HomeBad Ass AsiansAnalysis: Andrew Yang misses his opportunities on the debate stage

Analysis: Andrew Yang misses his opportunities on the debate stage

By Ed Diokno, Views from the Edge

Even with only seven candidates on the debate stage, presidential candidate Andrew Yang still had the shortest time answering questions during the Democrats’ Thursday evening’s debate.

I’m not sure if its his less BS speaking style or the other candidates basically ignoring him therefore having the less time to respond to attacks that never came, or if its his failure to insert himself into the clashes between the other candidates. 

Yang’s lack of aggressiveness is reinforcing the stereotype of Asians not asserting themselves, or put another way, being overly polite.

Yang only spoke about 10 minutes, or about half the time of the talkative Bernie Sanders.

Unlike the debates hosted by MSNBC, he had opportunities to expand on his answers beyond awkwardly twisting back to his Freedom Dividend as the answer to all the ills facing the nation.

For instance, in this debate and the five earlier debates, he answered a question by saying the Democrats need to address the reasons why people voted for Trump in 2016: that is jobs disappearing because of automation. Now that he’s pointed out the need (repeatedly), I would finally like to hear during the debate what solutions he has to offer.

In this clip, when he is asked by the first Pakistani American moderator NewsHour senior correspondent Amna Nawaz what it means to be the only candidate of color on stage, he again reverts to his stock answer of a so-called Freedom Dividend instead of talking about institutional racism and biases ingrained in our political system.

In fact, the other six candidates — all White — failed to mention the shortcoming and the lack of diversity among the debaters.

In his answer, he delivered his best line of the night, “I grew up the son of immigrants… and I had many racial epithets used against me as a kid,” but instead of getting personal and relating how that shaped him, he reverted to stats showing how it Blacks and Latinos face bigger obstacles, which allowed him to refer to his plan for a universal basic income.

Bernie Sanders’ attempt at humor fell embarrassingly flat. When the 77 year old was asked about his age, he sarcastically inserted, “And I’m White.” 

In the following clip, I didn’t like the way Yang seemed to brush off Russian interference in US elections, Trump inciting racists and impeachment in one sentence as if they were not factors in the Trump administration. Instead, listen to how he once again, reverts to his promise of $1,000 a month for every adult.

The consensus by most pundits is that Joe Biden came out on top or at least, didn’t hurt himself. His ho-hum, but adequate performance only confirmed his status as the frontrunner.

Amy Klobuchar came out firing, — something Yang should learn to do — and should raise her standings when the polls come out Thursday morning.
It appears that Yang’s campaign will last through the Iowa Caucus 45 days from now. After the holidays, CNN and The Des Moines Register will co-host the January debate, which will take place at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It will be the first of four that events that will take place in rapid succession over the first two months of 2020 prior to the Iowa Caucus.

AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our  Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff or submitting a story.


  1. RE: Analyis-Andrew Yang misses his opportunity on the debate stage: I myself thought he came off more personable and more likable than ever before. His personality was engaging and not pushy and a bit whiny as Amy can seem. I hope he doesn’t get aggressive like her as you suggest but remains assertive and clear as he was last night.

  2. RE: Analysis: Andrew yang misses his opportunities on the debate stage: I hate to burst your bubble, but Yang isn’t going to “insert” himself into a catfight for the sake of being brash and aggressive. That is not who he is. He rises above pettiness, and if it means less speaking time, so be it. It’s funny that you bring in him just being himself and having decorum instead of resorting to aggression for the sake of more speaking time as “reinforcing model minority stereotypes” about Asians. What a load of hogwash, I bet if he was aggressive and rude you’d describe him as “fake”. The dude can’t win, just let him be himself. And honestly, not being whiny, aggressive and petty is a breath of fresh air to most of us who want someone who has decorum and can hold themselves with dignity and poise.

    Last night was a huge win for Yang, because even though he gets the least speaking time, what he says matters and means a lot to people and a lot of people are speaking his praises online as a result and looking into him. Him humanising his flagship proposal was a masterstroke, and allows people who would normally dismiss it as a joke to think about it from a different, more human centred point of view.

    For a news site that is labelled “Asian American News” and claims to have “Asian America at it’s heart”, you sure like to kick the one Asian who is doing more for your racial group than anyone right now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features


Discover more from AsAmNews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading