Andrew Yang (00:00):
Hi, I'm Andrew Yang. This is Compassionate Las Vegas, the podcast.
Will Rucker (00:27):
Welcome to Compassionate Las Vegas, the podcast I'm Will Rucker. And today we've got a very special guest in our political season, which who would've thought we'd talk about politics here, Right? So I'd like to welcome Andrew Yang. Hello.
Andrew Yang (00:42):
Hey, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Will Rucker (00:44):
So glad that you're here. I'm, I'm truly honored. And when I say I'm honored, I don't like just say that cuz you know, I'm supposed to. I mean
Andrew Yang (00:51):
It. Oh, wow. That's so kind. I, I'm thrilled to be here. One, to support your campaign will needs to get into the Nevada State Assembly where you can do the people's work. And, and two just thrilled to be able to sit and discuss these issues with a leader who wants to help people and promote compassion solutions. I know that that's one of the things that we're gonna talk about. Yeah.
Will Rucker (01:18):
So dive right in. And this is the hardest question I promise of the entire show. And it's simply how do you define compassion?
Andrew Yang (01:28):
Compassion is genuinely feeling someone else's pain or struggle. And having that influence your behavior or attitude.
Will Rucker (01:42):
I like that. Cause that brings in the empathetic piece as well as then the action piece, which I think is so important.
Andrew Yang (01:48):
Yeah. I, I get frustrated when people restrain their, their empathy to inaction, , shall we say, or faux action, which right now takes the form of social media. It's like, Hey, if I liked or hearted or retweeted that, then I did my job. Meanwhile, you know, some someone's life is not gonna be improved by that. Yeah,
Will Rucker (02:12):
Absolutely. And social media has been of course, you know, anything that you're trying to promote, it's, it's one of those necessary evils, so to speak Yeah. Where you have to engage, but it's so polarizing.
Andrew Yang (02:24):
Yeah. It, it's I, I say all the time that social media is pouring gasoline on on various fires that are being started in, in our public discourse, where first you have political incentives that drive you towards corners and particular directions, which is one thing the forward party is trying to remedy. Then second year media organizations that enjoy separating us into camps. And then you have social media exacerbating the, the entire thing and separating us into a thousand or a million different camps. So it, it's gonna be tough to, to bring us back together. It's one reason why candidates like you are so important in my, my opinion, because it's very, very difficult for someone to spend five seconds with you and be like, Oh, this guy, you know, , like, this guy just wants the, the clout or like the authority, You know what I mean? Anyone who spends any time with you is like, Okay. Like, like I may or may not agree with everything that will's about, but I certainly, since he's he's positively intended and he's a person of faith.
Will Rucker (03:30):
Yeah. Let's talk about those intentions for a bit, because with the Fort Party, one of the things that you have constantly had to battle against is you're just really promoting yourself. You ran for president and then ran for mayor, and now you have a party. And so people are like, Well, what's the real motive? And I don't just mean like conservatives, it's conservatives, liberals, , everyone's kind of coming. How do you balance just navigating that and, and staying true with your true intention?
Andrew Yang (03:57):
You know, what's, what's a really odd critique is that it's actually about a thousand times easier to promote yourself as part of one of the two major parties. You know what I mean? There's like this giant apparatus built in and a lot of energy and press, and you raise your hand and do that. Then people are like, Okay, I get this. And we're seeing folks, including folks I know who are getting distorted or shaping themselves because they're running in one party or another. And then they're saying all these things. I'm like, I don't think you really believe that. But, but that is where the energy is. Mm-Hmm. . So someone saying, Hey, you're starting this new thing because , you know, like you want the shine. It's like you have these billion dollar parties and apparatuses you know, bestowing that upon people. Like we're trying to build an alternative because it's what the country needs. It's what people want. And, and we're trying to reconnect this bond between people and their representatives, which right now is, is fractured and attenuated for a bunch of reasons.
Will Rucker (04:56):
Yeah. So the way I view this party, and please tell me if, if you view it differently, is we are kind of the tip of the spear, and then we've gotta just get everybody else to kind of come along. Because what you're, you're doing is really saying, Let's collaborate. Let's do the things that make sense to the most of us. Which of course scares progressives cuz they, they hear moderate and think status quo and it scares the conservatives cause they're like, We don't want change. So do you see the party as kind of that tip of the sphere? Or are we past that? Are we, we more forward than I I would say
Andrew Yang (05:31):
No. I, I, I think your, your perception is spot on. Where, where we're this vanguard and I ran for office on some pretty bold policies. And so I, I think there's this misconception that you necessarily that being moderate in tone or approach or collegial or conciliatory, maybe we all come together and we decide we wanna do something really big. You know what I mean? Like, just like the, the fact is right now, nothing big is gonna get done in this current system because you don't get rewarded for doing anything big. And so if you reform, I'm still about the same things I was about when I was running for, for president including Dr. King's vision against poverty. And I mean, he was also against racism and war which I'd also love to, you know, like remedy, but poverty struck me as the easiest very quickly.
