Andrew Yang came out on top as the winner of Thursday night’s Democratic Debate thanks to his gameshow-like politics, according to an online Drudge poll.
While political pundits found it difficult to determine a clear winner, it was the 44-year-old entrepreneur’s promise to give away $120,000 to 10 lucky people that got voters in the #YangGang.
Out of the 10 candidates on the debate stage in Houston, Texas, Yang won the internet with 14,975 votes (38%) in the online poll.
‘If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to Yang2020.com and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that,’ he said during his opening statements. ‘This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people.’
It’s no surprise that he would come out on top online as the political outsider has successfully use social media to gain traction.
Yang, who usually falls within the second-tier of the 20 candidates running in the Democratic primary, has engaged in several stunts – including crowd surfing – to increase his visibility in a crowded field.
Yang is calling his initiative the Freedom Dividend Pilot Program, and will give money to 10 individuals from funds donated to his campaign.
‘In America today everything revolves around the ultimately dollar,’ Yang said as the first line of his opening statement. ‘We have to get our country working for us again, instead of the other way around.’
‘That’s why I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight,’ he continued. ‘My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year for 10 American families, somebody watching this at home right now.’
Yang was also the second-most tweeted about candidate in the debate, behind frontrunner Joe Biden.
Also trending on Twitter was #YangsDebateSurprise, #ISupportYang and#YangGang even before he was asked the first question.
One of those tweets about the entrepreneur came from Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit co-founder and husband of Serena Williams, who wrote =: ‘Hey I like this idea so much I’ll do it personally for those 10 people if you can’t.’
Yang’s social media tactics have clearly worked, and gained him the backing of billionaire Elon Musk, who publicly voiced his support.
Even The View co-host Meghan McCain showed an interest in Yang during the debate, tweeting: ‘I bet Andrew Yang is fun to go out drinking with.#DemocraticDebate’
When it came to Google trends, Yang came in third behind Biden and the number one searched candidate Sen. Cory Booker.
But not all viewers appeared pleased with Yang’s performance when he attempted to make a joke about his Asian heritage.
‘I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors,’ he said.
‘They tell me that they spend a lot of time on paperwork, avoiding being sued and navigating the insurance bureaucracy. We have to change the incentive, so instead of revenue and activity, people are focused on our health and in the healthcare system.’
That didn’t sit well with many Asian-American voters who called out the stereotype.
Surgeon Dr Eugene Gu took the Twitter to write: ‘Andrew Yang saying he’s Asian and knows a lot of doctors is a bit jarring. As an Asian American doctor, I’ve seen my share of model minority stereotypes. But seeing an Asian guy on the presidential debate stage is the biggest source of pride I’ve felt in a long time.’
CNN senior national correspondent Kyung Lah, from South Korea, tweeted that she was ‘annoyed.’
As for the other candidates, there were few breakout moments across the debate stage as many democrats engaged in bitter disputes over healthcare and launched personal attacks.
Beto O’Rourke made a bold gun control vow saying: ‘Hell, yes, we are going to take your AR-15s.’
The former Texas congressman was applauded by the Democratic audience and fellow candidates Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker her praised him on stage, but he risked handing Republicans red meat for attack advertisements if he makes it to the head-to-head race with Donald Trump.
While it appealed to the Democratic base, making the declaration on the debate stage reaches a wider audience – and could be used against him.
Julian Castro, 44, unloaded on Joe Biden, 76, about his age, implying the former vice president was having memory problems in a not so subtle shot at concerns about Biden’s advancing years.
‘Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?,’ Castro snapped at him during a fierce back-and-forth on healthcare as the audience gasped at the attack line.
While coming in strong with the vice president could appear to be a smart tactic, it may have garnered Biden sympathy and made Castro look like a bully.
And Biden was the main target of the night from the start of the debate when he got into a three-way tiff with liberal rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on healthcare, holding his own in the first half but appearing lazy in the second.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Kayla Brantley