By Christine Moukazis
On Tuesday, it was announced that tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang suspended his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election.
In the constant media cycle of political barrage, Yang has already become a distant memory for some. He now joins the likes of Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillbrand, Jay Inslee and Cory Booker in the already-crowded graveyard of presidential hopefuls where campaign dreams go to die.
Though his exploitation of Asian stereotypes is now just a fleeting memory, there is one thing I can’t seem to move on from. It happened toward the very end of Yang’s campaign and, if you blinked, you might have missed it, as the media seemed to gloss over it with the even bigger news of his campaign suspension just days later.
After Yang’s disappointing showing in the Iowa Caucus, where he earned 1% of the votes and zero delegates, his campaign laid off 130 of its staffers. However, that’s not even the bad part.
His staffers claimed to have been blindsided by the firings. The realization came when their emails proved to be no longer active.
“For a Democrat who is ‘all about the worker,’ he’s just talking the talk, no walking here,” one staffer said.
“‘Humanity first’ but no transparency or honesty with the layoff, period. They gave zero warning and just started deactivating people’s emails and Slack accounts.”
Yang always warned “the robots are taking our jobs,” but how he handled this situation was completely robotic—devoid of any feelings and transparency. An entrepreneur and someone with presidential aspirations should know—and do—better.
In his run for presidency, Yang’s entire platform was a promise to deliver Universal Basic Income, where the government would give $1,000 a month to every American over the age of 18.
He positioned himself as an advocate for the average American worker.
“There’s a big distinction between humans as humans and humans as workers. The former are indispensable. The latter may not be,” said Yang.
And he proved just that in how he treated his own staff.
Maybe M.A.T.H. should have stood for “Maybe A (Little) Transparency Here.”