Andrew Yang (06:31):
Oh yeah. Because poverty, I mean, there's a, there's a solution to poverty, just, you know, okay, put a certain amount of money in people's hands and then, you know, you've pretty much done it. And I, you know, look, looking at our society, so I, I ran for president on that idea and I still will think that we should be striving for big, bold solutions like that. But I've concluded that our current political system will never deliver anything like that. And so if you were to refashion our political system where it listened to most of us, then all sorts of things could be on the table. And I don't know if, if that falls un until like this moderate centrist critique. I, I'm, I'm sympathetic, so here, here it is. You know, it's like I I was a democrat for a long time.
Andrew Yang (07:20):
I ran on this anti-poverty platform and I thought that people on the far left would be like, Okay, like, I'm totally into this because you know, this is even like further than Bernie was willing to go. You know what I mean? But that, that was not the response because it was just something new and different. And, and what I, I came to realize over time was that unfortunately we're having increasingly abstract ideological conversations that are independent of what it would mean to people in real life, maybe because we don't even think anything's, these things are gonna happen in real life. , you know, like I'll argue for, you know and by, by the way, something I'm, I'm you know, I campaign on as well, it's like, I think we should have universal healthcare in this country. But, but there are so many structural impediments to having something like like universal healthcare that I, I would end up I I would pose the, the fact that again you know, you, we need to reform our political system if we're going to be able to de deliver on certain things.
Andrew Yang (08:21):
So there are, there are different reasons why people are going to come to this this conciliatory space, this compassionate space. And we may have wildly divergent policy views but we should come together and say, Look, the, the status quo is gonna deliver as what antagonism, hatred, ruin, dysfunction regardless of where you are on this generally fabricated left right ideological spectrum, like you look at it and be like, Look like we're all gonna lose in this world, so let's try and fix this. And then if we can have intelligent principle discussions about what we really wanna do, then I might not get everything I want, but I'm still gonna be in a better place than I am now. Especially if you are one of the vast majority of Americans who feels like you're on the outside looking in, when I say it's like, it's not left versus right. It's not like this other set of Americans your enemy, It's, it's those of us on the outside looking in versus those who are kind of at the, the few levers of the, the machinery on the inside. And the outsiders at this point are the alienated or the marginalized or like the left behind, I mean, must outnumber the insiders at this point. What tend to one at
Will Rucker (09:36):
Andrew Yang (09:37):
You know, like, so something very dramatic. And so when you raise your hand and you're like, Yeah, I don't think the system's working so well for me, they'll be like, you know, who, who's to blame those people over there who are not like you when they disagree with you on this or that, And you're like, I'm not sure that's . I dunno if that's my problem. It is one of the reason why I'm so pumped about the opportunity here in Nevada to, to move away from party primaries because the, the party primaries end up setting you up in the this like, Hey, it's like this, this tribal conflict, and there are these two tribes, and like, you're gonna be in one tribe or the other, and then we're gonna like g and, and, and, and the darkest thing is when you go to them be like, Hey, we'd like to change the system. It turns out the people in those tribes like, like it this way. Yeah. ,
Will Rucker (10:18):
Let's talk the right choice in just a minute, but before we get there, healthcare, you mentioned you were for universal healthcare, universal basic income. I think that all of those are moderate ideas. I think that everyone having a college education in the year 2022 is a moderate idea. Why do you think that the political parties on both sides have failed to produce what the majority of people want?
Andrew Yang (10:46):
Yeah. And, and the, the systems has been lagging behind for, for years and years and years. There's been a corruption of the American political system and it's taken place over I would say about 40 years. You know start in the eighties in my opinion. There were intellectual underpinnings to it. There, there was this school of thought out of some of the business schools around how like shareholder values the only measurement for, for business success. And then that ended up permeating different pockets of American life, including the culture and the government. I used to joke about how universal basic income seemed far out when I was running for president on it, but it was a very mainstream idea during the sixties. And then today it just seems far out because we've gotten so far outta whack like, like that, that the almighty dollar kind of got ahold of things and started dominating progress, like more and more of, of our society starting around 1980 or so.
