Saagar Enjeti: Why Andrew Yang is beating Kamala Harris

Opinion by: Saagar Enjeti 

Yesterday Krystal and I talked about the New York Times’ sliming of Andrew YangAndrew YangBiden leads Sanders by 7 in new national poll Sanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll Sanders holds 4-point lead on Biden in new California poll MORE.

For those of you who didn't see it, the Times basically accused Andrew of betraying the Asian-American community, because he refused to push for the professional and personal cancellation of comedian Shane Gillis. Gillis said terrible things about Andrew and other Asian Americans, and now he's been fired by SNL.

Yang tweeted before Gillis's firing that he did not at all think that Gillis should lose his job and did something that very few people in the democratic party or the media have urged in recent years.

He urged forgiveness and understanding. After Gillis's firing, he said he would meet with Gillis at his request who presumably wanted to apologize.

How is it that a New York businessman spouting some pretty radical ideas is far and above all of his colleagues in the most important realm that matters for a presidential candidate: humanity. Andrew Yang's instinct to forgive Shane Gillis and work towards understanding and penance is the only way that America can survive the 21st century. I say this as someone who has also been a victim of Anti-Asian racism.

We are a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious society of varying ages, geography, and experience. It is a Goddamn miracle that any of us exist within the same polity at the same time. The only way our democracy can function is through a mutual desire to move forward, build things, break things, and rule through consensus. So much of elite Democratic politics today is predicated on the idea that every single person who voted for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE is a racist, bigoted homophobe who barely deserves citizenship in this country.

We've seen periods in our history where we operate that way before. It ends bloody and well for pretty much nobody.

Perhaps that is why Andrew is currently polling above Senator Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCalifornia Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Steyer spokesperson: 'I don't think necessarily that Tom has bought anything' Biden wins endorsement of Sacramento mayor MORE in her home state of California in the latest Emerson poll of the state. The Democratic presidential race is basically a three-way tie. You have Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Biden, Sanders tax plans would raise less revenue than claimed: studies MORE for the college educated, Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden MORE for the progressive working class and young people, and Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden MORE for, well, everybody else. That doesn't leave much space for the Biden-lite or Bernie-lite candidates on the rest of the stage.

The relentless positivity of Andrew Yang is something that I want to go out of my way to highlight because it seems so lost from our politics today. If you accept the liberal premise that society is truly irredeemable and that all of us are walking around micro-aggressed and misunderstood, then shunning and screaming at those who are harming you is the opposite of what we should be doing.

Instead of poll tested sound bites and grievance politics Andrew Yang is trying something new and original. Look, I have a hell of a lot of questions about UBI, and full disclosure, I don't think it will work that well. But the man is onto something: I think it has a lot less to do with UBI, and instead is a recognition of the rapidly changing pace of American life and what that might mean for all of us.

How refreshing to see a presidential candidate actually talking about these issues without indulging in so many of the woke shibboleths that we see from Elizabeth Warren and even from Bernie Sanders from time to time.