There is more decency and common sense in some of Yang’s paragraphs than I have come across in years of listening to politicians of either party. Hate fake news? Yang has proposed the creation of a “news and information ombudsman,” a kind of imperial fact-checker who would award media liars heavy fines instead of pinocchios. Ever wonder what we are going to do with all the abandoned shopping malls littered across the country? Check out the page for his American Mall Act.
One of the best things Yang has going for him other than his policies is his approach to naming things. Why call the outfit that will be in charge of infrastructure projects something lame like “the Department of Infrastructure” when it could be “the Legion of Builders and Destroyers,” complete with a “commander” instead of a secretary? Whatever you think of the wisdom of “universal basic income,” you have to admit that “freedom dividend” is a name for it that sounds a million times cooler.
It’s difficult to get a handle on what Yang’s constituency is. In theory, I think his appeal could be very wide ranging. He has the usual liberal views on most of the so-called social issues, but he seems not to talk about it much, which would suit purple-state Democrats — i.e., the people both parties actually need to win in 2020 — just fine.