Opinion: Andrew Yang is a non-polarizing candidate

After four long years of the Trump administration, where each week brings a new national scandal and the country languishes in a state of national malaise, the 2020 presidential election can hopefully bring the political change America so desperately needs. 

What Trump has proven in his tenure is that we need to move beyond the extreme partisan division that has afflicted the country for far too long. Our next president needs to transcend all of that, and to focus on principle rather than party. 

Andrew Yang is the kind of politician that America needs in this state of extreme polarization. 

Although he’s firm in his principles, he’s free of the kind of partisan baggage that has been such a hindrance to American politics. Despite running on the Democratic ticket, Yang comes across as more of an independent than anything, and is willing to talk to his conservative opponents. One cannot imagine Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders having a friendly discussion with Ben Shapiro, for instance. He appears to be more interested in ideas rather than flattering the party elites, and that is refreshing in this age of division.  

The problem with politics in America is that we’re too blinded by partisan fealty. Republicans, for instance, refuse to even acknowledge the reality of climate change. This denial is not based on any adequate evidence, but because it’s become a matter of party dogma. We’ve become so deeply entrenched in our views that we can’t even come together to address an existential threat. 

The Democrats, for their part, have become the party of directionless resistance. One gets the feeling that, even if Trump were to propose some genuinely good legislation, many in the Democratic party would fight it out of misguided principle. Since the dawn of the Obama era, gridlock and polarization have made it effectively impossible to govern in America. 

Now, the point of this article is not to offer some uncritical endorsement of Yang’s actual platform, but rather to encourage his approach to politics. For my part, I’m still skeptical on the feasibility of a universal basic income (UBI) that is the cornerstone of his campaign.

I do like how he’s willing to seriously look at the issue of wide-scale job automation, but I’m not entirely sold on his specific approach to dealing with the problem. What is refreshing with his campaign is that he does not engage in the kind of partisan mudslinging that is so definitive of our age. Unlike Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker, he’s an outsider and not married to his party. 

In this upcoming election, we should approach politics more independently and focus on issue rather than identity. Yang seems to offer a more objective and level headed approach to politics, one we desperately need. I highly doubt he’ll win the nomination, but I hope whoever does takes his more cool-headed approach. In the future, we need less partisan sensationalism and more emphasis on the issues. 

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