Every four years, around this time of the year in New Hampshire, presidential candidates are canvassing the state for support. Everyday, there are multiple events put on by candidates to campaign. It is not unusual for individual candidates to hold numerous events per day in various parts of the state.
This was the case on Thurs., Feb. 6 for Andrew Yang. Yang had five events scheduled for the day. Presumably because of the snow that hit New Hampshire Wednesday night, his first event ended up being cancelled, leaving him with four events to attend.
The first one was a Town Hall in Plymouth at the Merrill Place Conference Center. Upon arrival, guests were offered free t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and “MATH” hats.
The centre was filled with posters with Yang’s different slogans printed onto them and a small riser stage that sat in front of a large banner reading: “New Hampshire For Yang.” The crowd was entertained by a playlist that included songs from The Beatles, Tom Petty, and The Barenaked Ladies.
The event started right on time. The allotted chairs filled up with supporters, student journalists from Syracuse and Humber, and members of the non-profit AARP. Yang was introduced by Steve Marchand, former mayor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who joked that this was Yang’s “first of many events today.”
Yang gave a speech and then answered questions from the audience, just like he did at his other three events that day.
One of the main proposals that he spoke about was the idea of giving Americans $1,000 per month from age 18 until “they expire.” He then mentioned that this would not be a new proposal because it is something that the state of Alaska is already doing.
Yang told the audience that Alaska pays for this dividend with oil. He continued by asking the audience if they knew what the oil of the 21st century is. Many responded, in unison: “data.” He also spoke about how companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple, and Netflix are not paying any taxes, but should be. This is how Yang said he would be paying to put a thousand dollars a month into the pockets of Americans.
“Our purpose is not to work for the economy, but for the economy to work for us,” he said.
The only event that was structured differently from the others, was his second, which was held at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. College costs and debt was the main topic of discussion.
This event began as a panel discussion led by Adam Harris, a staff writer from The Atlantic, James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, and Daniella Gibbs Leger, vice president of communications and strategy at the Center for American Progress. The panel began at 3:30 p.m. and welcomed Yang to the stage around 5 p.m.
Yang spoke more directly about how he plans to deal with student debt and college costs, if he were to become president. He joked around about the time when he had student debt.
“I used to call my student loan debt my mistress,” he said.
The main point that he drove home to the audience at the university, besides asking for their vote, was his “10 by 10” proposal. Under this plan, Americans could commit 10 per cent of their salary for 10 years and emerge debt free. He believes that this approach would create “light at the end of the tunnel” for those with student loan debt.
The third event was a town hall event in Dover, NH. The venue was intimate and served bottled beer. Strings of lightbulbs hung from the ceiling and chairs were set up in a circle so Yang could be in the centre of the audience he was addressing.
Steve Marchand introduced Yang for the second time of the day. He gave an introduction almost identical to the one he gave at the Merrill Place Conference Centre earlier in the day, but still expressed enthusiasm and all of his jokes still landed.
To no surprise, Yang’s speech stayed mostly the same to his previous ones that day. He spoke about being an entrepreneur of a non-profit organization and the automation of jobs in America. He also explained to the Dover audience how important their vote is. He said that according to his calculations, every New Hampshire citizen’s vote is worth the same as 1,000 Californians.
“You know when the nation is going to see how you’ve voted … February 11th,” he said, jokingly in reference to the Iowa caucuses.
Lobbyists were another point of discussion in Yang’s speech. He proposed giving every American 100 “democracy dollars” to replace lobbyist cash. He also brought up an article written by The Onion titled “American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyists To Push Interests In Congress” at each of his speeches.
During this question period, Yang was asked about decriminalizing sex work where he responded that he is open to the full legalization if he felt like people weren’t doing it because of “economic deprivation.”
Yang’s final event of the day was another town hall meeting in Exeter, NH. He veered slightly off script in this event due to the fact that he went to high school at a private school in Exeter.
He told the audience in Exeter all of the same proposals as he did for the other audiences around the state that day, including his plan to set a 12 year term limit for lawmakers. Under this proposal, current lawmakers would be exempt. Yang chose this approach in order to get support from the current lawmakers of America.
“They”ll say, ‘We do this for the American people,’” Yang said, speaking on lawmakers supporting his term limit proposal.
Yang also spoke about his son, who has autism, and how his wife is a stay-at-home mom. He spoke about how stay-at-home parents, caregivers, activists, and most artists are all zeroed out of the U.S. economy.
He said that Americans are “conditioned to believe that economic value and human value are the same thing.”
At each of the events, Yang did mention the current president, Donald Trump. He spoke about being the opposite of Trump because he is an Asian man who likes math. He also mentioned that Trump is yet to tweet about him.
“I am the only candidate he hasn’t tweeted about because he knows I’m better at the internet than him,” he said.
He finished the day off talking about how he is a “cult classic” in Taiwan and if he were to win the election, there would be “global celebrations.”
Yang’s campaign continued with multiple events planned each day until the primary on Feb. 11.