It’s been a busy 24 hours in politics. A day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, seven of the 15 Democratic candidates currently running to replace him took to the debate stage for the last time in 2019. Among them: Andrew Yang — an entrepreneur who has championed some progressive policies including a universal basic income and eliminating private prisons.
To maybe everyone's surprise, Yang had several standout moments in the sixth debate. Namely, when the (only male) moderator asked each candidate about representation of women in political offices, especially in the highest office, Yang managed to dominate the conversation.
"If you get too many men alone and leave us alone for a while, we kind of become morons,” he said to the audience — a moment which heralded great applause. After disappointing and flat answers from two of his fellow male candidates (ahem, Bernie and Joe), Yang's praise of women — even the women on stage beside him — was a testament to his position on gender roles and equality.
"Our country is deeply misogynist, and most all of us know that," he said in the debate. "The fact is, strong societies would elect more female leaders. Strong men treat women well for the same reasons."
But, this isn't the first time that Yang has voiced support for women — in politics or otherwise. “I think it is not a male legislator’s place to weigh in on women’s reproductive rights,” Yang once tweeted. “Women should make their own determinations as to what reproductive rights are. I have a feeling we know where women will come out.”
The candidate's statements calling out misogyny altogether have already gone viral (as the kids say, the internet stans). And it wasn't even his only breakout moment of the night. Yang was singled out as the only candidate of color on stage (Senator Cory Booker and former housing secretary Julián Castro did not meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling criteria to qualify for the debate). A moderator asked Yang, “What message does it send to voters that you’re the only non-white candidate up on stage?”
“It’s both an honor and disappointment to be the lone candidate of color on the stage tonight,” Yang responded, adding that he missed his friends (cute!). “But Black [people] and Latinos have something much more powerful working against them than words. They have numbers.”
Yang’s candor is definitely a departure from the typical workshopped talking points we usually get from politicians, and it probably explains why the so-called “Yang Gang” keeps growing.
With 2020 being just around the corner, voters are more likely to pay attention to Yang’s surging popularity and feminist policies.