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After his run for Democratic nominee, Andrew Yang has been hired by CNN as a political commentator.
“I’m excited to join @CNN to help shed light on the election and the candidates’ experiences. Learned a lot these past months and am glad to contribute to the public discussion” he wrote on Twitter.
Yang’s candidacy was often referred to as a breath of fresh air in a Democratic field that emphasized ideology instead of the needs and concerns of Americans. His campaign was supported by many voters who considered themselves to be politically homeless, unable to get on board with either party platforms. CNN, however, is widely regarded as the opposite of a breath of fresh air. Joining CNN brings him closer to the establishment than ever before.
To Yang’s credit, his campaign was the only one that took seriously the concerns and effects of automation on the job market. CNN’s prior coverage of Yang was almost entirely about whether or not he was being underestimated as a candidate. This appears to be the first time the network has taken him seriously. Being a CNN talking head will allow him to address the many issues facing the Democratic nominees in their efforts to win the nomination. It will be interesting to see if he takes on the issue of CNN and its problematic coverage.
As the remaining candidates are joined by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage for the first time (thanks to recent rule changes that the DNC made in his favour), Yang will undoubtedly have a lot more speaking time than he ever did on stage.
Yang’s campaign had a certain energy to it, attracting a diverse number of unorthodox supporters from Dave Chappelle to Christina Hoff Sommers. Videos of him captioning New Yorker cartoons, or singing with a church choir, or his kids running up on stage seemingly oblivious to the crowd assembled to hear him speak harnessed a kind of meme-friendly vibe that spoke to young people and the disenfranchised.
It will be interesting to see if Yang carries the same vibe with him to CNN and provides actual fresh perspectives, or if he will, like most CNN commentators, simply recite DNC talking points. The unfortunate thing is that we will have to watch CNN to find out.