core base and media machine. They're the homegrown army of fake news meme creators, and apparently they're pissed and ready to jump ship. I saw a meme of Pepe hanging Trump.
posted by xammerboy at 11:32 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


A while back I listened to an interview with Yang. I was interested in learning about UBI. I came away from the interview feeling like I really hadn't learned that much. But, his narrative is compelling. Yang's not wrong that a lot of the workforce's jobs may shortly be replaced by automation or offshoring. Even if you don't believe it, we have a problem right now.

Hillary was also going to propose some kind of UBI in 2016, but ultimately felt the proposal was too complex to explain. Her narrative was something about how public resources should be publicly owned and their use taxed. In Alaska today, the rationale is that the citizens own the land, so they get a cut of oil companies profits.

What's really compelling to me about UBI is that it's more in line with how economists originally expected the benefits of modernity to be shared by society, that people would work less and have more in general through automation. Also, intuitively, if government funded programs and research create infrastructure later used by businesses to become successful (e.g. highways or the internet) why don't the people that funded it see any of the returns?

So, for me, UBI is a really interesting idea that seems to potentially have broad support across party lines. I just wish other candidates were proposing it, and / or that Yang's proposal was a bit more substantive. I'd like more detail, at the least.
posted by xammerboy at 11:45 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Glad this thread stayed open. Some, fantastic comments; andrewpcone and loquacious really got me thinking about some new ideas.
posted by Telf at 12:16 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Fascinating post. It's great that radical ideas seem to be getting more of an airing.

I was reading Political Ideals by Bertrand Russell recently. One quote:
I think it must be conceded that a political party ought to have proximate aims, measures which it hopes to carry in the next session or the next parliament, as well as a more distant goal... enthusiasm flags when there is nothing to do meanwhile, and no partial success to lessen the weariness of waiting...

I believe no less firmly that really vital and radical reform requires some vision beyond the immediate future, some realization of what human beings might make of human life if they chose. Without some such hope, men will not have the energy and enthusiasm necessary to overcome opposition, or the steadfastness to persist when their aims are for the moment unpopular.
I think any political movement that is going to move us out of the current doldrums has to have a mixture of achievable short-term goals and inspiring long-term goals. That seems to be something that Yang gets right. The right-wing populist movements inspire passion in their supporters, they're not going to be comprehensively defeated by a politics of modest technocratic tinkering.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:33 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


I've been wondering why listening to the next round of Democrat candidates is sometimes so thoroughly depressing to me, and I think you've nailed it. There are some things I really like about Warren, but often, I feel like she's saying that if the current rules were just tweaked to be a bit more fair, American society would be perfect. That's not true by a long shot.

As I just wrote, we used to have a vision of modernity that assumed the enormous wealth it created would be shared by society. Democrats assumed a future society where there was economic equity, racial justice, universal education, etc. Instead, we have a world where every last dollar generated by the enormous wealth we've created goes into the hands of rapacious businessmen.

When did I become radicalized? I guess when I started being told that paying people enough to clothe and feed themselves without government assistance is radical. Every major policy position that is now a part of the Democrat platform first had to suggested by a a so called radical. Democrats then needed to be convinced to support those positions by overwhelming public support.

Democrats tell us to dare to dream, to dare to be audacious enough to meagerly dream of a world where people can work, go to school, breathe the air, and see a doctor without experiencing lifelong soul crushing debt. Dare to dream a little bigger Democrats.
posted by xammerboy at 7:21 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


You know what, I am pretty glad that someone in the debates will be talking about UBI. We should be considering it, and the sooner the better. I don't 100% agree with the exact details of Yang's version, but I want UBI to be part of the conversation now so that when we can actually start working towards implementation it's not a new idea.

People's conspiracy theories about him being an alt-right plant are so weird because he's pretty clearly a Silicon Valley centrist type, which is not really what I want for the Dem candidate in 2020 but also very far from alt-right. Also, hello, he's not white. I mean, yeah, Ben Carsons and Nikki Haleys exist, but it's still really weird to look at a non-white dude running on progressive ideas and decide he's secretly aligned with the worst of racists.

I feel like a lot of people make this knee-jerk assumption that Asian's "don't count" when it comes to diversity because we're model minorities or whatever, but we are still minorities. And people are seriously ignoring how much of Yang's support is comes from young Asian-Americans rather than the alt-right, probably because the media cares more about what alt-right trolls think than what Asians think. From what I've seen, the Asian-American internet has been talking about him for a while.
posted by storytam at 8:03 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


storytam: it's still really weird to look at a non-white dude running on progressive ideas and decide he's secretly aligned with the worst of racists.

