Farewell Andrew Yang

At 8:36 PM on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, businessman Mr. Andrew Yang officially suspended his campaign for President. After a flurry of missed deadlines, Andrew chose to drop out before New Hampshire was officially called.

In the past 266 days, Andrew sent me 462 non-donor emails and 444 donor emails for a total of 906 emails. That averaged out to about 1.7 emails every day.

Two peaks for the businessman

Tuesdays and Fridays were Andrew’s favorite days to email, which feel appropriate for the man who understood businesses: Tuesday got you over Monday’s dullness, while Friday gave you something to think about over the weekend.

This was very impressive

Whatever Andrew was doing with his emails, it was working. Almost every single email he sent, both donor and non-donor, arrived in my primary inbox. None of his emails were ever caught by the spam filter.

Fairly cheerful

Andrew had a reputation for being a good guy, and his cheer mostly came across in his emails, with a fifth of them being purely optimistic and hopeful. However, he did send quite a few “we NEED to hit this deadline, we can’t afford not to, you are literally the deciding donation between our success and failure,” and many of those got lumped into the pessimistic or mixed categories.

Despite his reputation for hitting goals, he was mostly behind.

Andrew loved to hold up his successes, such as when he hit a goal or made a debate stage. There were a couple times when he refused to fail so much that he would shift the end time for a goal around so that his supporters could continue to donate. I didn’t approve of this method: extending the deadline meant you missed your deadline. Still, I counted them as Andrew counted them, whether they were successful or misses.

There were a few negatives

Even with his good guy reputation, Andrew did get some smacks in at fellow Democrats, though he was mostly upset with the DNC for debate-related shenanigans, such as telling him one of his polls didn’t count or raising the debate threshold. The worst he ever really did against a fellow Democrat by name was the time when he attempted to throw down with Bernie Sanders for insulting UBI.

With Andrew rising in the polls and our momentum growing, we knew the attacks could start at any time. And friend, they’re here. 

Just this morning, Bernie Sanders launched an attack on Andrew’s proposal for universal basic income. 

Bernie’s criticism is a red flag to everyone on this team who sees the crisis we’re facing and wants real action — not just the same ideas of the past. 

Your support is more important than ever in this moment. Bernie’s attack is likely just the start of what’s to come from other candidates and special interests. And these attacks will only intensify as our poll numbers increase and we get closer to the September debate. 

Can we count on you to rush a contribution before midnight so we have the resources to respond to this attack and keep our momentum? We’re counting on this team to step up in this important moment:

We know universal basic income is the best way forward in an economy that’s rapidly transforming because of automation and technology — and that Andrew is the only candidate ready to address the crisis we’re facing. We cannot let his important message get drowned out.

Yang2020

This one email was rather uncharacteristically aggressive for Andrew, and this was as far as it went. Aside from the occasional mutter about the political establishment or wine caves, Andrew backed off from attacking his fellow competitors.

He hit all the topics

Andrew was one of a few campaigns that actually had multiple Welcome emails, laying out what I could expect from his emails.

Thank you for joining our fight for humanity.  Bringing big solutions to fix the massive problems facing our country will not happen without people like you.

Over the next week, I will email you two more times to share why I am running for president, introduce the Freedom Dividend, and provide a real plan for how our campaign can continue to shock the world.  Additionally, I will make sure you receive my weekly campaign updates, which I write personally from the road.

Andrew Yang

Needless to say, he stopped doing those weekly campaign updates.

Most of Andrew’s emails focused on trying to raise money, though he rarely had issues with hitting his donor thresholds. His big struggle was always with getting enough polls to make the debates. Andrew was sure that his followers were being under-polled, and this was a huge disservice to his campaign. He was also frequently upset with the media coverage he was (or wasn’t) receiving, with due cause: his name would frequently be misspelled (Wang instead of Yang, John instead of Andrew) or left off completely, or his photo would be that of random Asian man who was definitely not running for President. It became ridiculous to the point of disbelief, where even I, who scoff at most conspiracy theories, couldn’t help but wonder if there actually was a greater conspiracy there.

Andrew’s was the only campaign where this really stuck out.

As a donor, the campaigns knew my name, but as a non-donor, none of them did (except Deval Patrick). As such, how they would address me would vary from campaign to campaign and email to email. Andrew was the only one who, for a large portion of his donor emails, would address me not by name, but by “Yang Gang.” He switched back to my name a few months back, and I felt a bit disappointed.

You see, I know that campaign emails are mass-mailed form letters. Calling me by name does not make me feel like you have a genuine connection with me. It makes me feel like you entered a {{FIRST NAME}} field into your writing. However, calling me “Friend” or “Team” also felt disingenuous, as it’s far too generic, like you don’t actually care.

