Let me just say this fast: Andrew Yang just sold his Yang Gang some serious political bullshit. If they’re up for eating it will be the judge of their campaign. Yes, their campaign, not his. It has been his fervent supporters who insist that Yang is very similar to Bernie Sanders and preferable even (“Because he’s younger!”). Well, with two swift comments yesterday he cast in concrete just how NOT like Bernie Sanders he is. And neither had to do with age.
The two comments were these:
Asked about implementing Medicare for All, he told reporters that he supports “the spirit of what Bernie’s trying to accomplish. I do think that outlawing private insurance in a very short period of time is a bit too disruptive and I would not do it.”
Then, in comments to the Washington Post, Yang said that he would be open to running as another nominee’s Vice-President. Questioned, he noted that “I’m definitely open to working with Joe (Biden). We’ve actually talked about it.”
So Yang, whose followers have insisted that he is about sooooo much more than merely Universal Basic Income, in two fell swoops introduced some spineless political equivocating into his platform that no one should be happy about except the DNC.
He equivocated on the need for a a swift transition to Medicare for All. As Krystal Ball so rightly notes on this morning’s “Rising,” waffling over what you’ll fight for in the midst of a primary doesn’t inspire confidence in the people who supported you from the beginning. It reeks of Third Way politics (“Compromise right! Compromise more right!”), and any wary voter rightfully should be alarmed.
Likewise, that Biden statement should give the Yang Gang pause. What the living fuck? Ball and her co-host Saagar Enjeti were relatively easy on Yang for this, though Ball did say it’s “hard to get your head around.” Given the significant policy proposal differences between Yang and Biden, any appearance of joining their disparate forces (“Yang Gang, meet Biden’s Denture Gang!”) should rightfully outrage the folks drinking the Yang Kool-Aid. After all, this is Biden, the premiere centrist establishment corporate candidate who at the fourth Democratic debate attempted to scaremonger the American viewing public that Bernie Sanders (and his capitalist succubus, Elizabeth Warren) were recklessly raising taxes on the American middle class because even eliminating the Pentagon wouldn’t fund M4A.
Yang becoming pals with that Biden? Turns this sudden generally cause whiplash.
So, for all of you #YangGang enthusiasts, put on your seatbelts. If this is the future of your candidate’s political maneuvering, you’re going to need them. Remember the first time you read that page on his campaign website about Medicare for All? Yang’s writers make Bernie-Sanders-cribbed points about how the “incentives for healthcare providers don’t align with providing quality, efficient care” and that “being tied to an employer so that you don’t lose you healthcare prevents economic mobility.” These things are true and need immediate action when the next administration takes power. If it’s important, ending private insurance swiftly is exactly the right course of action. Anyone who wavers now isn’t likely to be as committed to the task in the future when the opposition gets really tough and ugly.
Furthermore, linking yourself to the guy who staunchly opposes Medicare for All and loves the cash his neoliberal campaign is raking in from the health insurance/Big Pharma lobby is wildly wrongheaded. It certainly doesn’t assure the support of genuinely committed Medicare for All supporters who might think Bernie’s too old and Warren’s too non-committal.
Watch the road signs, Yang Gang. Oncoming traffic may turn out to be quite a bitch.