The benefit of being an outsider candidate is that you are freer to speak your mind than, say, a senator who is beholden to the party line.
That was part of the appeal of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, and it is likely the same reason why tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang has been able to make a real go of it in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Yang, who polls in sixth place according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, solidified his “outsider” bona fides this week when he came right out and said impeachment is a “loser” issue for Democrats.
Just imagine Sens. Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar, both of whom trail behind Yang in the polls, saying the same. They might actually have to vote on impeachment.
Yang's remarks about impeachment came amid a freewheeling interview with journalist Matt Taibbi and writer Katie Halper.“What’s your take on the impeachment process?” asked Taibbi.
The 2020 Democratic candidate responded, “I’m pro-impeachment, but this is going to be a loser.”
Yang continued, answering seriously, “Not a single Republican has given any indication that they’re in fact-finding mode. They’re all in defend-the-president mode. You need literally dozens of Republican senators to switch sides when the trial starts, which we’ve gotten zero indication is going to happen.”
“The more this drags on, the more danger there is of two things: Number one, Donald Trump comes out of this and says, ‘Vindicated! Totally exonerated!’ And number two, we are wasting precious time where we should be creating a positive vision that Americans are excited about solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected, and beat him in 2020,” he added.
He went on: “If all that happens is all of the Democrats are talking about impeachment that fails, then it seems like there is no vision. It seems like all we can do is throw ineffective rocks at Donald Trump, and then it ends up leading, unfortunately, toward his reelection.”
Taibbi said, “After 2016, the first thought I had was, ‘Well, this is going to inspire a rethink in the Democratic Party. They’re going to re-argue their case. They’re going to find a way to tell people how they’re going to fix the problems of ordinary people across America.’ ... Immediately they point to Russiagate, now impeachment. … They’re focusing on this thing that, to a lot of people, is an internecine Washington drama."
“Unfortunately,” said Yang, “my team and I have been part of some of the planning sessions, and that’s not changing. Their take on it is like, ‘We argued against Trump wrong last time — this time we’re going to really stick it to him by talking about this.’ And you’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh. We’ve learned nothing.’”
Democratic officials, activists, and strategists are likely going to hate these remarks from Yang, and he will likely catch heat for them. At the same time, he will also likely benefit from the appearance of being his own man and being unafraid to run afoul of his own party, a quality that voters seem to appreciate more than usual these days.
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