Andrew Yang (11:50):
I don't know why I, So, you know, why 1980s in, in my mind as like, when all this stuff went down is because there are because I, I've looked at the curves of of the American standard of living mm-hmm. and the difference between productivity and income. So up until around the late 1970s, those curves were like more or less lined up where like American productivity and American standard of living were going up at the same rate. And then starting in around 1980 like productivity kept going up, and then standard of living started to plateau where we, we weren't making any more money essentially since the, the eighties for like the average American by the way, then we jacked up the costs of the healthcare education and housing, and that's why Americans are so off and and distraught the American dream, which my family came to this country for, is just that your kids are gonna do better than you. And today most of our kids aren't gonna do better than us. And it's everyone off. And you're looking up being like, Well, like, what the hell happened? And, and then the political figures again will be like nothing to see here. Like, you know, who's to blame? Like those guys , and you're like, Wait a minute. Like, like, shouldn't this be an everyone problem? You know, whether you're a rural white family in a red state or you know, like a, a black family in a blue city. Yeah.
Will Rucker (13:15):
The, the parties are a challenge. And as a Democrat, I can say that from the inside and say that even though we are, I'm doing air quotes for those listening one party, We're not one party. We don't all think the same. We're not a monolith. There are a variety of ideas and approaches within even the Democratic party, but what I think unites us is value what we believe in, not necessarily how we get there, but what we believe in, I think is a unifying factor for those that would say, having multiple parties dilutes something like the Democratic Party. Cuz we are such a big tent and empowers radical conservatives. How would you address that issue?
Andrew Yang (13:56):
You know, I, I, I feel like the standard for the Democratic party and for a political system generally would just be how are people, families, and communities doing? And so I, if you make the argument that look like the current mechanics are working great for people, families, and communities then I would respectfully disagree and say like, it seems like people, families and communities are not like, you know prioritized in, in this political system. And, and that should be the entire goal of the political system. Like the goal of the political system should not be any one party or another. The purpose of our politics is not our parties. The purpose of our politics is whether our kids are gonna live better lives than, than we are. And, and so if, let's say hypothetically we were all in a world where we were confident our kids were gonna live better lives than, than we are, and the Democratic party was like, Hey, look, we did that.
Andrew Yang (14:50):
Then I, I would look up and be like, Yeah, okay, cool. But, but instead we're not in that world , we're in a world where like, where like reasonable people are looking up very, very anxious and terrified about the future. Their kids are inheriting problems, get worse, not better. And the, the Democratic party isn't really tied to the, the, the fortunes of the Democratic party are not tied to ours like that. That's the fundamental disconnect that has to be remedied. And in, in my view, the best way to like, there, you know like I vastly prefer a good person in office to someone who's less good mm-hmm. . But we, we should know that we're past a point now where if I get a good person into a particular seat, that all will be well, You know, like there have been good people in various good seats and like the reality is degraded.
Andrew Yang (15:49):
And then people are getting more and more frustrated and off. And, and, and so if someone says like, Hey, Andrew, which obviously I have heard is like, Hey, Andrew, like, you know, like, you were team D and now you're not team D and like, you know, like, it, like, you know, I don't like that. Then I'll be like, look like I'm doing what I think is best for American families and, and communities. And if you make it so that like, that someone like me has less to do great , you know what I mean? Like, if the, if anyone like, you know, like Democratic party or, or whomever starts going around improving people's lives and solving, solving problems, I'm all for it.
Will Rucker (16:32):
Yeah. What I hear in this is you have a long range view and it's fueled by hope, not fear. And for me, one of the things I would seek to do with this podcast is really amplify hope and give people a reason to believe that things are possible again. And I think there are a lot of people who have lost hope and are so disenfranchised that they don't think better is possible. And so different is very scary. And so I wanna talk about rank choice voting, because it's been such an issue and we're, we're at the tail end of the election, and quite a few folks have already voted. So, you know, we're talking to the folks that are, are really either on the fence or just, you know, had obstacles to keep 'em from voting. But one of the arguments a against rank choice voting, is that it doesn't fundamentally change the issue which many people see as the undue influence of finance in politics. What do you think about that?
