• Jacob Borsting

DNC Snubs Andrew Yang From Speaking at Convention

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Update: Since the original publication of this article, the DNC has added Andrew Yang to the lineup of speakers.

Photo by Gage Skidmore
Photo by Gage Skidmore

When a presidential candidate announces their running mate, things get overlooked. While my fellow Democrats are flooding Twitter and Facebook with either joy or dismay regarding Kamala Harris’s vice-presidential nomination - I sit solemnly basking in a feeling of grief and sorrow. No, I am not overly disappointed in Biden’s choice for VP, she wasn’t my first choice but she’ll be fine. No, I’m not overcoming my shock that Michelle Obama wasn’t picked (shocked anyone actually considered this a possible outcome). Instead, I once again find myself flabbergasted at the level of neglect the DNC shows in regards to Andrew Yang and his supporters.

Before any vice-presidential news broke, the DNC released the speaking schedule for the Democratic National Committee which will take place next Monday through Thursday online. Many former 2020 nominees made the speakers list including Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker. Former Presidents Clinton and Obama will speak as well. Even Republican John Kasich, former governor of Ohio, will be speaking at the convention. But not on the list - Andrew Yang.

My initial reaction was one word... how?! How did one of 2020’s most forward-thinking, charismatic candidates with unique solutions to giant problems get completely snubbed for a speaking slot? How on earth did a bunch of DNC suits sit around a table and decide it’d be a good idea to give tiny-town mayor Pete Buttigieg a speaking slot but not innovator Andrew Yang? Does America really need to hear what wannabe career-politician Pete has to say? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess not.

Tell me what new ideas Pete Buttigieg brought to the table in this year's Democratic Primary? Please indulge me on how Pete’s campaign helped to shift the conversation amongst Democrats. Go on, detail all of Pete’s fabulous contributions to the landscape of ideas within the Democratic party. You couldn’t. No one could. Pete did nothing but come up with misleading language to describe a public health care option - that's about it.

What did Yang do? He sounded the alarm on automation! He got up there on stage and told Americans what economic future they could expect in the next five-ten years. He made ‘universal basic income’ a serious topic of discussion amongst Americans. Andrew Yang changed the political landscape of the Democratic party, there is no doubt about it.

But Yang will not be speaking at the DNC despite his fresh ideas and enthusiastic supporters. It’s difficult to pinpoint why the DNC would leave Yang out of the convention. Yang shattered expectations throughout the primary season but ultimately fell short in Iowa and New Hampshire. That being said, Yang outlasted Cory Booker, who’s scheduled to speak, as well as the now Vice-Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. Yang had more support than these two, plain and simple. Now one is the Vice Presidential nominee, the other is slated with a speaking block and Yang is left in the dust. Not cool DNC, not cool.

It just goes to show no matter how much momentum a candidate can gain, no matter the support and levels of enthusiasm, no matter the ideas they bring to the table - if they aren’t completely intertwined with the political elite like our friends Pete, Cory and Kamala - don’t count on them making it very far. Just look at how the DNC has treated Bernie Sanders over the past two election cycles.

Unlike Yang however, Bernie will speak at the convention. Why would the DNC do this? Because to push Bernie aside like they did Yang would be too obvious. The Democrats loathe Bernie Sanders and his socialist agenda just as they loathe Andrew Yang and his universal basic income proposal. But Bernie’s base is too big to ignore and the Democrats know without them, they will lose. Yang supporters don’t have that luxury, our base is not as large nor loud and ultimately the Democrats realize we will probably vote for Biden one way or the other, what a shame.

Party loyalists will argue Yang is in the primitive stages of his career and his campaign was not large or significant enough to justify a speaking slot. Well, he was large enough to qualify for all of 2019’s Democratic debates - Cory Booker can’t say that. He was significant enough to feel confident in going forward with the Iowa caucus - Kamala Harris can’t say that. Perhaps most importantly, Andrew was one of the lone innovators in the race, rejecting the status quo - Mayor Pete DEFINITELY can’t say that. So while Yang is new to politics, he ran a hell of a campaign - much better than several of the scheduled speakers.

Maybe one day Yang will get the credit he deserves from his Democratic peers. Perhaps they will finally wake up to his unifying message that has the potential to bring all of America, left and right, together, Until then, we will remain ignored, unsatisfied, and continue to ask ‘how?!’ time and time again.

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