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Why Outsiders Have the Advantage

How Andrew Yang’s Bid For New York City Mayor Solidifies the Emergence of a Political Trend.

Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and former 2020 presidential candidate, has recently filed paperwork to run for Mayor of New York City in next year’s election.

Yang, who has never held publicly-elected office, developed ardent support during his campaign for the Democratic nomination based on his pledge to implement a universal basic income that would pay every American, aged 18 and older, $1,000 a month.

While Yang suspended his campaign on February 11th of this year, following a poor performance in the New Hampshire primary, his idea of an indefinite “Freedom Dividend” garnered the attention of many individuals throughout the United States.

Yang has not formally declared his candidacy in New York, but should he proceed he will have the advantage of high name recognition among potential voters. In fact, he is currently a favorite in the 2021 Democratic Primary Race.

According to The Hill, a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found Yang leading among Democratic contenders for mayor, garnering 17 percent support among likely Democratic voters. Only Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams neared Yang’s support in the poll, while other contenders—such as former Citigroup Executive Ray McGuire and civil rights activist Maya Wiley—polled in the single digits.

While the poll did not include outgoing Representative Max Rose (D-N.Y.), who has announced a bid of his own, and about 40 percent of the respondents were undecided, Yang’s early support is still significant considering the fact that more than a dozen other candidates have already entered the race.

Registered Democrats will vote for their nominee on June 22, 2021. The general election will be held on November 2, 2021. If he is elected, Yang will be New York City's first Asian-American mayor.

What does this signify to the rest of the country? Why is Yang, who only received 0.45 percent of the popular vote in the Democratic Presidential Primaries, all of the sudden so popular among potential voters in his home state? Finally, how can political analysts interpret the preliminary data?

Political consultant Michael Olivia recently explained that Yang’s lack of experience in elected office makes him more attractive to New York voters, not less.

As reported by The Hill:

“If you look at most polling trends these days, experience just doesn’t rank high. It’s not what people are really looking for,” Olivia said to the publication. “They’re looking for fresh ideas, bold ideas . . . People are frustrated, they’re looking for something different.”

Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is unable to run for a third term, has become more unfavorable among New York City residents. In the same survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, 56 percent of respondents held an unfavorable view of the sitting mayor. As exemplified by Yang’s popularity in preliminary polling, this solidifies the emergence of a new political trend: more voters support outsider candidates than ever before.

New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio

Over the past few years, candidates with no prior military or political experience have become more respected among voters across the country. As most Americans know, Donald Trump’s meteoric rise to the presidency was both controversial and shocking. Before his entrance into national politics, Trump was known as an influential business, media, and real estate mogul who could make New York City his playground.

Despite the fact that he never held publicly-elected office, or even served in the military,Trump was able to defeat 16 other well-qualified candidates in the Republican Presidential Primaries. Even though he was consistently viewed as an electoral underdog, Trump ultimately defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election.

Of course, New York is not the only birthplace of outsider candidates. Republican Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville—a retired Auburn football coach—decimated Democrat Doug Jones in the November 3rd Alabama Senatorial Election. Tuberville, who previously never held public office, is expected to succeed Senator Jones on January 3rd.

Alabama Senator-Elect, Tommy Tuberville

In addition to Tommy Tuberville, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain, recently defeated Martha McSally in the 2020 Arizona Senate Election. Just like Tuberville, Kelly never held publicly-elected office before his senatorial campaign.

As exemplified by the political successes of the aforementioned individuals, contemporary voters are starting to support outsider politicians. Voting records show that Americans are becoming more distrustful of establishment politicians (such as Hillary Clinton, Doug Jones, and Marth McSally), and are willing to gamble with non-establishment individuals (such as Donald Trump, Tommy Tuberville, and Mark Kelly).

Naturally, Yang’s bid for New York City Mayor resembles the prolific campaigns that Trump, Tuberville, and Kelly built during their unique electoral journeys.

As recent history shows, it's not a bad position to be in.

Article Written by Jett James Pruitt

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