He's not aligned with them, but they claim to be aligned with him. Dealing with that is going to be the first test of his political, as opposed to policy, skills. I don't envy the position he's in.
posted by clawsoon at 8:12 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Ok the hats are pretty sweet and I hope in addition to bringing the UBI conversation into the debate we also get another Com Truise album.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:29 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


> I think any political movement that is going to move us out of the current doldrums has to have a mixture of achievable short-term goals and inspiring long-term goals.

warning marxist jargon follows.

So there's these concepts within trotskyist groups of the "maximum program," the "minimum program," and the "transitional program." The "minimum program" is a set of immediate reforms meant to improve the lives of members of the working class without necessarily threatening capitalism. The "maximum program" is, of course, full socialism. The maximum program calls for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of economic democracy through the transfer of productive property from the capitalist class to democratically elected representatives of the working class.

The "transitional program," on the other hand, is something a bit more clever and tricky. Demands made as part of the minimum program are marketed as being reasonable reforms to improve the lot of the working classes — things like demands for an actual living wage for all works, for example. The transitional program says nothing about the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of socialism — they're entirely reasonable requests that if implemented would lead to more dignified lives for the members of the working class. The trick is, actually meeting the transitional demands — actually granting working-class people the same human dignity enjoyed by the rich — is impossible for capitalism, since the maintenance of the social relationships established under capitalism requires the rich be able to discount the human dignity of the people whose labor they depend upon.

The point here is that the demands in the transitional program are completely reasonable. It is completely reasonable for workers to demand a living wage. It is completely reasonable for workers to demand high-quality public-funded healthcare and education. It is completely reasonable to demand the right to retire, and it is completely reasonable to expect to get to continue to lead a dignified existence after retirement. Meanwhile, it is completely reasonable for the capitalist class and their lackeys to note that actually granting those completely reasonable human dignities would break capitalism altogether, since being a capitalist is only profitable when you get to skim off the workers, and if you've got to grant those basic human dignities, that makes the skimming operation impossible.

Eventually the conflicts generated through the push for the transitional program build revolutionary consciousness. If you say "I want basic human dignity" and I say "no you can't it'll break capitalism" and you say "but I want basic human dignity" and I say "but no you can't it'll break capitalism," and if we keep going around like that for long enough, eventually you'll start saying "well screw you and screw capitalism too, I'm getting my basic human dignity by whatever means necessary." By pushing for reformist demands that are just a little too much for capitalism to accommodate, one can transmute the desire for reform into the demand for revolution.

I don't like trotskyist organizations, but I think they've got something important right in their idea of the transitional program.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:05 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


i would guess that capitalism has been responsible for more than 200 million deaths but i don't want feel like sitting down and mathing it out

Well, on a percentage-basis it's equivalent to 1.5-2 billion people today. But I'm dropping the derail after this.

Oh, and all the tech/Silicon Valley sloppy thinking has me SMH. Based on his wikipedia page, he's a lawyer (JD) with an econ degree (BA) who made his money in test preparation--nothing Silicon Valley or techie about either.
posted by MikeKD at 12:45 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]




Good ideas are so nice. But it takes so much more than that to be a good President. You have to be able to persuade, negotiate, see the unintended consequences, ask the right questions, bring in good people, lead. You have to see from a bunch of perspectives, know history and budgeting, policy, law. This guy seems smart, he has pretty good goals. The Guy with the Flaming Pants in the White has nuthin, so if Yang was the candidate, I'd vote for him. But his base is super-sexist and I don't see him addressing that, and he has plenty of other deficits.

I would welcome an FPP about each Dem candidate.
posted by theora55 at 5:08 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


I would welcome an FPP about each Dem candidate. Not all at once.
posted by theora55 at 5:11 PM on March 14


Uh, you know the accusations that Yang is a tech-bro or too SV aren't literally saying "he's a coder, get 'im!" right?

That's not even what the critiques of Silicon Valley are about. Most of the critique of the tech industry around here has very little to do with technology- it largely relates to the magical techno-utopian thinking that pervades among the funders and the management class who are actually calling the shots. There's a lot of messianic "great inventor" rhetoric and a lot of simple solutions to complex problems.

They (the funders and executives) are dudes like Yang.

