The Democrats have a problem — and it’s not that Joe Biden doesn’t know where he is half of the time, that Elizabeth Warren seems to tell more lies than facts about her personal life, or that Michael Bloomberg believes the presidency has a price tag. It’s that their supporters, almost all of them, have listened to the hateful talking points they’ve been spewing for three years, and turned that into a lifestyle.
Democrats, in hoping to win the 2020 election, have run with the premise that if you screech-label Donald Trump and all of his supporters every hateful category possible that ends with an –ist, that will somehow win hearts, minds and votes. I’m not sure what swamp-based consultants they’ve hired, but one would think that at least one of them would inform their candidates that telling half of the country that you hate them and want their leader eliminated from the face of the planet, you’re not going to get them to vote for you. To make this scenario laughable, they end their name-calling rants by preaching at Republicans about civility.
The exceptions to all of this ridiculousness were the supporters of entrepreneur, philanthropist, and sadly, now former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. In the middle of all of the screaming and name calling, the Yang Gang, as they call themselves, are engaged in calm, thoughtful conversation about policy.
On Twitter, if you were to say something positive about Mr. Yang, the Yang Gang would swarm you, not to mock you for who you are, what you look like, condemn your beliefs or label you one of the –ists – but to ask what policies you like that he has. If you answer with one, they’d actually discuss the base principles of the policy with you and try to expand the conversation to include other concepts that they believe in to try to persuade you to vote for their candidate. It’s hard to believe that this type of conversation has become rare nowadays, especially from the left — but it has — which is incredibly depressing.
Perhaps this strategy is why Mr. Yang was never highlighted in the Democratic debates. Unlike the other career politicians, he wasn’t there to bark talking points in the hopes that he’d get airplay on CNN or MSNBC and a gif made of him on the Internet. He was also one of very few presidential candidates to openly state that President Trump has gotten some things right. He, unlike everyone else in the race, seemed to realize that you’d need moderate and independent votes to become president of the United States — the rest of the Democrats just don’t get it.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have never voted for Mr. Yang. I don’t agree with 90 percent of his ideas for the country, and his policies that I did agree with are being worked on and implemented now. I would however sit and debate with him and any of his supporters any day because I know it would be civil. This is the way the world used to function. Conversations, even heated ones, over policy and politics that end in splitting a tab over a drink, a handshake and a confidence that even though you have disagreements, you can still be friends. Mr. Yang and the Yang Gang’s civility and demeanor led me, someone who had no interest in any of the 2020 Democratic field, to more heavily research his policies and watch more speeches and videos of him.
Other Democrats in speaking about policy almost always start name-calling and get angry like a petulant child. It’s insufferable, immature and not deserving of anyone’s time. We have seen more than enough of those candidates and their supporters.
I am certain that on Election Day President Trump will win and when Democrats look back on this cycle, they won’t realize what they did wrong. Sure they’ve got different policies, but for the most part, all we hear is the screams of “Orange man bad!”
Democrats will have forgotten the diverse candidate that they kept hidden on the corner of the stage and whose supporters who aren’t squeaky wheels. In their rage, they won’t see that friendliness, kindness and civil discourse can actually win elections. And that’s unfortunate for the future of their party.
There’s very little hope for a political organization whose entire strategy is to demean the people they need to persuade in order to win. And there’s less hope now that Andrew Yang has dropped out of the Democratic Primary.
I tip my cap to the civility and intelligence of the Yang Gang — I have no idea who they could possibly put their support behind now.
• Tim Young is a political comedian and author of “I Hate Democrats/I Hate Republicans” (Post Hill Press).