By Ryan Chou
Tech entrepreneur and former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang is now running to be New York City’s mayor. But unlike the Democratic primary, Yang is no small fish in the mayoral race. Recent polls show him as the surging frontrunner at 28% support, with his closest competition being Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who is trailing behind by double digits at 17%.
Yang has certainly had both ups and downs in his bid thus far. In early January, he stirred controversy by defending him not living in the Big Apple with the claim that it was too difficult to raise children and work in such a small living space. This made him come off as out-of-touch because this was the exact situation thousands of New York City families were in at the time. While, at heart, it is an understandable reason, it also could have been stated much better. Additionally, on February 2nd, 2021, Yang unfortunately joined the growing pool of over 27 million Americans confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. Although there is no indication that he became seriously ill from the virus, it did sidetrack his campaign by forcing him to quarantine at home away from physical events.
However, there have also been many upsides to the Yang campaign up to this point. In mid-January, Martin Luther King III, the son of civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr., endorsed him. And as stated before, his poll numbers are surging, with his lead expanding from as little as low single digits to where they are now. Additionally, given the rise in hate crimes directed towards Asian-Americans recently, especially in New York City, Yang has consistently used his platform to shed light on these atrocities.
What about his policies? Well, similar to his 2020 campaign, a human-centered economy is included in his mayoral plans. Yang wants to shift towards the numbers directly focused on people–things such as poverty levels. Furthermore, his Freedom Dividend flagship presidential proposal seems to be conceptually included in his mayoral goals, which includes starting a basic income program.
Andrew Yang has irrefutably been a rising name in the last few years, and as he continues his campaign to be the New York City’s mayor, it appears more and more likely that he may win his first political office in June.