Andrew Yang: Moderate Biden Can ‘Mainstream’ Progressive Ideas

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang this week said former Vice President Joe Biden’s moderate image will potentially allow him to enact some of the most progressive policies since the New Deal era.

“If someone like Joe says, ‘Hey, we need to do things differently on the economy or on climate change,’ that also becomes the mainstream. It’s very powerful. I think Joe has those instincts where he doesn’t try and chime in on every new issue. In part, that will help him move the entire center of gravity. If you look at his proposal on addressing climate change, it was very aggressive and very ambitious, rightfully so, but by being Joe, it becomes the new reasonable,” Yang told Yahoo News this week. “I think that Joe’s administration is going to be one of the most important administrations in decades, in terms of a need for a new New Deal.”

According to Yahoo, Yang, who popularized the idea of universal basic income during the presidential primary season while brining attention to the impact automation will have on the economy, believes “that Biden’s long record as a moderate gives him the power to take offbeat ideas like the ones Yang ran on and make them mainstream.”

Yang said he is speaking to Biden’s team about a potential role in a future Biden administration and is focused on redefining how the government measures economic progress and success.

“The biggest idea that I’ve been working on is really how we can help the economy function for more and more Americans who are being left behind right now,” Yang told the outlet. “The ambition we have to make is to start redefining how we measure economic progress and get away from our dated measurements, like GDP and the headline unemployment rate and stock market prices, which have no relationship to how most Americans are doing anymore, and moving forward our health and mental health and affordability of basic needs. Start using those as a measurement of economic progress.”

At a campaign event on Tuesday, Biden said his healthcare and economic plans could make him “one of the most progressive presidents in American history.”

Labor leader Richard Trumka this week also echoed this talking point, telling CNN that Biden has a chance to usher in one of the most “progressive” pro-worker platforms the party has seen to date. Trumka said he wants to make sure this progressive agenda “gets implemented afterwards.”

“The platform that is about to come out will be the most progressive worker oriented platform any political party’s ever put forward. I happen to be on the drafting committee. It takes care of workers. It takes care of the health and safety standards. It takes care of pensions. And it says that workers are the key to recovery,” he said. “In any kind of recession, there has to be consumer spending. When workers get a raise, the economy does better. Everybody does better along the way.”

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