Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) will have few allies when he takes the debate stage on Wednesday evening as his party’s frontrunner, and he may seek to find an ally in entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Yang, who was ironically one of the first Democrats to publicly criticize Biden for not showing up to an Iowa presidential forum, revealed recently that Biden approached him during a commercial break at last month’s debate and told him that they needed to “sit down and talk about the fourth industrial revolution,” which has been a focal point of Yang’s upstart candidacy.
Yang, who has all but qualified for the next round of debates despite arguably receiving the least amount of coverage from the establishment and left-wing media, recently told Kara Swisher on her Recode/Decode podcast:
So I will share this with you. And this is something that happened on the debate stage. So we’re on commercial break. I’ll let you guys know what it’s like to run for president.
So you’re on the debate stage and then there’s a commercial break and then you know what we all do? We all run to the side of the stage to get our makeup refreshed. That’s how made-for-TV this bullshit is.
So during one of the breaks, me and Joe are next to each other. And then Joe says, “No matter what happens, Andrew, you and I need to sit down and talk about the fourth industrial revolution, because I am terrified that we’re going to gut the middle class.” And I said, “Hell yeah, Joe.”
So this is I think a very, very positive thing that certainly the message is getting through in ways big and small. And just the prior week, I was with Joe at an event in South Carolina. That’s another thing you might not realize about running for president, but you’re with the other candidates in green rooms, in scrums. In that case it was in a holding pen before a fish fry. And so you end up getting to know each other personally. I have some of the other candidates’ cellphone numbers. We send each other encouraging messages. So there are actual personal dynamics at play and I’m very confident that we’re going to mainstream the issues that are important to this campaign in the days and weeks to come.
During the CNN debate, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) may confront Biden on race relations. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) could hit him on foreign policy. Even Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) suggested over the weekend that she may accuse Biden of not wanting women to work outside of the household even though his wife, Jill Biden, was a community college professor in Northern Virginia while she was the second lady.
Yang, secure in the fact that he is in the race for the long haul, has said he is not going to throw rocks during Wednesday’s debate.
With so many desperate candidates on stage looking to elevate themselves—and keep their candidacies alive—at Biden’s expense, the former vice president could look for ways to get Yang more speaking time and have a conversation with him about issues impacting working-class Americans.