Andrew Yang (17:29):
Oh I, I would agree that money in politics is a massive problem. And I wouldn't, I wouldn't suggest rank choice voting is gonna fix it. I think that we should be trying to fix different problems in different ways. But I, I do think that ranked choice voting would open up the system so that, let's say that I was someone actually, I'll use myself, let's say I was like someone from another party showed up and be like, Hey guys, I want to give everyone money like that. That's, that's my big idea. And, and you rank choice voting, then different people can say, Well, you know what? Like, I'm going to take a chance on that candidate or that party and then rank, let's say Democrat second, so that there isn't any harm done to the party that like I've been traditionally supporting.
Andrew Yang (18:18):
That, that strikes me as a win. And that doesn't solve the, the fact that we have way too much money in politics, but you can imagine new entrants that are scrappier and don't have a whole lot of money actually getting some headway in traction in a system where people are allowed to vote however they like, without fearing they're gonna waste their vote because like, no one wants to waste their vote. Like, like, you know, it's like if you think this candidate has zero chance, you're like, ah, like voting for that candidate doesn't seem very wise. But if I can vote for that candidate and then just rank the more traditional candidate, I think is gonna win second, and just know that no harm was done then that should be good for people and parties with less resources.
Will Rucker (19:01):
Yeah, I, I mean, I see it that way. I certainly do, and I'm one of those people that believes in voting my values. And what I have seen is sometimes it's a choice between voting your values and knowing you're gonna lose or kind of voting for the lesser of two horrible outcomes.
Andrew Yang (19:19):
Well, yeah, I mean, these systems have set us up and pit us against each other in a way that's really false and unfair to us. Mm-Hmm. , it's like what, what you're saying in a lot of situations, it's like, okay, look there there are folks you don't like you don't want them to win, so we're gonna give this other option that you find more acceptable. And that's, that's the entire ball game. And then if you say, Look, maybe I'd like to be able to vote my values and not increase the chances of people, I don't want to, to win winning. So let's just implement that system, rank choice, voting. People will be against it not for any good principled reason, but just for the simplest, most straightforward reason, which is like, they, they like things in a way that they can control.
Andrew Yang (20:02):
You know, it's like if you look at the, the objections to rank choice voting, they, they just seem so disingenuous. Like, I just wish someone would raise their hand and be like, Hey, we don't like this. Because it would make things less controllable and predictable for us, like whoever us is. Cuz that's the truth of it. Like, but but what is the actual, like, you know, what, what's like the stuff they present too confusing, like too obtrusive, not ready. I mean, like, this stuff is, is stupid, really. I mean, like I I, I'm a parent, I've got a 10 year old, a seven year old, they can rank their preferences one, two, and three. If I go into like a McDonald's and be like, Hey guys, like, what do you want ? You know, like that they, they can sort through candidates that might have different letters next to their name, you know, like that, that this is, so saying that that's too much of a hurdle for voters is really just, you know, it's not honest, you know.
Andrew Yang (20:56):
And, and also as a numbers guy too, I mean, rank choice voting's been used in New York where I'm, I'm where I live, and 80 88% of New Yorkers found it simple to use. And so one of my jokes is like 88% of New Yorkers like a hundred percent anywhere else, or you know, it's like, or you know, I mean, I think it was around the same percentage of Alaskans. So like saying this stuff's complicated is like, it's really weird because it's like, wait a minute, you know, like nine outta 10 folks in these other places found it easy to use. And even the one outta 10 that didn't find it easy to use, like figured it out . You know what I mean? It's not like they, they just like got discombobulated and like ran out and didn't like fill out a freaking candidate. I mean, you could fill out one candidate and, and just ranked someone's first, and, and that's all you do. And it's fine.
Will Rucker (21:46):
I, my mom is, is here and she loves to tell people about me as a child. And when I was a child for my Christmas lift, I actually Christmas list, I actually did the rank choice thing. I was like, this is what I really want, but if you don't get me this, then I want these two things. That's good. And if you don't get me these, then I want all of this. You're
Andrew Yang (22:04):
Ahead of your time. Yeah.
Will Rucker (22:05):
You know, so
Andrew Yang (22:06):
Also major life made major mom's life easier, .
Will Rucker (22:10):
Well, I, I ended up usually getting everything. So I think that was the easier part.
