Yang campaign official touts universal basic income: Would spark ‘transformational change’


A campaign official for Andrew Yang’s 2020 campaign on Thursday argued that the White House hopeful’s proposed universal basic income would spark “transformational change” among the nation’s poor, especially within poverty-stricken areas of South Carolina.

“Down here in the Corridor of Shame, it’s got record poverty, unemployment and situations where the UBI could really do some transformational change,” Jermaine Johnson, a campaign chairman for Yang’s presidential campaign in South Carolina, told Hill.TV.

South Carolina’s “Corridor of Shame” is typically used to refer to a rural, impoverished area mainly located in the southeast region of the state. Johnson said the idea is already started to resonate with voters there, noting that poverty in the region has taken a toll on both black and white voters alike.

“Most American conservatives, liberals they just want to have a good life,” he said. “Most of them just want to say, ‘You know what, my kids are getting the right education. I have a safe neighborhood. I’m able to put food on the table at night.”

Yang’s proposal to give every American $1,000 a month has been a central part of his campaign. It’s also one that Johnson, who grew up poor, takes to heart, noting that such a stipend would have prevented both him and his family from being homeless.

“I had to think about what that $1,000 a month would have done for my family growing up — instead of my parents or my family members going to jail, they would have gone to a rehab center under an Andrew Yang presidency,” he told Hill.TV.

Yang, meanwhile, is trying to build more support in South Carolina, where the RealClearPolitics average shows him polling at 2 percent. Ahead of the new year, the former tech entrepreneur held multiple campaign events in the Palmetto State.

South Carolina’s large African-American voting bloc makes it a critical state to win for those seeking the party’s nomination. Johnson said he remains confident that Yang can resonate with voters there, citing the campaign’s latest $16.5 million fundraising haul in the fourth quarter.

“The more people hear about Yang, the more people like him, the more money that we bring in,” he said.

— Tess Bonn

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