Andrew Yang is America’s first gamer presidential candidate. Moreover, the New York Democrat is the first presidential candidate I can really relate to.
To explain, Yang is a Generation X (he’s 44 born in 1974); something of a tech bro, and a geek. Uniquely, Yang is the first presidential candidate who grew up playing video games and using computers.
Notably, proudly admits to being a nerd on the campaign trail, GeekWire reveals.“Yes! This is the nerdiest presidential campaign in history! We did it, Seattle!” Yang told a crowd at a May 3, rally in Seattle.
In fact, Yang mentions the first video game he played; Asteroids, his first gaming system; Atari 2600, and his favorite games in his book The War on Normal People. For the record, Yang’s favorite childhood games were Street Fighter II and Mortal Combat. In addition, also fondly remembers the PC strategy games Ancient Art of War, Warcraft, and Starcraft.
How Yang is Appealing to Gamers
Interestingly, one Yang campaign promise will excite gamers. To explain, The Week claims Yang promises to ask Congress “My fellow Americans, does anyone have an HDMI cable?”
To elaborate HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, a kind of internet connection capable of moving vast amounts of data. Specifically, you need an HDMI connection run popular games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Consequently, Andrew Yang is the first presidential candidate making a direct appeal to gamers. Yang’s appeal could dramatically alter politics; because Statista estimates there are 53.6 million console gamers, or serious video game players in America. Hence Yang could mobilize a huge constituency most politicians are unaware of.
How Andrew Yang wants to Gamify America
Interestingly, Yang thinks a common gaming industry strategy known as gamification could partially address America’s community disintegration crisis. Gamification means to encourage a behavior through rewards and competition.
To explain, Yang proposes a Time Banking platform that will reward people for community involvement with Digital Social Credits. To clarify, the Digital Social Credit is a token; or cryptocurrency, that will serve as a reward point.
Individuals will earn Digital Social Credits for socially beneficial behavior and community involvement. For example, mowing a disabled person’s lawn or serving on the planning commission. Participants can cash Digital Social Credits in for small amounts of money or use them pay for the labor, or time, of others.
I like this plan because it encourages volunteering without coercion like Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana) proposes. Moreover, rewards points work, I often shop at Kroger and Safeway Stores to collect them. Thus, Yang demonstrates a good understanding of technology and human nature.
Are Gamers Driving Yang’s Success?
Moreover, an army of gamers; and other tech-savvy young people, known as the Yang Gang is driving the success of Yang’s unlikely campaign.
In particular, Yang’s campaign took off after an interview on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Additionally Yang’s campaign is growing with an explosion of memes on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan, and other nerd-friendly social media outlets.
Notably, Yang’s Reddit strand had over 7,000 followers in March 2019, The Washington Examiner estimates. In fact, The Examiner’s John Gage believes Reddit drove Yang’s campaign to collect the 65,000 individual donations necessary to participate in the first Democratic presidential debate in June.
Gamers want Basic Income and Andrew Yang
In particular, Yang’s Freedom Dividend basic income scheme attracts gamer support, Gage notes. To explain, the Freedom Dividend is a $1,000 a month basic income the government would pay to all citizens.
“The policy proposal is popular among a mostly white and male meme and gamer culture which shares Yang’s concern for jobs being lost to automation,” Gage writes of the Basic Income. To clarify, Yang’s primary message is technology is destroying millions of jobs, necessitating radical changes to our economic system.
Interestingly, gamers; young people with a good understanding of technology, agree with Yang’s message. For instance, a crowd that came out to see Yang in Seattle included tech sector employees, The Seattle Times reports. Tellingly, Yang supporters in Seattle even chanted “PowerPoint! PowerPoint” during the rally.
However, cynics will say gamers really want to stay home and play video games instead of working. On the other hand, game-playing Generation Xers (those aged 33 to 54) and Millennials (those aged 20 to 32) have first-hand experience with our economy’s diminishing rewards for average people. In addition, they are aware of the power of technology.
Andrew Yang’s Astonishing Success
Yang deserves attention because of his campaign’s astonishing success. For instance, 1,000 people attended a May 3, 2019, Yang rally in Seattle, The Seattle Times estimates.
