“If you don’t like what’s being said, just change the conversation,” Don Draper Mad Men. This line from the television show Mad Men seems to be the overwhelming force that drives political discussion in this social-media obsessed world.
Andrew Yang has changed the conversation about his campaign with a bold statement that may or may not be legal. During the third Democratic Debate, Yang announced that his campaign would be giving away $120,000 of campaign funds to twelve Americans over the age of eighteen as a proof of concept for his planned UBI or Universal Basic Income. The bottom line for the UBI is that every American citizen over eighteen will receive $1000 from the government to do whatever he or she wishes with it. Current welfare recipients would get to choose between their current welfare situation or the UBI.
Yang’s bold announcement turned him from that businessman who would probably never win, and wasn’t even talked about to someone that is being talked about on the news, and having his ideas talked about. While Yang is having to defend his announcement, because many people think what he wants to do violates campaign finance laws, it doesn’t matter. He is personally wealthy enough to fund this scheme himself, and secondly, he is getting his name out there. Yang has changed the conversation from, “Who’s that Asian guy running for president?” to “What the hell is that Yang guy trying to do?”
At the end of the day, when you need to start a conversation about your candidacy, making large promises are ways to get yourself noticed.