Yang Gang

Dylan Coleman

PHOTO/Matt Bieker

Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and philanthropist currently running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. His ideas have earned a few standout moments in the news cycle over the past few months—specifically his idea for Universal Basic Income, wherein every American would receive a monthly stipend to spend on whatever they want. Yang Gang member Dylan Coleman is a musician, originally from Massachusetts, who moved to Reno in 2016. He began volunteering for the Yang campaign in Reno a few months ago.

How’d you first come to support Andrew Yang?

The second debate was coming in July, and so I figured, at that point, I should check into these candidates. I looked at Kamala [Harris], Pete [Buttigieg], Bernie [Sanders], Liz [Warren], I checked all their websites—basically just kind of everyone but Biden ’cause I kind of know his thing. … To my astonishment, Andrew was the only one whose website had policies on it … all sorts of things I’ve been thinking about for years, like what to do with all the empty malls that have closed in the last 10 years, you know … It was kind of like, he’s very data-driven.

You mentioned you vote Democratic but don’t really follow the party line.

I wouldn’t even come close to considering myself a libertarian, but I know what these people think. I know what their arguments are because I’ve had these arguments with them in my life. So I sort of know what their angle is, you know, and I don’t know if you know this, but Andrew Yang has been on a lot of the conservative and libertarian podcasts. Like, he’s been on Joe Rogan, who’s kind of, I guess I kind of consider him the libertarian side of things. He was on Ben Shapiro, who’s like a crazy, super conservative maniac. And, surprisingly, these people don’t really have a good argument as to why this is such a terrible idea—specifically with the Universal Basic Income—but also some of the other things he’s got plans for. He’s got this “democracy dollars,” which would give everybody $100 to give to campaigns, but only to campaigns, as a sort of way of dealing with the Citizens United ruling without having to overturn a Supreme Court ruling or create a constitutional amendment.

How does Universal Basic Income work, as you understand it?

Alaska has a UBI. It’s a very small UBI—it’s about one or $2,000 a year, but they have one, and that’s Alaska—you know, it’s pretty red. I’ve actually seen this graph—the amount of jobs that have been automated in a particular county has a direct relationship with how far they swung from like these Obama-to-Trump kind of voters. So there’s a direct correlation between job loss and Trump voting. So one would think that if you’re telling them, “Hey, I know it sounds crazy, but like, just a thousand bucks a [year], you can have that and you can do with it what you see fit,” … I know a lot of Libertarians that really dislike the way that the bureaucracy decides who gets money and what qualifies and the fiscal cliff kind of thing where if you’re getting some kind of benefit, and you decide you want to work 19 hours instead of 20 hours, all of a sudden you lose so many benefits that you end up way worse off. So the UBI disincentivizes all of those issues. … I don’t want to say that it’s a miracle cure, but it kind of hits all of these things. It reduces costs for homelessness services. It reduces costs for mental health. It reduces costs for incarceration. … You have to think about what would that mean for—you know, it’s not just to you.