The “Yang Gang” is Growing

Andrew Yang, a startup veteran and founder of the nonprofit Venture for America who has never run for elected office before, has made a $12,000-per-year basic income for all American adults the centerpiece of his campaign.

He averages 0 to 1 percent in public opinion polls, but as of this writing, he’s surged on prediction markets, with bettors giving him slightly worse odds than Warren, Booker, and Klobuchar, and better odds than Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Julián Castro.

4chan is a particularly prominent hotbed for the Yang Gang, which can cause some problems given the site’s popularity among some white nationalists; one backer posted an innocuous tweet from Yang about the opioid crisis with the caption “Andrew Yang cares about white people.”

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.”

“I wish I could just jump up and down about how funny it is, but obviously there’s an element of it that’s intertwined with some terrible beliefs,” he continued. “Anyone who spends, like, five seconds looking into me or my background or my beliefs or my platform would be like, ‘This guy is the least white nationalist dude ever.’”

Message received! So what does Yang stand for — and what does his online success mean for the 2020 race going forward?

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