Moreover, Yang is out polling well-known national political figures in the Democratic presidential primary, Emerson Polling estimates. For instance, the April 14 Emerson Poll places Yang at 3%.
Meanwhile, US Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) was at 2%, US Senator Amy Klobuchar, was at 1%, and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at 0%. However, Yang has far to go to match the early leader US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) who was at 29%.
Yet, Yang is now in striking range of such high-profile candidates as US Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts), 7%, Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), and US Senator Kamala Harris (D-California). Consequently, we must take the Yang Gang seriously.
Is Yang the Trump of 2020?
Strangely, Yang’s success has similarities to Donald J. Trump’s (R-New York) successful insurgent campaign in 2016. Moreover, The New York Times’ Kevin Roose compares the Yang Gang to the “meme army” that helped lift President Trump to victory in 2016.”
For example, Yang is popular with young white men, gamers, and online media users like Trump was. Notably, even some Alt-Righters and white nationalists are backing Yang, Mother Jones reports. In addition, Yang is a businessman with a little political experience like Trump. In addition, Yang displays a good understanding of modern America, human nature, communications, strategy, and technology like Trump.
Yang dares discuss economic truths mainstream candidates refuse to acknowledge, like Trump used to. Notably, Yang is the only candidate discussing technological unemployment and the retail apocalypse.
In addition, like Trump, Yang openly discusses the dismal state of much of Middle America. For instance, Yang Tweets and talks about the drop in life expectancy among working-class whites.
Moreover, like Trump Yang will call out companies that kill jobs including media darlings like Amazon, GeekWire reports. In fact, Yang tells GeekWire’s Todd Bishop he thinks Amazon’s policy is to “100% going to automate away many other Americans’ jobs.”
Numbers that Prove Yang might Win
I think Yang has a realistic chance of reaching the White House, because of America’s dysfunctional economy. Here are numbers that show why Yang and Bernie are doing so well in the presidential race:
- $31,099 the real median personal annual income in the United States in 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. To clarify, the $31,099 is the amount of money the average American made in 2016.
- $36,651 the average yearly median income of an African American household in the United States in 2018, according to Black Demographics.
- $720 the weekly take home pay of the average black man in America in 2018 according to Black Demographics.
- $683 the average weekly take home pay of a black person in the United States in 2018, according to Black Demographics.
- $876 the weekly take home pay of the average American in 2018, Black Demographics estimates.
- $43,469 the average median household income in West Virginia in 2017, according to Department of Numbers.
- In contrast, Department of Numbers calculates the average median household income in the United States was $60,336 a year in 2017.
- $50,051 the average median household income in 2017 in Oklahoma in 2017, Department of Numbers reports.
- $780 the average weekly take home pay of an American woman in 2018, Black Demographics calculates.
- $644 the average weekly take home pay for a black woman in the United States in Black Demographics’ estimate.
- $61,372 the US Census Bureau’s widely accepted estimate for the 2017 median household income in the United States, The Balance reports. Note: there is a discrepancy in household income numbers because different demographers uses different methods to determine household income. I’ll let the readers decide which number is best.
There are More Gamers in American than You Think
- 53.6 million the number of online console gamers in the United States in 2017 according to Statista.
- 211 million, the number of Americans who play video games according to Electronic Entertainment Design and Research. Consequently, 67% of Americans play video games, Variety claims.
- 16% the percentage of Americans’ weekly leisure time taken up by video games, Variety estimates.
Most Americans not benefiting from Successful Economy
- “Only 12% of Americans say that their family has benefited a great deal from recent growth in the U.S. economy: and another 31% say they have received some benefit from the economic upturn,” the April 2019 Monmouth University Poll estimates.
- “A majority (of Americans) say they have been helped either not much (27%); or not at all (27%), from the nation’s macroeconomic growth,” the Monmouth University Polling Institute concludes.
Given these numbers, Andrew Yang and his Freedom Dividend will be very popular. Consequently, Andrew Yang could be the first gamer to move into the White House.