I mean, read that Wikipedia page beyond the degrees. It's not "lazy thinking" to associate dude with the techbros. His literal first business was "a website for celebrity-affiliated philanthropic fund-raising." He left that to do a healthcare software startup. He leveraged that to do another startup which cherry-picked students based on their performance on standardized tests.

The rhetoric surrounding Yang's entire career has been the same sort of technocratic VC navel-gazing that took over the valley over the last decade, and has its roots in the Stewart Brand progress narrative bullshit that's infected it from day one.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:37 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


I would welcome an FPP about each Dem candidate. Not all at once.

Great news! You can save time by mashing at least half of them into a ball of rich old white guy with worrisome corporate ties and loyalties!
posted by loquacious at 11:18 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Today I got called a racist by a white supremacist for saying that it seemed weird that so many right wing people were into Yang.
posted by bootlegpop at 2:54 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Ok the hats are pretty sweet and I hope in addition to bringing the UBI conversation into the debate we also get another Com Truise album.

Huh, would you look at that?

This goddamn timeline. I'm still stuck in that game of Roy, aren't I? Will someone let me out or unplug this thing? I'm pretty sure I already beat the high score on this one.
posted by loquacious at 12:03 AM on March 16


Huh, would you look at that?

Griefing Jeez, add in the Beto CotDC revelations and I'm re-convinced that we're all just stuck in a really sophisticated AI trained on 80s-90s pop culture.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:59 AM on March 16 [3 favorites]


> I'm re-convinced that we're all just stuck in a really sophisticated AI trained on 80s-90s pop culture.

if it turns out we've actually been in san junipero all along, I'm... actually, I'm pretty okay with that.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:46 AM on March 16


Umm, no one's mentioned this up to now, like even Andrew Yang himself apparently, so I guess I'll do it.

What is Andrew Yang's view on Taiwan? Stuff like Taiwan independence, the Taiwan Relations Act, "one country, two systems", etc.? I searched his campaign website and the internet a bit, but haven't come up with anything.

I mean, I know just because someone is a 2nd-gen Taiwanese-American doesn't necessarily mean they have to have a view on the country their parents are from. But this person is running for POTUS and I think it's a bit of a relevant question.
posted by FJT at 6:06 PM on March 16 [2 favorites]


On business vs. statecraft: ‘There are lessons and principles that government can take from business - like treating customers well and resource efficiency. But anyone who says they are going to “run government like a business” is dumb. They require very different forms of leadership.

As a CEO you can pretty much tell people what to do. You are their boss. You are paying them. If you say we are doing something then it generally happens. The downside is no one tells you unpleasant truths.

In government most all of the time you are building consensus. You provide a vision and try to rally people around it. You build relationships. You compromise. You appeal to common goals. Things often happen more gradually. But when big things happen they can improve many lives.’
posted by Apocryphon at 12:33 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


he's also announced he will soon be adding policy planks for

- getting rid of the penny
- adopting ranked choice voting

These are two more of the classic pet issues of Internet pedants. Examples already part of his platform are:

- postal banking
- restrictions on high-frequency trading
- relaxation of zoning laws to increase housing density
- of course UBI
posted by vogon_poet at 10:19 AM on March 18 [3 favorites]


This is what it's like to be in the donor class and have all your pet issues magically transform into conventional wisdom and policy priorities, isn't it
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:37 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]


Like, I don't particularly trust this guy, but okay
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:39 AM on March 18


He’s not rich enough to be in the donor class. More like blogger class.

People are mad because he favors proportional representation in the electoral college as opposed to abolishing it.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:14 AM on March 18


I forgot about that. “The electoral college is good and logical” is another fairly classic contrarian wonk position. Has become less tenable after 2016 in those social circles though.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:16 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


I apologize for being preemptively responsive in this thread earlier.

I view Yang 2020 as basically Lawrence Lessig on steroids (or acid, based on the memes). He's a triple-issue focused candidate where all problems are rooted in economic discontent and the only cures in his worldview are UBI, M4A, and replacing GDP. Like Lessig, he doesn't have much of an electoral chance. However, unlike Lessig he's actually getting enough support and media coverage to make it to the debates, and so might actually get a chance to share his ideas before the American public, so they can be pilfered liberally by the other candidates.

I also view him as the first Democratic Asian American presidential candidate that has national reach outside of Hawaii. For all of the memes and the joke/fringe candidacy nature of being a layman, his message and unorthodox ideas are reaching some audience and shaping the debate. This is at least a slight achievement for the AAPI community having him be in the news is at least preferential to being represented by Cindy Yang.

