No longer fringe, small-town voters fear democracy’s demise because they don’t believe they have a voice.
The last time Americans went to the polls, they elected Donald Trump as president and gave Democrats control of both houses of Congress. To many of us who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan or among the first generation of “white Americans” who left East Coast suburbs for the South Side of Chicago, we’re used to watching politics change from one party to the other. We’ve heard how things used to be—like when men were men, and women were people—and how they used to be in the past, when everyone voted the same way.
So when these voters tell me they’re not going to turn out at the polls again, I say, “You are in a democracy. You have a voice, and you cannot walk away from it.”
But I’m wrong. As more and more people lose faith in the democratic process and vote for Trump’s hand-picked candidates, I’m afraid that democracy’s future lies with those voters.
A look ahead to 2020
One of the most promising young Democrats trying to win the 2020 election is Andrew Yang, a 29-year-old entrepreneur who was born in Taiwan and raised in Queens. He’s one of the first of a new generation to see the world through a fresh lens, and his pitch for universal basic income (UBI), a government-funded monthly stipend to all citizens, has struck a chord with many Americans.
“The concept of just moving from a subsistence to a dignified life is a core principle of who we are as a country,” Yang says. His campaign also emphasizes that UBI is not just for the poor, but for anyone, especially those on the fringes of society.
It’s an ambitious goal to offer monthly checks to every adult American, though Yang also suggests a form of citizenship that would grant it over time to all who want it, and even to the undocumented.
This isn’t to say that Yang isn’t realistic and doesn’t understand that UBI appeals to different people and cultures than a traditional universal basic income (UBI) program, though