Welcome to Decoding the Vibe where I tell it like it really is as the first-in-the-nation primary parade of candidates comes to town. Join me behind the scenes where you might just find out what the candidate is really like.
PORTSMOUTH, NH – The last time I waited to meet up with a guy in a bar on a Friday night was probably 1992.
Last night, I waited for presidential candidate Andrew Yang at Portsmouth’s Gas Light Bar and I felt as young as I did in ‘92; I am tempted to join the Yang Gang.
Andrew Yang has been a CEO of several technology and educational companies, is a graduate of Phillips Exeter, Brown University and Columbia Law.
Like a lot of presidential candidates, his educational resume is stellar. But the vibe of Yang is something more; MATH smart. Baseball caps embroidered with MATH were abundant and reflect one of his campaign slogans, “Make America Think Harder.”
Yang is charged and smart, wore a subtle but trendy scarf and the vibe of the room reflected his persona: young, hip, educated. And while I am both hip and educated, those attracted to Yang were decades younger than I. Addie Condrun, 16, loves “his website and his honesty as well as his policy on UBI.” I had to ask her what UBI stood for, which is Universal Basic Income.
Addie takes three AP classes and drives from Massachusetts to see as many candidates as possible. “He’s my favorite – but I won’t turn 18 until two weeks after the election.”
UBI reflects Yang’s commitment to investment in humanity by providing $1,000 a month to everyone in America as universal income. When he asked the crowd what state already does this, I felt quite impressive knowing Alaska was the answer. Alaska gets its funding from oil and when I lived there in the 90s, I think of that dividend fondly; while both my husband and I were gainfully employed, it allowed a cushion, a bonus from those oil companies. I witnessed the benefits when I taught at East Anchorage High School; some saved, some spent, some traveled. No one complained and the economy benefited.
Yang explained the funding would come from tech companies like Amazon, who currently pay zero in corporate taxes.
Ben Longchamp, 20, a student from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, enthused after Yang’s stump speech, “I just finished a class on automation’s impact on the economy – I’m very impressed; Yang’s talking about things no one else is.”
Yang’s vibe is progressive, inclusive, and incredibly creative and smart. His enthusiasm is not divisive, rather, an enthusiasm to Make America Think Harder, not left, not right, but forward.
The vibe? Yang is one to watch. He’s outside the box in a way that, whew, really charged, really evoked amazing insight.
Make America Think Again. His vibe is hopeful, prepared and potentially amazing. I may have to get that hat and join the Yang Gang.
Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska, and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.