Andrew Yang announced that he is suspending his campaign on Tuesday.
Andrew Yang announced on Tuesday night that he is suspending his campaign. NANETTE KONIG / COURTESY ANDREW YANG CAMPAIGN

Andrew Yang is out.

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The long-shot presidential hopeful announced that he is suspending his campaign after disappointing results in New Hampshire.

"This is not an easy decision or something I made lightly with the team," he told his supporters. "Endings are hard in New Hampshire, but this is not an ending. This is a beginning. This is just the starting line. This campaign has awakened something fundamental in this country in this country and ourselves."

He's got a point. During his unexpectedly enduring bid for the nomination—a race in which he persisted past better known and more experienced candidates like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, and Beto O'Rourke—Yang was able to bring people into Democratic politics who often vote Republican or sit out of races. He polled well among Trump voters compared to the rest of the Democrats, and his message was one of unity rather than division.

As Van Jones tweeted after Yang made his announcement, "I love his POSITIVE populism. You don’t have to hate anyone to join #YangGang. It’s not broke folks against billionaires! Not white folks against immigrants! Not beer drinkers v wine drinkers! It’s HUMANS v these damned ROBOTS!!! Thanks, man!"

There's a lot of appeal in this message, and even if universal basic income, Yang's signature policy plan, is largely untested, I know a number of people who don't usually vote and yet started wearing Yang's signature "MATH" hats and preaching the gospel of UBI. These are people disillusioned by politics, and yet, thanks to Andrew Yang, they became passionate about this race. So where does the #YangGang go next?

I asked this question yesterday on Twitter after Yang made his announcement and the replies I got were mixed. One guy (and the #YangGang, from my observation, does tend to lean male) said in an email that he's a conservative who was "happy to cross party lines for the only normal, definitely-not-sociopathic person in the race." Now, he says, he's going to either vote Trump or write Yang in regardless of who's on the ballot.

I heard from a number of people like this. On its face, it doesn't make much sense. When it comes to personality, Yang has about as much in common with Trump as he does a T-rex. Yang is progressive, non-combative, friendly, and his whole message—"Humanity first"—stands in stark contrast to what Trump is preaching (Trump first, then Trump's children, then Trump's cronies, and then, maybe, the United States). But what Trump and Yang both have is outsider status, as do the only two candidates Yang supporters named as possible second-choices in response to my question: Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders.

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My survey, of course, is both unscientific and anecdotal, but I suspect the frequency at which these three names came up—Trump, Gabbard, and Sanders—is less about policy positions than it is about rejecting the DC establishment.

Of course, some of the Yang Gang will now sit out the election entirely. "What comes next for me is that I’m unlikely to vote in the primary or general," one Yang Gang member told me in an email. "The only good candidate in my lifetime has dropped out and my faith in our prospects as a country is very low."

Others are more hopeful: "The #YangGang isn't over," one #YangGang member said. "We'll be back in 2024."