Andrew Yang: Identity Politics ‘Stupid Way to Win Elections’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 22: 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Andrew Yang speaks onstage at The Wall Street Journal's "The Future of Everything Festival" at Spring Studios on May 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Appearing recently on the Rubin Report with host Dave Rubin, 2020 White House hopeful Andrew Yang (D) criticized the Democrat Party’s focus on identity politics, slamming it as a “stupid way to win elections.”

A partial transcript is as follows:

DAVE RUBIN: Identity politics, which seemingly has become the culture issue, and I think almost every one of the policy issues is now rooted in identity politics. I think you can argue that the way we talk about free college is somehow rooted in identity politics. Certainly, immigration is rooted in identity politics. We’re sadly widdling everyone down to: “you’re an Asian man,” and I must have some judgment on you because of that, and this person’s white, and this person’s black, and this person’s Muslim. I’ve heard you talk about it a little, actually, but do you view identify politics as positive? As dangerous? As a tool for something?

ANDREW YANG: I understand the sentiment and ideas around identity politics. I don’t think it’s a great way to try to build consensus or bring people together, or get big policies across the finish line. And I think it’s kind of a stupid way to win elections. I think the Democratic Party needs to try to gravitate away from identity politics and towards things that would actually bridge the gap. That’s one of my missions during this campaign is to make that case to say, “look, I understand people have different experiences. I’ve had different experiences, but if we’re going to solve some of these problems, we have to emphasize the things that will bring us together and not the things that are going to make us seem like we’re living different lives.”

RUBIN: That must be sad for you to see how far the Democratic Party has gone in on this, or at least some of the other candidates you’re going to be standing on stage with.

YANG: It’s been really interesting for me because I’ve been a Democrat and it’s like, “Hey, I’m just like you guys.”

RUBIN: The odd thing is the people who would buy into these ideas would look at you and go, “Okay, well he’s Asian and because of the way are socio-economically successful, and families stay together, and all these things, your markers of idenity are the ones that get punished.”…

YANG: The Asian-American identity has its own distinct place in the identify heirarchy, I suppose.

RUBIN: I would say a very precarious place, unfortunately.

YANG: The case I’m making is like, look, my parents come here to have a better life for me and my brother, and it’s worked. And now I’m trying to give back. That’s been my experience as an American. I’m a very proud American. I want to try to make this country stronger so that my kids and other people’s kids grow up in a country that we’re all still excited about. And we do not have that much time to make that happen because things are coming apart very quickly.

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