Andrew Yang releases new ad about special needs children as talk of him as possible running mate mounts

‘I’m sure we’re not the first presidential campaign to have special need children, but we’re the first to talk about it openly’

Andrew Buncombe
Chief US Correspondent
Tuesday 29 October 2019 17:18
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Andrew Yang's latest campaign featuring his special needs child

Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang has thanked his supporters for making possible a new campaign advert in which he claims to be the first presidential candidate to talk openly about having a special needs child.

Amid a flurry of speculation about the entrepreneur’s potential as a vice presidential running mate, the 44-year-old released a new campaign advert to be shown in several early voting states.

“The first ads are going up in the early states,” he said on Twitter. In a reference to his famously loyal supporters, he added: “Thank you #yanggang for making it possible.”

The most recent poll, released on Tuesday and commissioned by Politico, placed Mr Yang on 3 points, behind Joe Biden on 32, Elizabeth Warren on 20, Bernie Sanders on 20, Pete Buttigieg on 7, and Kamala Harris on 6. Other polls place Ms Warren in first place among the packed Democratic field, yet Mr Yang appears in all of them, invariably ahead of his supposedly better-known rivals, Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker.

In the advert, Mr Yang and his wife, Evelyn, appear with their two sons, the older of which is autistic.

“I am sure that we’re not the first presidential campaign or family to have special need children,” he says. “But, for whatever reason, I think that we’re the first talk about it openly.”

His wife adds: ‘If you have a child with special needs it’s expensive, and if you do not have access to good healthcare, families literally have nothing.”

Mr Yang, whose online supporters term themselves the Yang Gang, has made headlines in recent days after two polls suggested he may be a very appealing running mate for any Democratic presidential candidate come next summer.

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One poll by Ipsos/FiveThirtyEight suggested Mr Yang could tap into the support of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, should the Vermont senator drop out.

It found 57 per cent of Mr yang’s potential supporters were also considering Mr Sanders, while 16 per cent of Mr Sanders’ potential voters were looking sat Mr Yang. Meanwhile, a second poll published by Business Insider found Mr Yang had the highest net support out of all the 2020 Democratic candidates among undecided general election voters who were considering voting for either party’s nominee.

Last week, Mr Yang, who has placed proving people a universal basic income at the centre of his campaign, said he would be happy to serve as vice president, if he failed to win the nomination.

“Of course. I’m not someone who’s had some crazy, native desire to be president of the United States since I was a kid, because I’m not insane,” he told the Washington Post. “I’m a parent. I’m a patriot. I just want to help solve the problems of this era.”

Even though he has Asian ancestry, Mr Yang has run into controversy over some of his comments on race.

After clips surfaced of comedian Shane Gillis using a racial slur in reference to Mr Yang, the Democrat was crtitised after offering to meet and commiserating about how society had become unforgiving of such remarks.

“My question is ‘what does Andrew yang bring to the ticket’,” Chrtistna Greer, professor of politics science at Fordham University, told The Independent. “He has a racial worldview that is troubling and out of date.”

She added: “And if he does not have the support of black women, he is of no help.”

Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia, also raised a voice of caution.

“You never know until the choice is announced, but it is highly improbable that Yang will be on the ticket,” he said.

“He has no prior office experience, and almost certainly he would generate lots of controversy during the campaign with blunt statements of various kind. Rule number one in the selection of a running mate comes from Hippocrates: first, do no harm.”

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