Democratic strategist: Yang is 'perfect messenger' for universal basic income

Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins praised presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew YangMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Andrew Yang: Democrats need to adopt message that government is 'working for them' Andrew Yang moving to Georgia to help Democrats in Senate runoffs MORE for his proposal to give every U.S. adult $1,000 a month if elected.

Hopkins on Monday called the tech entrepreneur “the perfect messenger” for universal basic income (UBI).

“I’m not sure I really agree with UBI in the policy prescription of it, but just the way he’s been able to talk voters, go to where voters are and relate to them, I think has been amazing,” Hopkins, a founding partner of Northern Starr Strategies, told Hill.TV.

“It’s something candidates down the road could really learn from because, while people may disagree with his policies, they’re very few people who can say they don’t like Andrew Yang,” he added.

Yang has made his UBI proposal a central part of his White House bid, touting it as a way to spark transformational change among the nation’s poor, particularly in poverty-stricken areas of South Carolina, an early voting state during the nominating process.

“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, campaign chairman for Yang’s presidential campaign in South Carolina, told Hill.TV earlier this month.

Though Yang entered the race as a virtual unknown, he has since garnered a loyal following and embraced his status as a political outsider.

In a new campaign ad, Yang argues that his outsider status is what makes him uniquely qualified to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE in November.

“The hard truth is we won’t beat Donald Trump with what’s coming out of Washington today — old ideas and angry rhetoric. Donald Trump is a symptom of a broken system. To defeat him, we need someone with experience tackling the economic challenges of our time. I’ve done that,” he said in the ad.

Though Yang registers in the single digits in most statewide and national polls, he has outlasted several senators and governors over the course of the 2020 race. Yang has seen strong fundraising, bringing in roughly $16.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

On Sunday, Yang became the seventh candidate to qualify for the New Hampshire debate stage after failing to make the cut for January’s Iowa debate. In order to qualify, White House hopefuls need to receive at least 225,000 individual donations and register at least 5 percent support in four qualifying polls or 7 percent in two polls in New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.

—Tess Bonn