Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang draws hundreds to Cambridge joint rally | News

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang addressed a crowd of hundreds at a rally on Cambridge Common on Monday night, where he discussed his Universal Basic Income proposal.

The rally came just four days after Yang appeared in the third Democratic presidential debate, where he announced a raffle to give $120,000 to 10 families over the course of a year to promote his proposed universal basic income. Yang’s proposal – officially named the “Freedom Dividend” – would give every American adult $1,000 a month.

During his 30-minute speech at Monday’s rally, Yang defended the proposal, noting that many Americans have advocated for similar universal basic income policies throughout the country’s history.

“You dig into the freedom dividend, and you find it’s a deeply American idea,” Yang said. “Thomas Paine, one of our founding fathers, was for the start. And Martin Luther King defended it in 1967.”

Andrew Yang spent the evening rallying his supporters with a speech about his future plans for the national economy. By Amy Y. Li

Yang also cited an increase in automation as a catalyst for many recent changes in the country, including declining life expectancies and the election of President Donald Trump. He said those changes have taken root in the Midwest.

“We automated four million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Iowa,” Yang said. “If these states sound familiar to you, these are all the swing states that Donald Trump has had to win and has won.”

He argued that more jobs are likely to be threatened or eliminated by automation and artificial intelligence in the coming years as automation expands into other sectors of the economy.

Yang supporters at Monday’s rally traveled from near and far to Cambridge Common sporting “MATH” – “Make America Think Harder” – hats and “Yang Gang” signs. New York resident Tim R. Renteria said he traveled to Cambridge to show his enthusiasm for Yang’s candidacy and his universal basic income proposal.

The “Yang Gang”, a term coined for supporters of Andrew Yang, sported “MATH” hats at Yang’s rally on Monday night. By Allison G. Lee

“The freedom dividend, I totally support it. It means a lot to me and my family,” Renteria said. “And then after that I would say his proposal on climate change, his foreign policy as well – all of them are really thoughtful and have a lot of solid foundations.”

Matthew P. Martin, another attendee at the rally, praised Yang for his ideas to help Americans whose jobs have been affected by the growth in automation.

“Both of my parents worked in manufacturing and they both lost their jobs,” Martin said. “So he’s the first politician I’ve ever heard of, like the working middle class in a way that he did.”

Monday’s rally comes as 19 other Democratic candidates scour the country to win support ahead of caucuses in Iowa in early February. Yang currently votes at 3%, according to a RealClearPolitics poll. The field also includes Harvard affiliates Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro, who vote 17%, 5% and 1.2% respectively.

Holding “Yang Gang” signs, supporters of US Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang gathered at Cambridge Commons on Monday. By Allison G. Lee

Participant Harry Biedermann said he plans to vote for Yang in the Democratic primary election and that Yang’s universal basic income proposal would “do a lot” for the US economy.

Biedermann added that he thinks the raffle announced by Yang during last week’s debate proves that Yang “doesn’t just talk for the sake of talking” but that he “will walk too”.

“He believes in this idea and he is ready to fund it privately,” Biedermann said. “I really haven’t seen many other presidential candidates partake in this unique giveaway and really try to make a change for the people who need it most.”

Correction: September 17, 2019

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated what the acronym MATH stands for.

–Brie K. Buchanan can be reached at [email protected]

–Peter E. O’Keefe can be reached at peter.o’[email protected] Follow him on Twitter @CrimsonOKeefe

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