Andrew Yang did not win Thursday night’s Democratic Primary debate, the second of two groupings of 2020 presidential candidates who took the stage on back-to-back nights in Miami.
The 44-year-old entrepreneur spoke for only two minutes and 56 seconds – by far the least of all the candidates on the stage. Despite being in the top 10 candidates by polling, his speaking time was nearly doubled by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, both polling at zero percent, and almost tripled by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), also a zero-percent-er. He blamed it on faulty microphone.
“There were also a few times, FYI, where I just started talking, being like, ‘Hey, I want to add something there,’ and my mic was not on,” he told supporters after the event.
The tie-less tech veteran was nowhere to be found when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) sparred with former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr., or when the entire field argued over the minutia of their respective healthcare plans.
Yang did, when prompted directly, give a succinct and articulate answer about his universal basic income (UBI) plan, which consists of giving all adult Americans $1000 per month.
But despite his troubles on stage, Yang has, well, memes.
The political outsider garnered a considerable groundswell of online supporters, who dubbed themselves the #YangGang, when he first announced his candidacy and UBI plan.
Yang memes abounded, filled with colorful anime girls and the infamous Pepe the Frog, which was the preferred symbol of President Donald J. Trump’s online supporters in the 2016 cycle. His online backers, using the #YangGang hashtag, joked about how they would spend their #YangBux – that is their $1000 per month – when Yang became president.
Yang might not have won the debate, but his gang of online trolls – and I use that term in the most respectful manner possible – made sure that he did not lose the high-profile DRUDGE Report poll.
As of Friday morning, Yang topped DRUDGE’s chart, with 28.43 percent of respondents – just over 18,000 voters – saying that he beat out all of the other candidates by a wide margin.
While Harris, a serious presidential contender, placed second with 17.3 percent of the votes, author and spiritual guide Marianne Williamson placed third with 12.8 percent.
The poll was clearly used by internet contrarians to bolster the two outsider candidates, neither of which are likely to be the Democratic Party’s nominee. The candidates might be far different than they were three years ago, but meme culture remains the same.
Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca
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