Yang Gang struck that balance. It wasn’t overly personal–I knew Andrew would never recognize me in a crowd–but it was more personal than just “friend.” It meant that when he sent emails, he wasn’t typing {{FIRST NAME}} but rather Yang Gang. It wasn’t an automatic form-filled email. It made me smile.

And then he went back to using my name and I just sighed and went back to not smiling.

He hit all the asks.

Andrew mostly asked for money, but he liked to show me his ads to watch and would occasionally ask me to make calls or attend a volunteer training. For a data-driven campaign, he didn’t ask for surveys all that much, but when he did, they tended to hit around debate times, as he asked what I was most interested in. Occasionally, he would just talk to me, but not very often. However, as an outsider, Andrew very rarely asked me to donate to a cause that was not himself. In fact, he only asked twice: once to flip the Virginia State House, and once to donate to the man who was running against Lindsey Graham (this was also the only GOP-negative email he sent).

Andrew’s biggest email ask, other than for money, was to push his merch. And oh boy, did he have a lot of merch. Some of it was iconic, like his navy blue MATH cap.

The Famous MATH Hat
This was the image of his campaign.

The MATH hat was so iconic for Andrew that it took on a variety of forms.

The infamous math hat in green with “Math” embroidered on front and marijuana leaf embroidered on the back.
Cannabis MATH
Navy hat with MATH in gold on the front and the claw in gold on the back
Under brim design with American flag collage. Tag with drawing of young Andrew Yang and “Yang Early Investor”
Inner band with “Not left. Not right. Forward.” in gold
Early Investor MATH
Placeholder image for Andrew Yang for President
Signed MATH
Camo MATH hat
Camo MATH
Black cap with Yang2020 logo embroidered in gold. And 'MATH' embroidered in gold under the cap.
Gold MATH

In addition to the variety of forms of his MATH hat, the MATH logo would appear on t-shirts and pins and pens. Make America Think Harder was a catch phrase of Andrew’s campaign… but so was “awkward teenager” if his merch had anything to say.

Get this new pin for free when you spend $50 or more. Pin with young Andrew that reads “That’s the math, baby.”
No one looks good in high school.
Front of sweatshirt with Yang 1992 polaroid
Not even Andrew
Black t-shirt with Andrew dressed up for Halloweedn. Only 950 units
Please stop.

That wasn’t to say Andrew’s merch was all bad. His was the only campaign to figure out how to do an enamel pin of his face that didn’t look creepy.

The trick was to make it cartoony

His campaign was the only one to offer a branded calculator, and the first to offer branded pens.

a blue calculator that reads “Andrew Yang’s Calculator” and red pen that reads  “#YangGang.”
Those are actually nice pens, for how cheap they are to have made.

And his shot glass was appropriately punny.

Longer Than Long Shot Glass
It’s definitely a long shot.

However, Andrew’s clear favorite piece of merch, other than the hat, was commemorative buttons. He had buttons for every debate, and then some.

His buttons were very hit or miss for me, with the Twitter buttons being my favorites.

Andrew’s merch was rarely my style, but he did have a few pieces that made me smile. His MATH hat definitely became iconic, and he had a pair of Not Right/Not Left socks that were appropriately labeled. However, his merch also seemed to be telling of his campaign itself… it didn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously. Just look at the devolution of his debate buttons.

Andrew started off his campaign as not a politician, and by the end, he was a bit better at the whole politicking thing. His first emails, with his weekly campaign updates, felt stilted and awkward, like a student forced to write an essay. It wasn’t until his last email, his farewell email, that I actually felt like he was starting to show a glimmer of what it meant to be President.

Though thousands of voters came out for our campaign tonight in New Hampshire, it is not the outcome we fought so hard for.  It is bitterly disappointing for many of us.

But it should not be.

Every single day I’ve had supporters say to me:

“Your campaign helped me out of a depression.  Thank you.”

“Working on this campaign has made me a better human being.”

“I met my significant other because of you.”

“Your campaign brought my family together.  Your campaign got me excited about politics for the first time.”

These are all things that people have said to me in the past days.  I’m incredibly proud of this campaign.  We have touched and improved millions of lives and moved this country we love so much in the right direction.

And while there is great work left to be done, I am the MATH guy.  And it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race.  I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win.

And so tonight, I am suspending my campaign for president.

This is not an easy decision.  Endings are hard and I’ve always intended to stay in this race until the very end.  But I have been convinced that the message of this campaign will not be strengthened by my staying in this race any longer.

Endings are hard.  But this is not an ending.

This is a beginning.

This is the starting line.  This campaign has awakened something fundamental in this country and ourselves.

Andrew Yang

Most significantly, I appreciated his decision to stop accepting money from people when he knew he could not win. He didn’t want to be dishonest to his supporters and bilk them out of any more cash than they had already given him. And for that, I can absolutely respect him.

Farewell, Andrew Yang. You taught the country a lot about Universal Basic Income… and why high school pictures should stay in old yearbooks.

Art by the Discord guy, through his tears.

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