Opinion | #StillVotingYang doesn’t help anyone


Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Andrew Yang speaking at an event in Des Moines, Iowa on Aug. 10.

By Rylee Smith, Columnist

The pool of Democratic candidates for president is dwindling as the primaries continue to get underway. At the beginning of the race, there were about 30 major candidates, and the number has since dropped. Andrew Yang joined the more than 20 candidates to drop out of the race in mid-February.

The suspension of his campaign has sparked a response among many Yang supporters who are showing their loyalty to the entrepreneur by making the hashtag, #StillVotingYang, trend nationally. With the use of the hashtag, Yang fans are voicing their intent to vote for him in the primaries even though his name will no longer appear on the ballot. 

To vote for a write-in candidate, especially one with such meager support as Yang, is pointless. Yang received only 1% of the vote in the Iowa Democratic caucus, and 2.8% in the New Hampshire primary. Yang suspended his campaign because he was aware there was no chance of him winning. If he had a chance, he surely would not have dropped out of the race.

The effect of writing in a candidate is negligible. If Yang’s campaign didn’t have sufficient support to continue to function, then a smattering of write-in votes will do nothing to change the chances of his election.

And while some may think it a healthy exercise of political expression, they may not understand just how weak that expression is. Writing in a candidate is not just a surefire way to waste a vote, but each state has a vastly different way to go through with the process. A majority of the time, write-in votes are just cast into an ‘other’ category and do not directly support the candidate that the vote was intended to support. So not only is the voter not really supporting their intended candidate in the first place, but any “political expression” they hope will be heard by others will be muddled.

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This isn’t to say Andrew Yang did not make a significant contribution to the political discourse surrounding this election cycle. Yang has sparked a lot of hope in many Americans for a better future. He brought the idea of a universal basic income to the debate stage, and the presence of an Asian-American man among the Democratic candidates for president means a lot. Despite all of this, his time has come to an end. It is time to accept it and look toward an actionable and substantive next step.

The clearest way to support Yang’s ideals without wasting your vote is simple: vote blue. 

Yang supporters need to remain loyal not just to their candidate, but to the party in the upcoming general election. It is the only real remaining way to support Yang.

A vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is would support Andrew Yang’s vision for America. Any of the current candidates’ values are more similar to Yang’s than to President Trump’s views. 

A common trend among voters of many political stripes is a sense of urgency in removing Trump from office. Voters need to stand behind a candidate who has a strong enough following to ultimately accomplish this goal and not continue to waste their support on a candidate whose time has passed. Do not refuse to vote only because it is not the candidate you wanted initially; every vote counts.

Sanders is the lead Democratic candidate at the moment, so why not support the front-runner of the primaries? Yang and Sanders share very similar views on many of the popular policies this year, including a federal minimum wage and a progressive tax policy.

While Yang supporters may never stop professing their undying love for the ex-candidate on Twitter, no matter their reasoning behind their support, #StillVotingYang is not helping anyone. Continue to support Yang and his vision for America not by writing in his name on the ballot, but by making the decision to vote for a candidate with enough support behind them to get elected. Make your vote count.

Rylee is a freshman in LAS.

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