The Two Candidates the DNC and Media Love to Ignore
The 2020 race for the DNC’s nomination has been an interesting one. This race is crowded with a cast of 27 candidates, which includes everything from career politicians to authors to businessmen, yet there is a clear group that rises above the rest. While Biden, Warren, and Sanders seem to be leading the pack in the polls, many other sources tell a different story.
Small candidates like Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang seem to have a strong base. After the first round of democratic debates, which included 20 candidates, Gabbard was the most googled candidate. At a recent rally in California, Yang crowd surfed. He, a candidate for president, friggin’ crowd surfed. A recent article from CNN covered Yang’s unorthodox action. Gabbard and Yang have both been able to reach voters from all sides of the political spectrum through their platforms.
Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran with an anti-war platform. Her stance is that we would have more money to help our own citizens if we stopped costly wars, including the ‘new cold war.’ She has also taken breaks from the campaign trail to serve as an active member of the National Guard, showing that she is willing to serve both as an elected official and as a member of the armed forces. Another thing that sets Gabbard apart is just how pro-America she is. On a recent episode of the Rubin Report, she discusses how her love of America influences many of her views. For example, she is one of the few democrats who think waiting out Trump’s term would be better for America than forcing impeachment. She is afraid impeachment would only alienate right-wing voters and further the current toxic, partisan divide.
Yang, on the other hand, has a very diverse platform. His ‘Yang Gang’, a name for his supporters, appreciate how Yang quite literally has a policy for everything. Taxes? He plans a Revenue Day in which taxes are not only due but celebrated. The day allows 1% of the taxes you already pay for to go to a project/charity of your choice and simplifies the paperwork you have to do. Daylight savings? He wishes to end it since it hasn’t served a legitimate function in nearly a century. Yang’s flagship policy is a system of universal basic income entitled the Freedom Dividend. In a world where automation will become a bigger and bigger phenomenon, Yang’s Freedom Dividend guarantees every American citizen over the age of 18 a thousand dollars a month, no questions asked. In addition to his more innovative policies, Yang also supports thing such as free healthcare and forgiving student debt. In total, Yang has over 75 different policy ideas laid out on his campaign website.
Now these candidates should be rock stars. They show a great sense of bipartisanship. They both come from diverse backgrounds, Yang being a second-generation immigrant from Taiwan and Gabbard is both Hindu and Samoan American. Yang was the recipient of two different awards on behalf of the Obama administration. Gabbard has been honored on Elle’s “Women in Washington Power List” as well as earning accolades for her work regarding fellow veterans.
Despite their achievements and innovative platforms, they have both been receiving minimal support from the mainstream media and the DNC. A recent study conducted by Axios found that despite Yang’s polling average coming in 6th and the rate at which he is tweeted about during debates coming in 4th, his print and cable media coverage come in 14th and 13th respectively. Gabbard’s coverage rate is very similar in the study. To put this into perspective, O’Rourke and Booker are more frequently covered by the media despite them both polling below Yang and being tweeted about at a considerably smaller rate. In Gabbard’s case, Julian Castro is behind her in terms of both polling and tweeting, yet his media coverage is also considerably more.
This led to the ‘Yang Gang’ getting #YangMediaBlackout to trend after CNN left Yang off of a screen showing all ‘10’ candidates. They claimed there was 10 candidates but had only included 9, leaving Yang out despite him making the debate threshold. Despite having multiple qualifying polls, Gabbard has not been allowed onto the debate stage.
Why does this even matter? This matters because the media seems to be pushing a handful of candidates that aren’t even polling as well as others. They seem to be choosing a specific message over the bipartisanship that may be found in other options. Our 2-party system is extremely toxic, and it is only getting worse in my opinion. Candidates like DeBlasio and O’Rourke who seem to perpetuate partisan hate and demonization are pushed above candidates who are polling higher. There seems to a disconnect between voters and the media machine.
While you may disagree with these candidates, I think it is fine to recognize that they seem to be a big step above other democratic choices in terms of character. These two candidates show a willingness to work with those with whom they disagree with, and I firmly believe that is a trait we should look for in all candidates.