Student activists host canvassing event for Democratic presidential candidate Yang


Jadyn Brandt

Student organizers canvass outside Love Library for Andrew Yang (D).

The 2020 presidential election is still more than a year away, but some San Diego State students are already working to promote their candidate of choice.

On Oct. 24, engineering freshmen Tito Hernandez organized a canvassing event for Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. University students and alumni from SDSU and the University of California San Diego showed up to hand out flyers and business cards to promote Yang’s candidacy.

“I believe that Yang’s presidency will affect me, and all US citizens, in a great fashion,” Hernandez said. “I’m a student and the thousand dollars a month will help me pay for my tuition.”

Yang’s proposal to give every U.S. citizen $1,000 a month is an idea known as Universal Basic Income. However, supporters like Hernandez see potential in Yang’s other policies as well.

“The (policy) that most stands out to me is Democracy Dollars,” Hernandez said. “It’s a policy based on stopping lobbying in the US.”

Democracy Dollars is a policy based on giving each US voter $100 a year that can only be put towards a political candidate and cannot be accumulated over time, according to SDSU alumni Alain Gutierrez. 

“It would water down the lobbying power that companies have right now,” Gutierrez said. “If we can water it down, we can get a lot done.”

UCSD alumni Maxwell Sharp, who showed up in support of Yang, said the candidate is willing to address issues that others often overlook.

“He’s the only guy who has been talking about automation, and its threat to the country,” Sharp said. “If technology continues to put people out of work, the natural consequence of that is going to be political rage, the kind that got us Trump, and he’s the only one who is directly addressing that.” 

One of the biggest reasons people like Sharp felt the need to show up to the event was to combat the lack of recognition Yang has received thus far in the campaign.

“He’s a complete outsider,” Sharp said. “One of the biggest things in politics is name recognition, and Yang has none.” 

But Yang’s outsider status hasn’t stopped him from reaching college-age voters, no matter their party affiliation. 

Members of Turning Point USA, a conservative student organization, were tabling for their organization at the same time as the Yang canvassing. Although TPUSA was not involved with the Yang canvassing, members had some insight into Yang and his campaigns.

Political science junior and TPUSA President David Pomeranz said he had mixed feelings about Yang’s policies. He said Universal Basic Income would be harmful to the population.

“I wouldn’t support it in the sense that I do think that it kind of motivates a welfare state and it disincentivizes the population in general,” Pomeranz said.

However, Pomeranz was more supportive of Yang in regards to his foreign policy.

“His foreign policy is probably the best out of any of the front-running Democrats,” Pomeranz said.

Unlike hopeful Yang canvassers, some members of TPUSA said they do not see any hope for Yang in the 2020 elections. 

“The left is getting more left and the right is completely split,” TPUSA campus coordinator Campbell Soutter said. “Politicians are incentivized more and more to toe the party line instead of following the ideological shifts of Americans. There’s no way Yang is going to get elected, and it’s because of party politics.”

Although not everyone on campus is as optimistic about Yang’s success, nearly all of the supporters who showed up for canvassing said agreed that the best way for voters to educate themselves and learn more about Yang was to turn to the internet. 

“Just YouTube ‘Andrew Yang’,” Sharp said. “Just sit down and give him five minutes.”

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