How little-known Andrew Yang may end up on the 2020 debate stage by gaming the system

And yet, the self-proclaimed “entrepreneur who understands the economy” has somehow managed to get more than 47,000 individual donors to his campaign as of Wednesday night. It’s a figure that’s caught the attention of Democrats on other campaigns. But, more importantly, it’s one that places Yang close to a critical threshold. If that number rises to 65,000 over the next two months, he will qualify to participate in the first primary debate.

He’s already met one threshold—that his campaign have a minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states. And his team says he’s a lock to clear the other.

“100 percent. Hell will have to freeze over at this rate for us not to,” said Zach Graumann, Yang’s campaign manager. “We are averaging 1,500 donors a day. Not averaging, that is our baseline. And people don’t even know who he is yet.”…

The secret to Yang’s success is both remarkably simple and deeply reflective of how the internet has democratized national politics. He has built his campaign almost exclusively on the idea that America needs a universal basic income as more jobs are eliminated by automation and robotics. And people who are thrilled with the prospect of getting a $1,000 monthly check from the government—which Yang has dubbed the “Freedom Dividend”—have responded by giving to his campaign and creating memes about Yang and spreading them online.