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Andrew Yang is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic race for the White House on the same day primary voters in New Hampshire are casting their ballots.
The 45-year-old entrepreneur and first time presidential candidate had hoped his signature idea of giving every American adult a universal basic income of $1,000 a month would help lift him to the White House. However, while campaigning in the second state to vote in the presidential contest, Yang decided it was time to officially call it quits.
“By the numbers, the decision was pretty clear,” Zach Graumann, Yang’s campaign manager told the NewsHour on Tuesday. “It doesn’t feel honest to keep taking money and enthusiasm from our supporters, but also from the Democratic Party. It’s obviously a difficult decision, but we believe the right one.”
Graumann said Yang no longer saw a “real chance to win the nomination” but hopes to have a future in politics.
Graumann would not say who, if anyone, Yang would endorse, but did say he planned to support whoever Democrats nominate to go up against President Trump.
Yang, a married father of two is a Columbia Law School graduate who worked briefly as a corporate lawyer before becoming an entrepreneur. Yang gained widespread recognition — including from the Obama administration— for starting the nonprofit Venture for America, which helps entrepreneurs build businesses in cities across the country.
READ MORE: What does Andrew Yang believe? Where the candidate stands on 5 issues
Graumann said he hoped Yang’s run for the presidency will encourage Democrats to talk more about the impact automation has on the lives of working-class Americans.
“So many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. With automation ripping apart our local economies and continuing to accelerate, these are the challenges our politicians need to be talking about,” Graumann said.
Graumann hailed Yang as “the future of politics” pointing to his rise from a political unknown to someone who made it into the top six presidential candidates. He also reflected on the fact that the remaining top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are all white and noted Yang was the only candidate of color to qualify for the December Democratic debate which was hosted by POLITICO and PBS NewsHour.
“It’s not reflective of the entire country when there’s no members of color representing the party,” Graumann said. “Andrew said it best. It was an honor and disappointment for him to be the only person of color on that debate stage and left in the race at a high level.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is black, is still running for the nomination but has not attracted enough support to make any debates so far.
Yang, a first-time presidential candidate, filed to run in 2017 mostly focused on his proposal for a universal basic income. Yang planned to offset the $1,000 per month he wanted to give every American in part by implementing a 10 percent value-added tax in the U.S. and “by consolidating some welfare programs,” according to his campaign website.
Yang’s campaign attracted a massive online following, nicknamed the #YangGang. He told supporters last week in Iowa that his run for the White House was a “political force of nature that no one saw coming.”
His fundraising numbers were among the top of all the Democratic presidential candidates. The Yang campaign reported a $6.7 million haul in January alone. In the fourth quarter of 2019, his campaign reported raising $16.5 million.
Both Yang’s national and New Hampshire polling averages were 4 percent, according to the New York Times.
As of Tuesday evening, he received 1 percent of the vote in last week’s Iowa caucuses and is projected to receive no national delegates from the state.
PBS NewsHour’s Dan Cooney contributed to this report.
Yamiche Alcindor is the former White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour.
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