Andrew Yang, a politician with no wins in his career is quite famous. Yang’s 2020 presidential campaign did not win any delegates at the Democratic National Convention. He received about 5 percent of the Iowa caucuses, and only 3 percent from the New Hampshire primary. In New York City’s 2021 top-ranked Democratic primary, Yang came in at fourth. Yang launched the Forward Party, despite his struggles with politics.
Although Yang and the Forward Party don’t consider themselves libertarians, their platform contains several areas of interest. This includes the UBI proposal, ranked voting and nonpartisan primaries. It also addresses efforts to improve transparency and accessibility of government.
The October issue of There are reasonsNick Gillespie of’s spoke with Yang to discuss the Forward Party and libertarian pitches for an UBI. He also discussed the government’s reaction to the pandemic.
Q: What’s the elevator pitch for Forward? How do you describe Forward in an elevator pitch?
A: It is clear that the duopoly has been killing us. This is turning us all against one another. At civil war level, political stress has reached epidemic proportions. The increasing threat of political violence is becoming a more common reality. What can be done to stop us from falling further into the brink? It is well-known that libertarians have advocated for the shift away from the duopoly over many years.
You are now my partner. The only way to end the duopoly in our society is to shift to open primaries or ranked-choice votings, so every viewpoint has an opportunity.
Q: Show us how ranked choice voting works. This voting method was utilized in the Democratic primaries for New York City’s mayoral race. What is the process like?
A: Ranked option voting lets you rank multiple candidates. The voting will continue until one candidate has the majority. Theoretically, you could vote for a minor contender as your first choice. If that candidate doesn’t have a lot of votes, your vote will flow to your second choice. This can be either the Republican, the Democrat, or an independent.
It is better and more fair. This allows you to choose your preferences. This rewards those who appeal to a wider coalition. It also makes it possible for people to still listen to your voice to get your vote and votes.
Q: Charles Murray and Milton Friedman, two of the most prominent free-market supporters, advocated various forms universal basic income programs. Your pitch to libertarians is:
Q: I think this is the one issue on which I am fundamentally in agreement with libertarians. People are best able to resolve their problems by themselves and determine what they require. [more]It is more efficient than any government program. These bureaucracies can be very inefficient, I believe. Some of them are also quite harsh. I talk to people who are subject to them—they live in fear and anxiety all the time that they’re going to fill out a form wrong or miss an interview and then have it taken away from them. To me there is a false belief in what the government can do in certain areas. Many of those who are making these arguments don’t really feel the madness or labyrinth, which I find deeply frustrating.
Q: What is your long-term trust in government? What would be your opinion of the federal response to the pandemic?
A: Yes, I believe the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]It was embarrassingly obvious from the beginning. We were unable to respond immediately. Communication has proved to be difficult. I consider the greatest victory, however, to be the easy availability of vaccines once they have been developed. It was quite a surprise to me how widespread vaccines are, which was an important win for the government. However, it has been difficult. We are still experiencing a lot anxiety, uncertainty, and disruption right now.
The interview was edited and condensed for clarity and style. For a podcast version, subscribe to Interview with The ReasonNick Gillespie