That said, I would characterize him not as the Silicon Valley STEM techbro candidate, but basically the TED Talk candidate. If you've listened to his speeches or interviews, you quickly see that he repeats the same origin story, uses the same framing and statistics to describe how automation led to job loss led to the rise in Trump, and prescribes the same policy to do it. It's a very fine-tuned pitch and it's pure TED Talking head that encapsulates middlebrow internet intellectualism. There's a technocratic element, both in that Yang is a very experts/numbers/math-trusting candidate, and that he's tech-friendly. But I'd argue that because of his East Coast background, and the fact that his whole platform is built around runaway, un-taxed, tech leading to economic inequality and social breakdown, he's not the Silicon Valley candidate. Sure, he's business-friendly and has the "I alone can fix it" mentality that plagues those stricken with the engineer's disease, but I highly doubt that if Zuckerberg had run this year they would have similar platforms. Many of his smaller policies look like the fodder of The Atlantic articles and wonkery.

And as someone interested in fringe politics, I find Yang to be an interesting combination of many outsider candidates in the past. There's the obvious Trump angle of a businessman running for president, but while his message comes with doom and gloom, it also comes with understanding and reconciliation instead of hate. There's the Obama angle of a fresh-faced new Democratic hope in a blazer-with-no-tie look and tech-friendly policies. He's a kook with a book like Nader, and like Cain has a centerpiece policy that can be summed up in a slogan. He's also like Perot for millennials. And hopefully, like Sanders, he'll be able to bring some of his more radical ideas into the public debate.

As for the alt-right fanbase, we can and should talk about it too. I view the support as having happened in two distinct periods- in mid-to-late 2018 when some white nationalist social media thought leaders wrote in favor of Yang's concern for Rust Belt workers. But the real activity happened just about two weeks ago, when the memestorm appeared. We can talk about how toxic subcultures like self-described NEETs latch on to his universal handouts. We can talk about how MAGA trolls have become increasingly disappointed in their god-emperor and are finding new objects of worship. We can talk about the unsettling attitude white nationalists and modern scientific racists have towards Asian people- a legacy that extends to Imperial Japan being part of the Axis, perhaps. We can also talk about *chan ops and Discord conspiracies- but I think the interest in Yang on the part of trolldom stems from the aforementioned social conditions, instead of a focused campaign.

Incidentally, he's already come under fire from at least one alt-right thought leader for his warnings about whitelash, so the alt-right amicus towards him may not last. And to tie in the above two paragraphs, there's a really interesting phenomenon of populist utopian non-leftist anti-capitalist economic movements of the Great Depression- some of which were right-wing, others were non-partisan, perhaps precursors of Yang.

Ultimately, I'm getting Linsanity vibes from the Yang phenomenon. Both are cases where an AAPI suddenly gets put into the national spotlight- albeit Yang's campaign is far from as successful as Jeremy Lin's brief yet inspiring run for the Knicks where. Both highlight the ambiguous place of AAPI in American society. And both, sadly, will probably flame out once they underperform and loses value in the public's opinion. It's not what I wish for Yang- I think he's got some fresh ideas and is an eloquent critic of capitalism while being a capitalist, but that may be his fate.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:50 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


He’s not rich enough to be in the donor class. More like blogger class.

No, I meant Yang : me :: most politicians : the donor class
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:10 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Andrew Yang, Upstart Democratic Presidential Candidate, Comes Out Against Circumcision

...Yang’s anti-circumcision platform has also been a hit with the racist 4Chan posters who have embraced Yang’s call for a monthly $1,000 payment to every American, which they’ve dubbed “Yangbux.” After Yang tweeted about circumcision, his fans in the alt-right took it as a jab at Jews, who perform ceremonial circumcisions on their newborn sons on the eighth day of their lives.

“Holy shit,” wrote one 4Chan user. “A candidate actually redpilled on circumcision?”

posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on March 18


Life comes at you fast.

Yeah, that’s a very unnecessary stance for him to talk about and does make it sound like dogwhistling. His Twitter this past weekend is also sounding Muskian with random pronouncements that really detract from the UBI core message.

FWIW, the original tweet was him replying to a rando, and then The Daily Besst interviewed him specifically about the stance? He explained it and said he wouldn’t ban the practice.

