Democrat Andrew Yang: 'Top Issue' on Voters’ Minds Is 'Getting Ahead'

By Susan Jones | August 12, 2019 | 10:09am EDT
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a forum on gun safety at the Iowa Events Center on August 10, 2019 in Des Moine. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

( - Andrew Yang, one of twenty-plus Democrats running for their party's presidential nomination, is fresh off the campaign trail in Iowa, appearing Monday on the set of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"What is that one issue that you keep hearing coming up when you're meeting voters?" host Joe Scarborough asked Yang. "What is the top issue on their mind in the summer of 2019?"

Yang responded:

Well, I think the issue on their minds is why does it feel like they're working harder and harder and that they're never getting ahead? Why does it feel like the future they're giving to their kids is not as bright as even the future they had experienced when they were growing up in this country?

That to me is a central issue that got Donald Trump elected, and it's still with us. And unfortunately, we need to start getting into the roots of these problems because even if the Democrats successfully defeat Donald Trump in 2020, which we're going to do, the problems will still be with us. We have to start actually focusing on the solutions that we're going to improve the people's lives on the ground, because they don't feel like their work is getting them where they want to go.


It should be noted that Yang’s solution to economic woes is the so-called Freedom Dividend, a form of universal basic income that guarantees payments of $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year, to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18 – “no questions asked,” he says.

Smart guns

Yang was moved to tears at an Iowa town hall on Sunday, when he met a woman's whose two-year-old daughter was shot and killed by a stray bullet in front of the girl's twin brother.

Yang said as a result of hearing the sad story, he hugged his children "a little extra tight."

"It's just a human response," he said, "and this sort of phenomenon cannot be allowed to be possible i tI was just with my kids and I hugged them a little extra tight yesterday. Just -- it's just a human response and this sort of phenomenon cannot be allowed to be possible in this country."

Yang said he agrees with other Democrats on various gun control strategies, such as universal background checks and a ban on "assault weapons." But he also wants to reduce the supply of weapons that are already in citizens' hands:

"We should have a perpetual buy-back in effect where anyone who wants to sell their gun gets the money and you can start reducing supply. But the other thing you can do in this personalization of guns -- you can make a grip that's essentially knows whether it's the owner, based on the size of the hand, the pressure, it's not a fingerprint thing, but the dimensions of your hand.

"Then if someone tries to fire that gun, then it doesn't work. This sounds very James Bondish, but the technology is very much available. It's just the gun manufacturers haven't felt like it was good for their businesses to have this."

Yang said his "smart gun" proposal would be optional. "But a lot of gun owners would love that," he said. "A lot of people have children, and they know if their children get ahold of the guns it can be disastrous."

The National Rifle Association says it doesn’t oppose the development of “smart” guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them. However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess “smart” gun technology.


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