Andrew Yang (22:15):
Wow. Some, some good, good mothering
Will Rucker (22:20):
With that, I wanna talk about consciousness because I think that's really the idea of change is one that I, is one that is hard for people to embrace. It's the saying that everybody wants change, but nobody wants to change. And so is our consciousness as a society ready to do things differently. And here's kind of what I mean, We're comfortable with the two party system. We've, we've experienced that, we've had that comfortable with capitalism, and we think that that's, even though most people define it completely incorrectly, and most people are not capitalists, but that's a whole nother podcast. Even though that's the case, they're comfortable with it, they're familiar with it. Are we involved enough in our consciousness to evolve?
Andrew Yang (23:06):
Yeah. I, in, in many ways, that's the threshold question, isn't it? And for people who become anxious and insecure and and fearful, and then if you present change, they're like, Oh, you know, like, it's gonna be worse. Like, I, I get it because we have been eroding your confidence in our ability to evolve positively, probably, you know, for years and years . And so then if someone shows up and it's like, Hey, it's evolution time, they'd be like, Oh, I don't believe we can do it. And you're like, Oh. It's like, yeah, you might, you might have a point. But but in my view, we don't have a choice but to try to bring people in that direction because things will not stay the same, even if you'd like them too. Like, things are gonna get worse or better, and in, and in many cases, things are getting worse, not better.
Andrew Yang (23:53):
And so then your only choice then is to be like, Okay, let's make things better. And then you have to get enough people to have their heads up and have mindset of compassion and hope and abundance and optimism and possibility. I mean, my, my I think my value add in many ways is that I can see things that are possible and then let other people know. It's like, Hey, we actually can do these things. We can do better. And I've lived versions of it myself. I mean, you know, I was like the child of immigrants. My parents came here and like I was just told, get good grades and get a good job and the rest of it. And then I started a company and it failed. And then I, I, you know, got up and tried again, and then ended up doing a whole set of really unlikely things in like a relatively compressed period of time.
Andrew Yang (24:45):
I mean, heck, I ran for president of the United States as a as a nobody. Raised $40 million, made seven presidential debates, outcompeted, gosh, a dozen political brand names, mainstreamed an idea that most people thought was far out initially, but now a majority of Americans are four. And now when you look at our two party system, like we need the same kind of like evolutionary energy and mindset being like, Look, guys, like you can do a holding action on the way like to, to ruin, which is by the way, where we are right now, . Or we can actually try to do things differently and better adopt processes that will make us more accountable. And representative elect folks like you who don't wanna just like, you know, bang the party drum and, and will work with anyone who wants to do good.
Andrew Yang (25:40):
And in your, your values driven, you'll try and be universal and not parochial, you know? I mean, I think so like I've run for office a couple of times. I, I've supported dozens, hundreds of people who've run. And most of the people that I've supported have been really well intended exceptional humans. And many of them have not won their races. And, and, and so you see that there's like this, like, you, you imagine that there's this like correlation. It's like, Oh, this good person's doing the right things, like they should win. And, and then that's not the way it shakes out, like in a lot of these instances. And, and so you start also, frankly, some really not so great people sometimes win . Like I've, I've seen that too. And you still have hope that that there's this mindset of optimism that can help win the day and make it so that more positive outcomes happen.
Andrew Yang (26:47):
Because I think that that's the struggle the country's undergoing right now, is that you have pessimism versus optimism or like anxiety and fear versus versus generosity and compassion. And, and I would say right now the negative forces have an edge or are winning for a whole host of reasons. And that's scary. But the, the fear, if anything, it should embolden us because you're at a point now where you're going to experience change in some way and you, you can experience positive change very, very quickly just as you can experience a negative change quickly.
Will Rucker (27:29):
Yeah. What's the one big lesson you took away from your presidential rhyme?
Andrew Yang (27:35):
That I married? Well, still married. No, the, so, so this is going to, to sound, this is, is maybe a little bit specific. But I, I've learned of the importance that the media has in certain contexts, like a presidential primary where most voters are taking their cues from certain media orgs and the, these media orgs sometimes don't play it straight. You know what I mean? I mean, that, that's one of the things that, like, I, I went in with a higher degree of faith than I came out.
Will Rucker (28:17):
I I can totally see that. I've watched some of your interviews online and I'm like, Are you serious right now? Like, are you really asking him that question right now? And it's frustrating for me because I've been, I've been asking questions a long time, you know, I've been, I've been asking them really my whole life, and I ask with curiosity. But what I see in, in the media in which amplifies some of this extremist conspiracy theory driven energy is that it is disingenuous, but the media really is trying to pigeonhole you into a position that's not yours. I did a radio interview this week and the host asked me, What's the one thing you're gonna do when you get in office? And I'm like, That's a great question. I'm one voice out of 42 and it has to go through the Senate and to the governor, so I can't promise you anything. But that doesn't make for good radio. And so I, I can bring my character, I can bring the way that I think about problems, but I can't promise you that if you elect me, I'm going to get better schools. I'm gonna try, but I'm one of 42. And there are systems in place that are actively against changing the way things are. So I guess I see all that to say I prefer podcasts. Cuz you can talk a little longer.