His campaign seems very naive about the dark internet forces that have latched on.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:32 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


Grifter dude is made entirely out of dogwhistles and walkbacks.
posted by Artw at 7:46 PM on March 18


Political amateurs gonna amateur, but at least he’s trying
posted by Apocryphon at 2:06 AM on March 20


To follow up on my own comment, I finally dug up something on his view of Taiwan. Something from all the way back in March 2018. And well, there's at least one issue where he has a pretty typical view on:
Taiwanese-American presidential contender supports status quo with China
posted by FJT at 9:36 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


It’s not a thing internet Nazis generally have a view on, so he’s got nothing to work with.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


C-SPAN: town hall in Plymouth, New Hampshire (March 20)
posted by Apocryphon at 10:21 AM on March 24


My hometown! I can't be bothered to watch an hour and a half video, but the first words out of his mouth are about how he went to high school in New Hampshire, at Philips Exeter. Philips Exeter is a profoundly snooty prep school for extremely wealthy people most of whom are not from New Hampshire. This isn't a great opening gambit for talking to people in Plymouth, who are mostly not rich, and shows another example of his tone-deafness.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:31 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


WashPo - The Trailer: 2020 has its candidate for people who hate politicians
posted by Apocryphon at 6:15 PM on March 26




Noted neo-Nazi Baked Alaska to pivot away from the ‘alt right’ and toward Yang boosterism
posted by The Whelk at 5:32 AM on March 28


Mmmm hmm.
posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on March 28


If Yang can pull easily swayed young men away from Nazism-for-the-lulz instead of the other way around, all the better for all of us. Here's to hoping.
posted by clawsoon at 4:03 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Yeah that’s really not how entryism works. You’re getting played.
posted by Artw at 4:30 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I went through a bunch of phases that should've ended up on the alt-right - grew up Evangelical, got into evo-psych, read a bunch of PUA stuff - and yet here I am on Metafilter. I know I'm not alone. Sometimes there are random pushes that send a person down one path instead of another.

Of all the random pushes that a young man who likes memes could encounter, Yang - at least what I've seen of his so far - doesn't seem the worst. So far he doesn't seem to be pulling people into the alt-right tunnel so much as he seems to be standing beside it tempting the curious out. Normally I'd worry that his standing beside the alt-right tunnel would draw wider interest to the alt-right, but given that Trump is a giant magnet pulling people into the tunnel, Yang seems more like a diversionary force.

I could be completely wrong about that. Time will tell?
posted by clawsoon at 9:51 AM on March 29 [6 favorites]


entryism is a new word for me, though I see that it's definitely a thing, which is to say, a recognized tactic. Though a quick read of that wiki doesn't exactly fill me with horror, entryism seeming to be charged way more often than substantiated.

I wonder if it's akin to the gateway charges I've seen voiced elsewhere -- gateway being one of those words I learned to be wary of long ago, specifically in the context of the War on Drugs. The notion that comparatively benign "gateway drugs" (marijuana for instance) lead one inexorably to heroin and crack cocaine and whatever the current horror may be. I mean, yeah, I get it, pretty much every heroin addict's first illegal drug was marijuana, but the vast majority of folks who try a little marijuana do not progress to heroin, they just eat pizza and fall asleep watching TV.

What does lead one to heroin addiction? Pain generally, of one kind or another, particularly I think of the emotional/psychic kind -- despair in a word.

You want to negate the alt-right's entryism tactics, whatever cloak they may be wearing? Focus on the problem of despair, particularly it seems of young men whose skin tone suggests a predominance of European blood.
posted by philip-random at 11:58 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Sometimes despair and anger come from a high sense of entitlement combined with low expectations. Those are both beliefs which can be stoked: You deserve to run the world! But you're not going to run anything, you're going to be turned into a nothing! And [insert ethnic/gender/religious group] is to blame!

I'm reminded of the work that Alan Krueger did on Islamic terrorism, which produced the counterintuitive finding that most Muslim terrorists were highly educated. They felt that they were entitled to run their countries, but as long as America was propping up corrupt old regimes they'd never have the chance. High entitlement beliefs, low expectations.

