Andrew Yang’s offer from the Democrat debate stage last week to pay ten American families $1,000 a month for a year to showcase his universal basic income campaign promise has drawn almost a half a million email entries into the $120,000 lottery.
The offer also helped the 44-year-old long-shot presidential candidate collect $1 million in donations in the 72 hours following the debate, Yang’s campaign told Politico:
The campaign said that over 90 percent of the email addresses are new, a huge expansion of the candidate’s email list. He also gained more Twitter followers over the course of the debate than any other candidate.
While some rivals on the debate stage laughed and rolled their eyes at the ploy, Yang’s campaign sees the “Freedom Dividend Pilot Program” as an example of why their internet-first campaign has pushed them to sixth place in the crowded contest.
“We’ve got a 21st-century candidate and we’re running a 21st-century campaign,” Campaign Manager Zach Graumann said in the Politico report. “That’s something not many of our competitors can say.”
That $1 million represents more than one-third of the money Yang raised in the last quarter, Politico reported.
Yang said in his announcement on the debate stage that it was better to give his campaign money to American families than to spend it on political ads and consultants.
“When you donate money to a presidential campaign, what happens?” Yang asked in his opening statement at the debate. “The politician spends the money on TV ads and consultants, and you hope it works out. It’s time to trust ourselves more than our politicians.”
Yang has said that he addressed any legal considerations about the giveaway before making the announcement and that those questioning the move show how dysfunctional the system is.
“If I gave a million dollars to [a] media company or consultants or hired like a small army of canvassers no one would blink an eye, but if we give the money directly to the American people somehow that’s problematic,” Yang said. “So, it just speaks to how messed up our system is where giving money directly to Americans actually raises eyebrows.”
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