Presidential candidate Andrew Yang during his walk-through before the Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio, Tuesday, October 15.
Yang joins six other Democratic presidential candidates who have qualified: former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Yang, who met the polling threshold two days before the cut-off, has boosted his numbers enough to meet the DNC’s tougher criteria while several other opponents have not. If elected, Yang would be the first Asian American US president.
A main focus of Yang’s political platform is the idea of universal basic income. Yang wants to give all Americans 18 and older $1,000 a month, saying it will help make the economy more equitable and allow people to decide how to use the money rather than the government.
In 2011, Yang founded Venture for America, a nonprofit which connects recent college graduates with start-ups. In 2015, former President Barack Obama named Yang an ambassador for global entrepreneurship.
Next week’s event is the final Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debate of 2019. It will be held on December 19 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. PBS NewsHour is partnering with Politico to produce it, and CNN will air the debate live on multiple platforms.
In order to qualify for the debate, Democratic presidential candidates need to receive 4% in at least four national or early state polls that meet the DNC’s criteria or 6% in two early state polls. Candidates also need to receive donations from at least 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 from at least 20 different states. Candidates have until Thursday to meet the fundraising and polling thresholds.
The DNC, since it began hosting presidential primary debates this summer, has consistently raised the thresholds for the contests, slowly shrinking the field of Democrats have are on the high-profile debate stages.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard both said they hit the fundraising threshold, but do not have the required number of polls to make the stage. Gabbard is one poll away from qualifying, but the congresswoman said she will not attend the debate even if she does qualify. Booker has no qualifying polls.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has two of the necessary four qualifying polls, but has not hit the fundraising threshold. No other candidate besides Bloomberg or Gabbard has any qualifying polls.