Andrew Yang (29:32):
Yeah, yeah. It's so the, the media definitely ends up trying to drive ratings and, and energy in a particular way. I, Cable news is maybe the worst medium. Podcasts are much better. Radio is somewhere in between. But it, it's one reason why I value what you're doing here with your compassion in Las Vegas podcast is because you recognized very quickly that you need to have like a, a way that you can get your message out in a way that's genuine and have conversations with people in a human way that actually let, lets people get a sense for themselves.
Will Rucker (30:13):
Yeah. All right. So I wanna switch directions for a bit as we, we wrap up our time together. I wanna know what you're listening to. What music is keeping you going these days?
Andrew Yang (30:22):
No, it's weird. As I've become a bit more of a fuddyduddy, I have found myself listening more to eighties music. Because like, there was a long period when I was like moderately current, and then I, then I was not current anymore. And so then I just have like recalibrated and been like, Oh, let me just listen to the, the stuff I grew up with. ,
Will Rucker (30:44):
Nothing wrong with eighties music.
Andrew Yang (30:46):
Yeah. There is nothing wrong with eighties music. I'll fight anyone who says there's something wrong with it. I was about to say it's the best decade of music. I don't know if that's true. Is it weight, weight, best decade of music? Okay. I'd put the eighties above the nineties and the two thousands. So yeah, I guess since eighties ,
Will Rucker (31:03):
So eighties, you had Tina Turner, you had Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince,
Andrew Yang (31:09):
Prince, maybe the greatest of all time. The,
Will Rucker (31:11):
The list just goes on and on. So, eighties is a hard decade to beat. I,
Andrew Yang (31:14):
You know, so I, yeah, it's like . I'll tell one of like, so when I was running for president, I got to meet some like rock stars that I idolized as a kid, and I'm just like, Oh my gosh. Like this. And, and, and they, you know, like knew who I was cuz I was running for president and all that stuff. And I was like, , so
Will Rucker (31:34):
Not a bad perk,
Andrew Yang (31:35):
Right? So I had a, yeah, I mean, you know yeah, I mean it was like, I, it was one of the, some of the only times I fanboyed out you know, but I was talking to someone who was friends with Prince before he passed. It was like, Oh, Prince would've really loved you. And then I thought to myself, it's like, I might have met Prince maybe. So like, I, you know, I loved Prince. He was a genius. I saw him concert any number of times, but like, I would never imagine myself meeting him as like a, you know, like a, you know, in a social context. So anyway, like I was a missed the, you know, rest and Peace Prince.
Will Rucker (32:11):
Yeah. I would've liked to meet him too. I did get to see him live as well, so that
Andrew Yang (32:15):
Nice. Where were, where did you see him? Detroit,
Will Rucker (32:17):
Michigan. Oh, really? Yeah. At, at one of the big stadiums that we have there. It, no, I took that at a theater Fox Theater in Detroit.
Andrew Yang (32:25):
Yeah. He played very small venues and big venues as wild. I, I saw him in some very, very small clubs and it was where he would just go and like, mess around. Mm-Hmm. .
Will Rucker (32:35):
He was a real musician. Like he
Andrew Yang (32:37):
Was a real big musician.
Will Rucker (32:38):
The craft was it for him. So. Alright. What about books? What book would you recommend that folks read?
Andrew Yang (32:44):
Right now I'm, I tend to read a lot of books about democracy. So so I, I, you know, this is gonna be self emotional, but I, I did write a book about my presidential campaign and what I learned and figured out and why I think we need to have a different approach to party politics called Forward notes in the future of our democracy. And, and I, for people who are concerned about democracy, like I'm concerned too, I might be concerned for slightly different reasons than, than others are, but it's, we're we're really in a very, very precarious time. So in addition to, to to that, that suggestion another book that I read recently I was very excited about, tell you, you know, there, there's a book, This is gonna be very, very wonky, but it it, I read a book called The Politics Industry that really affected me. And, and it, it talks about how the incentives in our system drive decision makers a certain way.
