Andrew Yang ends his presidential campaign

Mr Andrew Yang greeting supporters in Keene, New Hampshire, on Tuesday. His decision to end his bid for the presidency comes after he failed to win any pledged delegates in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Mr Andrew Yang greeting supporters in Keene, New Hampshire, on Tuesday. His decision to end his bid for the presidency comes after he failed to win any pledged delegates in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MANCHESTER • Mr Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur with no political experience who evangelised a universal basic income and warned of the perils of automation, ended his bid for president on Tuesday night after a campaign that endured even as members of Congress and governors dropped out of the race.

Speaking to supporters inside a ballroom as New Hampshire's primary results were coming in, Mr Yang said "endings are hard" and that he had intended to stay in the race until the end.

"I am the maths guy, and it's clear from the numbers we're not going to win this campaign," he said. "So tonight I'm announcing that I am suspending my campaign."

Mr Yang had spent considerable time and resources in the state and was banking on the support of its many independent voters. He had signalled in recent interviews and e-mails to supporters that he would need to vastly outperform expectations in the Granite State for his campaign to continue.

The end came a week after Mr Yang, 45, failed to win any pledged delegates in the Iowa caucuses despite spending a significant share of his war chest on advertisements there.

His decision to exit the race closes out one of the Democratic primary's most surprising storylines, removing a candidate who developed a fiercely loyal following of disaffected voters from across the ideological spectrum and intrigued even sceptics with his wit, levity and relentless positivity.

As Mr Yang announced his decision that night - noting that he did not want to continue to accept donations "in a race we will not win" - there were audible groans. But a moment later, a supporter yelled: "We still love you, Andrew!" The crowd immediately broke into cheers.

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Mr Yang was one of about a half-dozen viable Asian-American candidates to ever run for president. He became something of an involuntary torchbearer for Asian-Americans as he grappled with how to discuss his identity on the trail and how to address and confront racism.

It was Mr Yang's plan to give every American adult US$1,000 (S$1,400) a month that formed the foundation for his run.

Aware that a candidate beginning with essentially no name recognition and few traditional credentials would face stiff odds, Mr Yang often told audiences that he had not initially wanted to run for president because he was not "crazy".

But he would add that during a trip to Washington, he was told that if he wanted the government to do anything about job loss caused by automation, he would need to bring a "wave" crashing down on the heads of bureaucrats. His run for president, he said, amounted to that wave.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline 'Andrew Yang ends his presidential campaign'. Print Edition | Subscribe