Andrew Yang has become a surrogate of sorts for Asian Americans. It’s the benefit of running for the highest office and losing—the very thing Donald Trump always wanted to do but couldn’t figure out how. He became president. Our loss.
But Yang has done losing right.
And now he’s become the go to for media. Need an Asian face to complete the rainbow? It’s Andrew time. He’s got a gang!
That’s a good thing, because he’s there for us. He took some warming up to, as I sensed resistance among some Asian Americans early in the campaign.
But Yang has emerged as our voice.
And now the man who wanted to give $1,000 a month to everyone, who drew radicals and conservatives alike, is being listened to. It doesn’t matter that he’s paid by CNN; he has a bigger microphone.
“I believe that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and I’ve always said I’m going to support whoever the nominee is, so I hereby am endorsing Joe Biden, not just be the nominee for the Democratic party but the next president of the United States,” said Yang from CNN’s election night panel.
Yang said he was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 and his inspiration to run. But alas….
“The math says Joe is our prohibitive nominee, we need to bring the party together,” said Yang, the campaign season’s Mr. Math (as in “Make America Think Again.”) “We need to start working on defeating Donald Trump in the fall.”
An endorsement on live TV before 9pm EDT? Was it the signal to turn to watch “The Bachelor”?
Frankly, I was still numb, probably the best way to see election results roll in.
THE NIGHT’S CLEAR WINNER: CORONAVIRUS
I had been to the dentist earlier in the day. And all I could think about was not the Biden-Bernie fight, but the Us vs Coronavirus fight.
Coincidentally, I was getting a crown. But at the dentist’s office, I was imagining droplets galore. Germville. Maybe I should have waited.
The fact is the coronavirus is going to get worse before it gets better. The number of U.S. cases is now at 1,000, with 31 deaths, and growing, according to news reports.
Italy’s in lockdown. Germany expects 70 percent of its people will be exposed. New Rochelle, New York is now in a containment zone.
Time to honor the global pandemic with aggressive hand washing. And you can wash less by shaking less. Hands, that is.
I was at a gathering of about 500 people last week, and it had already started.
People are starting to take my advice by instituting a handshake moratorium.
I was but a wee columnist 17 years ago when I first suggested it during the SARS wars ("Shaking Down The Handshakers"- SFGate)
But it’s even harder now that I’ve progressed to hugs.
#YouToo? So here we go. #NoTouching is a matter of public health. It’s a DIY version of what is essentially good hygiene. Public care and responsibility for yourself and each other.
The virus is an enemy that doesn’t care about your race or class.
It puts us all in the same boat.
That may also be the best perspective to understand the latest Democratic primary results.
Like I said, my cheek and gums were still numb.
I didn’t feel a thing. I can’t imagine how Bernie Sanders felt. But the numbers suggest coronavirus may have killed the taste for ideology.
Voters want things done now. Voters want normal now. And if you’re a Democrat, as the vast majority of Asian Americans are, that means defeating Donald Trump.
After last Super Tuesday, when the drip, drip, drip of opponents dropping out of Joe Biden’s way began, I thought the last dropout, Elizabeth Warren, could be the Kingmaker.
Go with her buddy Sanders? Join the traditionalists with Biden?
But in this strange diseased era, Warren would not be the Kingmaker.
She didn’t endorse in advance of this week’s mini-Super Tuesday, with Michigan up for grabs. As it turns out, her supporters were just “nice to haves” for Biden. They were “need to haves” for Sanders.
And on Tuesday, Sanders didn’t seem to get most of Warren’s voters: the smart, suburban, progressive liberals. Women sat on their hashtags.
Biden was the big winner in Michigan and in the South, again, and by early Wednesday had an unofficial delegate lead with 759 delegates to Sanders’ 621.
The trend of the week before continued: Sanders’ considerable victories in 2016 over Hillary Clinton could not be duplicated.
Voters liked Biden more than Clinton. And they told Sanders to hit the road. Voters moderated and perhaps left a hint of political misogyny, as one exit poll showed how “white males, no college,” were split evenly between Biden and Sanders in a state that Sanders won handily four years ago.
In another demo of voters who called themselves moderate or conservative, Sanders got just 25 percent of those voters—half of what he did in 2016.
Among independents, Sanders had a slight edge, 48 percent to 43 percent. But again in 2016, Sanders beat Clinton by 43 percent.
As expected, there were too few Asians in the exit polls to be relevant. That’s another good reason to support AALDEF’s exit polls in the general election.
Race-wise, Biden dominated with Blacks and Whites. Sanders won 53 percent of the Latino vote. Sanders again dominated with 18-34 year old voters, but even they didn’t turn out like the past cycles–not enough to grow a winning coalition. Where do Asian Americans fit in?
AND THEN YANG SPOKE
So what is the winning coalition? I began to see it earlier in the week when I saw Kamala Harris–who ripped into Biden last summer during her “I was a busing kid too” debate story—join the list of those getting out of Biden’s way. She was joined by Sen. Cory Booker. Together, they were with Biden, hands held high, touching in pre-enlightened times.
Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg all cleared the way. Warren remains silent.
And then there was Andrew Yang joining the Biden camp. The math made him do it. No need to fall on a sword.
Biden has math.
Still, at some point, ideology, the issues, the substance, will have to matter. When Donald Trump is out of the way and just a bad dream, when do we bring up Biden’s past—Iraq, labor deals, Anita Hill, treatment of women, immigration. Has he learned from all that, or will the past repeat?
Biden’s blessed for now.
Voters have lowered the bar and said, “Just win baby.”
But it may have killed our last best chance for the kind of change to help those who feel left out in America.
BERNIE’S LAST HURRAH?
To his credit, Sanders is not moving gently out of the way and onto the service road. He’s proud that his coalition of mostly young and Hispanic voters represents the future of the party. So Sanders is leveraging what he has– more than 600 delegates. Sanders is the Kingmaker.
At his public address Wednesday in Vermont, Sanders said he’s heard over and over from voters “I like what your campaign stands for, but I’m voting for Biden.”
Sanders, as devoutly anti-Trump as all the primary voters, may be voting for his friend Joe as well.
But he has one more chance on Sunday to make the case in a coronavirus compromised one-on-one debate that will have no live audience.
Sanders said he intends to ask Biden point blank what he’d do about the 500,000 who go bankrupt due to medically related debt? How would he help the working people and the small businesses that pay “on average 20 percent of their incomes” to health care. Will he make health care a human right? Will he veto a “Medicare for All” bill that passes Congress? Will he listen to scientists who warn we have 7-8 years to transform our energy system to defeat climate change? Will he make sure college or trade school is available to low income people? Forgive student debt? Fix the immigration system? Make the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.
It’s Bernie’s platform.
Sunday’s one-on-one will be his campaign’s moment. It won’t be a debate, but a negotiation.