Will Rucker (33:38):
Yeah. Just one quick deviation on that. Yeah. Incentives. When you change the incentives, the behavior changes. I don't know why that seems to be a hard concept seriously for people to get, but like, if you change that, things change. So anyway, back to you. Yeah, yeah,
Andrew Yang (33:52):
Yeah. No, and that, that's, it's like people, I, it, it drives me nuts when people are like, just go on on TV or whatever and be like, Hey like let, let's let, let's be moderate, let's get along when all the incentives are to be a nut case. Mm-Hmm. , you know what I mean? Like, if I'm a nut case, I, I get energy, I get money, I get votes, I get all this stuff, particularly, frankly, on one side, like, you know, you know that side. And so those incentives are just compounding and getting stronger. And so if you want things to get better and then change the freaking incentives you know, like where you changed the incentives in Alaska, and look what happened. Sarah Palin loses in a race that she would've won in a conventional process. Lisa Murkowski only Republican senator who voted to impeach Donald Trump, who was up for reelection Republicans in Alaska, her approval rating went down to 6%.
Andrew Yang (34:45):
And yet she somehow got through the primaries. You know why? Because anyone could vote in that primary. If it was just a Republican primary, there's no way she's coming back. Oh, by the way, if there was a Republican primary, she probably would not have voted to impeach Trump because of incentives. You know, you look around at these other political figures, if you expect someone to do something that's professionally career ending, like you're gonna be waiting for a long time. You know, so like, what, what you should do is be like, let, let's make it so that you actually get rewarded for doing the right things, expecting someone to do the right things when they're getting rewarded for doing the wrong things, It's just unintelligent. Yeah.
Will Rucker (35:20):
And you, you picked up on something that I, I hadn't connected, which is if she hadn't had the rank choice system, then having to face that primary in a traditional way would've discouraged her from doing the right thing.
Andrew Yang (35:33):
So I heard that half a dozen Republican senators have gone up to Lisa Murkowski and said, I envy you so much that you don't have to deal with the primary. Now can they say that out loud? Of course not. Because the Republicans at that party be like, Oh, you're like, you don't like us . But they're, they're a bunch of Republican senators that are like, Oh my gosh, if I, I could just be free of that, that primary I might like, I, I too might have voted to impeach Trump or whatnot because, you know, like a critical mass of those Republican senators freaking like, you know, can't stand Trump. But then they'll just like fall in line, which is the path to ruin in this country. You know, you have people who are, are going to be rewarded. And so one of the most dark examples, and this is something here, people here might not know about.
Andrew Yang (36:21):
So Mike Lee in Utah, who's running against Evan McMullen, Mike Lee was an anti-Trump who voted for Evan McMullen in 2016 as a protest against Trump being like, Trump is not my, my guy. And then fast forward now, he's like, Trump endorsed texting with Mark beads in January sakes being like you know, it's like now I'm Trump's guy. So he went, he just like flipped completely from being a never Trumper to to Trump accolade and the stooge. And, and so now he's running against Evan McMullin, the guy he voted for in the presidential election in 2016. And Evan McMullin's like, Dude, you voted for me . And now you're like, you know, a Trumper. And you know why? Because Mike Lee figured out that's where his bread is buttered. That's like, look, you know, like the, the Republicans in Utah will be down for Trump.
Andrew Yang (37:07):
So I guess I'll be down for Trump too. You know, like, it, it's it, it, it's saddening to see many political figures kind of just go where like, like their, they're base is going. But I, I know people who are running in in that party who are saying things, it's like, there's no way they believe that, but that, but that they are competing. And on some level you have to say, Well, it's like, look, if I want these people to, to seem more reasonable, I have to change the system they're in.
Will Rucker (37:38):
Yeah. If we look at our ballot question here, Yes. On three, the, there are several organizations that have just left that off of their cards, you know, vote for all of these candidates, Vote for this vote yes on one vote, yes on two, and then as if three doesn't exist, which I respect that they didn't just say no. But I also am like, but you actually support this and so why wouldn't you tell your base?
Andrew Yang (38:02):
It's cuz of fear. Because it's like, Oh man, do I really want to go against like the party establishment and you know, like get someone mad at me. I mean, like, it's one of the things too, when I left the Democratic party like I was shocked at how much yeah. You know, like people would close ranks, you know, like people that I considered myself to be very, very cool with. I'm still cool with some of them, but like some of them you, you could tell. Or just like uhoh. And, and so there, there's a lot of fear. And I, I think that that's really bad for all of us, that, that if, if folks can't express their support for this ballot initiative, cuz they're like afraid of like someone off. I like it, it it, I'll rewind to something, you know, during the pandemic I went on CNN was talking about how like, you know, they should pass a relief bill at a time when 80% of Americans wanted a relief bill, like in, in late 2020.
