May 6, 2020
Andrew Yang, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary in early February, continues to make his presence felt in the 2020 election.
The entrepreneur sued the New York State Board of Elections in April after it canceled the state's presidential primary by stripping Sen. Bernie Sander's name from the ballot. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the agency to resume the primary for June 23.
"It's the right decision," Yang told Cheddar. "I'm thrilled that a federal judge saw that depriving millions of New Yorkers of the right to vote is a very bad thing and wrong."
Yang said he wasn't convinced by the state's excuse that it canceled the primary due to public health concerns, noting that vote-by-mail is available to everyone in the state. Plus, local primary races were still going to be tallied.
"Other states have postponed the primary, which makes sense, but canceling it all together is undemocratic, and the federal judge saw it the same way," he said.
But the former candidate, who launched a nonprofit in March called Humanity First to champion his ideas, has seen his star rise since ending his campaign.
As the novel coronavirus ravages the economy, some federal lawmakers have warmed up to the idea of a temporary universal basic income (UBI), an idea that Yang popularized during his campaign.
While Yang is ultimately calling for a permanent UBI, he said the idea of a monthly check for every American while the economy returns to pre-crisis levels is a "great next step."
"Unfortunately many of the jobs that are disappearing right now are gone for good," he said. "Our economy is not going to snap back into place like a rubber band."
In the long-term, Yang said he remains focused on overhauling capitalism with a "Marshall-Plan-scale initiative" that would re-center the economy around human well-being.
That means less focus on economic measurements such as GDP and more focus on metrics such as labor force participation, mental health, substance abuse levels, and the environment.
"We need to humanize our economy, because right now you can see very clearly that companies are firing large numbers of people and being rewarded for it through their stock price," he said. "We have to come clean and say, 'Look, our economy is not actually designed to make us and our families and our communities stronger and healthier. It's designed to maximize the bottom line of the Amazons of the world.'"
That vision hasn't stopped Yang from supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, who in the past has slammed the idea of a universal basic income as well as other progressive policies.
He added that he also wasn't deterred by assault allegations against Biden from former Senate staffer Tara Reade.
"I would listen to Joe's statements, which is we have to take these sorts of things very seriously and look at them, but in this case you have to look at the context," he said. "I don't know anything anyone else doesn't know about this particular subject."
He said he would "welcome the opportunity" to work in a Biden administration in any number of possible posts.
As for speculation that he was considering a run for mayor of New York City in 2021, Yang said he was open to any post nationally or locally that would give him a chance to do good.
"I want to solve problems, and certainly, executive roles are more attractive to me, whether it's at the national level or the city-wide level," he said.