The return of Andrew Yang

Devyn Shea (TheLorian)

This year, New York City is holding their mayoral race. Now, many people outside of New York and in will think that this isn’t a big deal. Surprisingly, however, this is perhaps one of the most important elections in New York City’s history, and the outcome could have a larger effect on the nation as a whole. How, exactly, could one city in the United States affect all cities in the country?

For many people, it comes as no surprise that New York City is a democratic stronghold or at least a liberal one. In the past one hundred years there have been only four Republican mayoralties in the “Big Apple.” The total number of years under Republican leadership has been roughly 31 out of 100. Ideologically, however, the traditionally conservative party didn’t produce many conservatives. Most of the Republican mayors have been what some coin as RINOs: Republican In Name Only.

It is not entirely fair to say someone doesn’t mean to be a Republican, because they wouldn’t have gone through the trouble to register as one if they didn’t at least somewhat believe in the party’s ideals. For people like Fiorello la Guardia and Michael Bloomberg, however, they mainly only ran as Republicans because that was the party that would take them. John Lindsay, a mayor in the 1960s and 1970s, was in favor of a lot of the party’s policies, but ended up leaving the party as it became more conservative. Rudy Giuliani is the only one who, to this day, identifies as at least somewhat conservative. Meaning, the effects that come from the outcome of this election are most likely not coming from the Grand Old Party.

There are a lot of Democratic candidates for mayor this year, the number stretches into the dozens. Out of the roughly ten major candidates, however, half are interested in a certain type of policy: universal basic income. The policy has been tried out in the city of Stockton, California, and a similar policy has been used in the state of Alaska for decades. Out of the mold of candidates, the man who got the nation talking about the subject in the first place is running.

Andrew Yang announced his candidacy for mayor last month, making a minor change to his “Freedom Dividend” proposal from his 2020 presidential campaign. Instead of 1,000 dollars a month for every American in 2020, Yang is running on 2,000 dollars a month for half a million of New York’s poorest. Yang’s opponents are all across the political spectrum when it comes to Universal Basic Income, or UBI.

Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, has proposed giving just caregivers 5,000 dollars annually, and other candidates such as Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, are open to studying the policy. Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit CEO, is openly considering adding the policy to her platform, and city councilman Carlos Menchaca has even talked of introducing legislation for UBI. Although there are many candidates that are open to UBI, it does have its opponents. Raymond McGuire, a businessman, has spoke out against UBI, and is more in favor of giving citizens more opportunities to better their own lives.

What happens in New York City could have a domino effect across the country, going from city to city and even state to state. If Andrew Yang wins, he could bring it to the national stage again in either 2024 or 2028 in another run for president, but he needs to get through this race first. Although Yang is winning against his opponents by a little more than ten percent, it is the beginning of the race. If Yang wins more than 50 percent of the votes, he will win an outright victory for the nomination, however if he doesn’t, he will need to win a one on one race.

The primary is this June, and Yang’s main opponents are Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who is presently in second place, and Scott Stringer, the former Manhattan Borough President and present NYC Comptroller. Both of Yang’s opponents are well respected city politicians, with Yang himself running almost as an outsider. Yang should not be too confident in his poll numbers. The present Mayor Bill de Blasio wasn’t even in the top two at this stage in the race and swooped in towards the finish line with a surge in the polls. Either way, this could be the beginning of Universal Basic Income or it could be the end. It’s fate mainly lies with Andrew Yang.

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