Andrew Yang (39:04):
And like I I, it turns out that like you were not allowed to criticize the Democrats in action on on that bill. And Nancy Pelosi at that time, like was holding it hostage and you know, like only she knows why. But you know, like the anchor was like, Hey, what do you think? And I just said, honestly, I was like, I was like, honestly, like this just freaking passes Bill. I mean like the hold up is and there there was this need to correct me that I was just like, like I, I thought it was mind blowing where you can, anyone who wants to look at stuff, they can Nancy Pelosi went on that show the next week to sort of to to, to like correct me. Wow. yeah. So it, you're just like, like people can't express their opinion. Like what, what the heck's going on? Like, you know, like that that, that was wild. And by the way, her, her like correcting me was not a confidence inspiring performance and ended up, you know, you can also look that up , it was
Will Rucker (40:09):
All right, so if you had a magic wand and you could do anything in the world, and it's not passing rank choice, voting aside from that, what would that thing be?
Andrew Yang (40:19):
I mean, it, it would be massive poverty relief. I mean, like, you know, we, we end up winning ourselves as a parent too. Like, you invest in kids, like you'll get returns back many times over the child tax credit showed that you look at health productivity, mental health, education outcomes, like all of it. Like, we'll, we'll get it all back. If, if you are a company and I've run organizations and you invest in people like you win it, it is just in our political system that that's seen as a pure cost and a waste, and it's really dark, it's very dehumanizing. You know, it's like any good company invests in its people. Any good country or society that wants to like flourish, invest in its people. Here, you know, and this too, this is one of my beefs with the Democratic party.
Andrew Yang (41:11):
It's like the Democratic Party does not want to invest in people. It wants to invest in systems. It wants to invest in bureaucracies. You know, like as a parent parents might be able to relate to this. Like two-thirds of our kids' outcome is determined outside of the school. It's like what's happening in the home like, you know, words read to the kid, levels of stress in the household, nutrition, like any of a bunch of things. And, and so when you say to to folks like, I wanna help kids learn, the best thing we could do is just put resources into the household and the kid would have a much better chance to learn. But the, the, but for whatever reason, like, that's not the way we think in our systems today. And, and, and that's what my, my big problem is with our current political approach is that what happens to people and families isn't the measuring stick.
Andrew Yang (41:59):
I mean, the child tax credit that was passed nationally and people who are watching this, remember this like that where you were getting 300 bucks a kid for a number of months in in 2021, and you remember those checks. And by the way, 174 economists looked at it and said, this is the best thing the American government has done for its people in a generation, and we should keep doing it. So what happened, Of course they, they got rid of it at the beginning of this year in 2022. And one of the things that stunned me was that there was no outcry. It's like millions of families just had a lifeline cut in a way that they felt immediately, like protests in the street. No, like, like anyone, like you know like, like outside of members of congress offices, no press treatment, almost completely absent. Like just the, the people and families did not matter. So if you ask me what I would do if I had a magic wand, it's just to like, put resources into people's hands and lift people outta poverty.
Will Rucker (42:55):
I think that's something that's hopefully get you a magic wand when you leave here.
Andrew Yang (43:01):
I'm still working on it and, and my belief, people come up to me sometimes like, Hey yang, where's my a thousand bucks? And I say, still working on it, but like the, the, the ways to get there are through reforming our political system, voting yes on three, making it so that people and our leaders are actually connected, and then our leaders might actually deliver for us.
Will Rucker (43:20):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining the podcast. It's been beyond a pleasure. I mean, I could keep you here for several more hours, but I think our, our audience is probably like, Okay, great. So I do appreciate you, I appreciate you being a visionary and having the courage to fight for change. That's big.
Andrew Yang (43:38):
Well, you know, we, we have to get people feeling positive enough to, to think that change is a good thing. And one way to get them there is to have someone like you in the state assembly because you know, people around you be like, Oh, that this guy actually cares about me and mine and, and wants to do right by us. Thank
Will Rucker (43:53):
You. This has been compassionate Las Vegas, the podcast, I'm Will Rucker. And as I always remind you, you are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop and what you do matters. So live compassionate.