Andrew Yang was the only candidate of color at December’s Democratic presidential debate, which he called “an honor and a disappointment.” He’s also spoken with Insider about the racist bullying he says he endured as a teenager.
But Yang is also the rare 2020 Democrat who has expressly criticized the use of identity politics as a campaign strategy.
“I’m very proud of my own heritage, and I think that Americans being proud of who they are is great and getting different types of experiences into the public arena is tremendously positive,” Yang told Insider during a recent campaign stop in New Hampshire. “But I think that identity politics, as it’s used in many contexts, serves to highlight differences and separate Americans from each other and does so in a way that’s not very productive.”
Yang added: “I believe the biggest problems that concern Americans concern the vast majority of us. Things like an economic system that’s leaving more and more people behind. Climate change. A broken healthcare system and an underperforming educational system with record-high levels of student-loan debt.
“Some of these problems affect certain groups more than others, but there are many things that bring us together much more than serve to separate us from each other. And on a national level, I think that identity politics is a very counterproductive way to go because most people are drawn to messages that talk about how we can work together, rather than saying that people who have certain experiences or don’t have certain experiences aren’t allowed to relate to each other.”