Despair is endemic. I think you can find it in all groups of people, not just young white men. Shaping entitlement beliefs seems like it might be an important part of this. What are you entitled to? And, maybe more importantly, what makes you entitled to that? I.e, who is entitled with you? Is it your whiteness? Your maleness? Your youth? Your education? Or is it your humanity?
posted by clawsoon at 1:53 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Yeah, every time someone goes on about how sad and deprived young white men are... well every other group in the US has it worse, yet they don't set up sniper stands and shoot hundreds of people. Poor working class women have every disadvantage white working class men do, yet they don't plant bombs. Yeah, there are occasional outliers, but what it comes down to is that white men presume that they *should* have everything and that women and minorities should be denied, and large swathes of them appear to believe they are entitled to murder whoever they don't like when they are thwarted.
posted by tavella at 2:05 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I mentioned young white men because that's specifically who seem to get targeted by the alt-right and its "entryism" tactics, but yes, absolutely, to what clawsoon said ...
posted by philip-random at 2:19 PM on March 29


Is the Yang phenomenon really an entryist situation, or are Yang Gang memers simply converting over from preexisting MAGA Pepe meme scenes? It seems like an existing radicalized group moving to a different trend, even potentially de-radicalizing. Not to mention that they will likely just move on to another bauble to project their hopes and dreams upon, once they realize he's just another socially liberal Democrat who just happens to have unconventional policies.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:55 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I think it was spot-on to mention young white men because there are so many layers of entitlement beliefs that we are gifted.
posted by clawsoon at 3:03 PM on March 29


It seems like an existing radicalized group moving to a different trend, even potentially de-radicalizing.

Or, get this, an existing radicalized group using the cover Yang affords them to gain some level of acceptance and access to the mainstream, in furtherance of their Nazi goals, exactly like they always do.
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


It sounds like an absolutely moronic plan if they really had one, as their presence in Yang's online support base is dragging down his campaign, and making him less mainstream. Not to mention that Yang is a completely far shot candidate, and even in the impossible situation where he somehow becomes president, would behave like a conventional Democrat other than for the UBI thing and some other odd wonkish proposals.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:22 PM on March 29


Huffington Post: Andrew Yang Talks Identity On The Campaign Trail, Growing Up Asian-American
The candidate’s entry into the election in November 2017 was a defining moment for many Asian-Americans ― a bold move that shocked our risk-averse parents and even left us a bit confused that an Asian dude out there, typically portrayed as an obedient worker bee, was going for the jugular.

Asian-Americans continue to struggle in the realm of political representation. While they make up almost 5 percent of the population ― a figure that’s only increasing for the fastest-growing racial group in the country ― just over 2 percent of members of Congress are Asian-American. And it’s actually a good year. There are currently more Asian-Americans on Capitol Hill than there have ever been in history. [...]

Both parties have failed to sufficiently connect with Asian-American voters. According to AAPI Data, the overwhelming majority of Asian-Americans reported that neither party reached out to them regarding the 2016 election.

That doesn’t mean Asian-Americans don’t want to get involved. A 2018 Asian American Voter Survey from AAPI Data and APIA Vote shows there’s an uptick in voter enthusiasm. Almost half of those polled indicated they were “more enthusiastic about voting this year” [...]

“When I first told my mom that I was running for president, I believe the reaction was, ‘That’s nice.’”
posted by Apocryphon at 6:50 PM on March 29


Interview on The Root with Terrell Jermaine Starr
posted by Apocryphon at 8:51 AM on April 3


"Getting Yang-Pilled by the #YangGang" - MEL Magazine
posted by Apocryphon at 3:04 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


That MEL magazine article makes me slightly wonder if competing in debate ruins people. There's something almost hyperbolically post-structuralist about how a few of my friends who got into debate see the world. Like any point they can argue is legitimate no matter how irrational the tactic
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:34 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I definitely prefer dialogue to debate. The former has no particular end in mind beyond (hopefully) enhanced understanding. The latter ends up being just another sport, winners and losers.
posted by philip-random at 9:59 PM on April 11


There’s something unsettling in how so much of elected government is dominated by former lawyers, those who are paid to debate any side.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:43 AM on April 12


That MEL magazine article makes me slightly wonder if competing in debate ruins people

It was interesting that back when I was in high school we didn't have debate teams, we had discussion teams for forensic competition. Discussion teams were scored on the basis of the ideas they raised, similar to debate, but also in how they involved others in the conversation and how well they worked towards finding a consensus in their talks. While there may be something inherently "middle ground" about that format in some ways, it also had some real strengths to it that debate lacked.

(In competition it didn't so much force working to the middle as much as accepting one had the weaker position and working towards some form of agreement that accepted reasonable objections as an area for improvement while conceding the main body of disagreement might well be stronger on a given side of the argument, but in real life that wouldn't hold unless actively sought which is unlikely in most circumstances, to say the least, and a big reason why debate gets more attention.)
posted by gusottertrout at 1:18 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]




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