An NPR reporter who has been following the 2020 presidential candidates and President Donald Trump on the campaign trail said on Tuesday that presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D) is the only Democrat that Trump supporters are interested in potentially voting for in a general election.
NPR’s Tamara Keith was at one of Yang’s campaign events last week in New Hampshire and reported that Yang was “greeted with a rock star reception.”
“Yang drew a packed crowd to a public library in a small town in Southern New Hampshire on Friday night — a diverse group in terms of age, race and gender. Some were curious voters trying to see as many candidates as they could,” she said, adding that the over-capacity crowd likely violated the fire code. “Some were part of the Yang Gang, shorthand for those all-in on Andrew Yang’s candidacy. For someone who has no history in politics and was largely unknown until he launched his presidential campaign, Yang was greeted with a rock star reception.”
Keith said she noticed a voter at Yang’s event who told Yang that he voted for Trump but is now “looking for something better.”
“I’ve spoken to Trump supporters at Trump rallies who say, ‘well the only other candidate I’m interested in is Andrew Yang,’” Keith said.
I’ve had truck drivers come to my surrogate events in N.H. for @AndrewYang, votes Trump in ‘16, & the only Dem they’ll support in ‘20 is Andrew. He’s the only one who has spent time on this issue. Trucking is the #1 job in 29 states, folks – this is a major problem. #YangGang https://t.co/nTLUwCuaz7
— Steve Marchand (@marchandsteve) August 21, 2019
One of Yang’s central arguments on the stump is that he is the Democrat who can best beat Trump in a potential general election matchup by winning over Trump voters and bringing in new voters who have not voted and participated in politics because they hate both political parties.
“Donald Trump is our president today, in large part, because he got some of the problems right, but his solutions are the opposite of what we need. His solutions were we’re going to build a wall, we’re going to turn the clock back, we’re going to bring the old jobs back,” Yang told NPR. “We have to do the opposite of all that. We have to turn the clock forward. We have to accelerate our economy and society as fast as possible. We have to evolve in the way we see work and value.”
Yang told NPR that he talks “a lot about the problems in people’s communities that they can recognize” and “it’s a mystery why other Democrats aren’t focused on the same problems.”
“When I grew up, I thought of the Democrats as the party of the working class, the party of the little guy or gal. And, to me, who are the little guys and gals in our economy today? It is the retail clerk, the fast food worker, the truck driver, the call center worker. The people who feel like their futures are being pushed more and more to the side,” Yang continued. “I think that many people who voted for Donald Trump felt like the Democratic Party was not speaking to them and the problems they saw in their communities, and I am. So that’s winning me a critical mass of Donald Trump supporters, which is, to me, crucial for the Democratic nominee. The whole point is to beat Donald Trump.”
Yang, who has been heralded for running an optimistic “humanity first” campaign, also put to rest any notion that he is a “pessimist.”
“I’ve started several multimillion-dollar organizations. I’m running for president and I’m currently either in fifth or sixth place depending upon where you look. You don’t do any of those things if you’re not an optimist,” Yang told NPR. “I believe we can arrest the decline of our civilization. I believe we can evolve in the way we think about work and value. I think we can give every American a freedom dividend of $1,000 if a majority of us get together and say that’s what we want to do. I’d say these are profoundly optimistic decisions and actions. I’m not someone holed up in my basement waiting for the waters to overtake me. I’m trying to fight it with every fiber of my being. And that to me speaks to my sense of the possibilities still in front of us. I’m a parent. I’ve got two young boys. And I’ll be damned if I just rest while the future I see coming up just overtakes us all.”