When the Democratic National Convention announced its lineup for this year, one Democrat’s name was surprisingly left off of the speaker list: Andrew Yang.
The former Democratic candidate took to Twitter, highlighting his shock at the lack of invitation, a surprise which was shared by many.
I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak.
— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) August 11, 2020
The outcry surrounding Yang’s omission led the DNC to add him to their Thursday night lineup, where he’ll be speaking alongside Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill), and Chris Coons (D-Del), Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif), and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind) and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-Ga).
— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) August 13, 2020
It was a rather odd oversight for the DNC to omit Yang, as his primary campaign spoke to young voters, of whom he gained a passionate following. His nontraditional policy proposals, particularly a focus on $1,000 a month for universal basic income (which he called a freedom dividend), helped him stand out in the overcrowded field, and deeply resonated.
Further, Yang was progressive enough to last in the primary until February, but some of his policies were less radical than others in the field. He did not endorse Medicare for All and openly supported capitalism (albeit a hyper-regulated form of it) at a time when much of the left is edging increasingly towards socialism.
Yang is far from a moderate; the plurality of his policies are intensely leftist, but in a primary where progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were powerful and popular candidates, it is not difficult to appear sane by virtue of comparison.
With the predominately-virtual convention, the energy and exciting moments of the convention will likely be tampered by the format. Bringing in speakers with devoted followings would be wise to engage viewers. It’s a bad sign for the DNC that it took a popular former presidential candidate complaining on Twitter, and backlash from his supporters, before he received an invitation.