Candidate Andrew Yang had a pretty solid debate performance last night. FiveThirtyEight pointed to a poll that found he had the largest favorability gain from the debate. And a debate coach who scored the candidates for CNN gave him an A for his performance:
I don’t grade on a lack of speaking time, since it’s not the candidate’s fault. I coach my teams to make fewer arguments than our competitors, but to make sure the positions we take are thorough and well-grounded.
That said, I dare you to find a bad answer from Andrew Yang in last night’s debate. Hint: You won’t. He scored an A from me every single time he spoke. I’ve never witnessed that before.
While it was well into the debate before Yang spoke, his answers about some of the threats to American society once again, brought new ideas to the debate stage. Artificial intelligence, which he’s mentioned in previous debates, is a future threat that must be taken seriously. And setting up something like a WTO (World Trade Organization) for data? His ingenuity was astounding. Bold ideas suit Yang well — and, when well thought out and pragmatic, they get high points in a debate.
White the debate coach was willing to overlook the lack of speaking time the candidate himself was pretty upset about it.
Yang, stopping by watch party: “it felt great … but then it felt like when the hell are they going to fucking call on me? The hypocrisy of MSNBC in a way just makes us stronger. I’m almost — almost grateful.” pic.twitter.com/GakQHtICxv
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) November 21, 2019
And he’s got a point. Yang got the least speaking time of anyone on the stage and only about half what the top three candidates received. Even Tulsi Gabbard commented on how little time Yang received (if you can’t see Yang, he’s down at the bottom with just under 7 minutes of talking time):
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) November 21, 2019
And it turns out this isn’t anything new. In fact, Yang has consistently received the least time in all five debates as you can see in this video illustrating the data. At the end of five debates, he’s more than 15 minutes behind Klobuchar who is 2nd to last. The top candidates have received more than double his time.
The tendency to leave Yang out has become a fixation for some of his supporters. UBI advocate Scott Santens has put together an entire thread going back months which shows the many times Yang has been left out of news graphics on polling and fundraising, especially by NBC. For example:
Today, Yang supporters even launched an #MSNBCFearsYang hashtag to highlight the issue.
🚨🚨🚨WE ARE LAUNCHING #MSNBCFearsYang RIGHT NOW🚨🚨🚨
At this point, it is safe to say this is election interference and MSNBC should be held accountable.
TREND #MSNBCFearsYang NOW SO THE WORLD KNOWS!
— Humanity For Yang 🧢 (@HumanityForYang) November 21, 2019
For the record, I’m not joining the Yang Gang but I do have friends that find him a refreshing change from some of the leading candidates. And regardless of what you think of him, it’s odd that the media seems to be intentionally, collectively shutting him out even while it gives substantial airtime to other low-polling candidates like Klobuchar and Booker.