Andrew Yang’s Best Policies: Governance & Democracy

The big problem right now with running for office is that you have to get the money on your side and the people on your side, and these are two different things. Imagine if every American had $100 Dollars to give to their favorite candidate—then if you get 10,000 people behind you, you’d get $1 million. You could then act in the best interests of the people you represent instead of sucking up to rich people and companies. Calling rich people for money is soul-crushing. We’d all be better off if politicians just needed to worry about representing the people that elected them rather than hustling for money all of the time.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Provide every American voter with $100 Democracy Dollars for each election cycle, a voucher that they can use to support candidates of their choosing.
    • This amounts to $23+ billion nationwide per election, allowing the will of the people to out-fund the $6.5 billion spent on federal races in 2016, $1.6 billion of which was Dark Money.

One reason we sometimes wind up with extreme politicians is that we have a one-round process that does not always reflect people’s true preferences. Ranked choice voting would help reward candidates who command broad support and would lead to better results. The process matters.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Push the DNC to adopt a ranked-choice voting model for all democratic primaries.
  • Work with Congress to adopt ranked-choice voting for all federal elections.

Election Day is a holiday in many other countries. It should be in the US, as well. It would increase turnout and make it easier for people to vote, particularly those who otherwise might struggle to take the time away from work.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Make Election Day a federal holiday on the second Tuesday of every November.

It’s ridiculous that in 2020 we are still standing in line for hours to vote in antiquated voting booths. It is 100% technically possible to have fraud-proof voting on our mobile phones today using the blockchain. This would revolutionize true democracy and increase participation to include all Americans – those without smartphones could use the legacy system and lines would be very short.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Work to modernize our voting infrastructure to utilize modern technology to make it easier and more secure to vote, thus increasing the number of Americans participating in our democracy.

Our rates of incarceration are 4 times higher than most other industrialized countries, and it’s a national disgrace. People on both sides of the aisle now recognize that our system is badly in need of reform. Our criminal justice system is particularly punitive toward blacks and other minorities. As President I will overhaul the treatment of drug offenses and reduce our rates of incarceration over time.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Work to end the use of private prison facilities for federal inmates.
  • Shift drug policy away from punishment and towards treatment.
  • Invest money to fund innovative prison programs that decrease recidivism and increase reintegration.
  • Invest money to support businesses that hire felons who have served their prison term.
  • Push to reconsider harsh felony laws that prevent those who have served their prison term from reintegrating into society.
  • Identify non-violent drug offenders for probation and potential early release.
  • Implement Universal Basic Income which will dramatically decrease incentives for criminality and improve the functioning of individuals and communities.

I don’t love marijuana. I’d rather people not use it heavily. But it’s vastly safer than people becoming addicted to opiates like heroin. And our criminalization of it seems stupid and racist, particularly now that it’s legal in some states. We should proceed with full legalization of marijuana and pardon those in jail for non-violent marijuana-related offenses. It’s a safer, less addictive means to manage pain for many Americans.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Support the full legalization of marijuana at the federal level and remove it from the controlled substances list.
  • Expunge the federal convictions of all marijuana-related use or possession offenses.
  • Identify non-violent drug offenders for probation and potential early release.

Police officers do a dangerous job every day and deserve our support. Having a camera will help both the public and the police officer resolve complaints. It’s the 21st century and it’s now possible to equip police officers with more advanced equipment than ever before. We should invest in making our police officers as effective as possible while truly being servants and protectors of the communities they serve.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Authorize federal funding to pay for a body camera for every officer in every police department in the country.  
  • Have the DOJ compile accurate composite measurements, including from private sources, of police-related incidents and deaths to establish baseline rates.
  • Provide federal funding for training of local police officers in the latest techniques.
  • Encourage community-based policing and reward departments for a combination of low complaints and continued efficacy.
  • Re-establish the ban on distributing surplus unnecessary military-level artillery gear to police departments.
  • Invest in new non-lethal weaponry that can be used to de-escalate conflicts at range and handprint signature guns so that weapons can only be used by their officers (‘he reached for my gun’ will no longer apply).

Government jobs don’t pay as well as high-level private sector jobs, which leads to a revolving door between government and industry. Often, industry will pay a government employee 5 to 10 times their salary after they leave office. This makes it very natural for regulators to go easy on the companies they regulate. We need to immunize those in charge of government from market forces by compensating them at higher levels and then making it so they can’t go back to their old jobs. Corruption in this case would be diminished by paying government officials more. The government has a printing press – it should be using it to empower regulators to act on behalf of the people instead of relying upon officials ignoring their own economic interests.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Pledge to accept no speaking fees or board positions for personal gain after leaving office.
  • Increase salaries for government officials who operate in a regulatory capacity to much higher levels.
    • Ban any member of the federal government (including members of Congress), after leaving their position, from receiving anything of value in exchange for advocating for a position to members of the federal government.
    • Provide an Anti-Corruption Stipend for all members of the federal government (including members of Congress) after the termination of their employment, to be paid as long as they don’t accept anything of value in exchange for advocating for a position to members of the federal government.
  • Request that the next President receive a raise to $4 million but then be barred from any speaking fees or board positions for personal gain after leaving office.

Term limits in DC are a good idea. They would lead legislators to get something done and then go home. Term limits would also make room for new leaders with fresh ideas. The drawback is that they would entrench the non-legislative bureaucracy, since legislators would have a harder time organizing and forming coalitions. The best balance, then, is a 12-year term limit that would be long enough for expertise and coalitions to build without letting legislators become careerist and self-dealing.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Support a constitutional amendment that would limit individuals to serving a maximum of 12 years in each chamber of Congress.

The fact that we are freaking out about the health of an octogenarian judge is a sign of just how badly we need to reform the Supreme Court.  Let’s make it predictable and rational instead of having an appointment impact laws for 30 years after the fact – a lot can change in 30 years.  An 18-year appointment would be long-term enough so that justices can operate independently without making each appointment a political deathmatch.  We are capable of better than this if we simply adopt a more balanced approach.

As Your President, Andrew Yang will...

  • Work with Congress to pass a clear Code of Ethics that applies to the Supreme Court.
  • Propose a constitutional amendment imposing 18-year term limits on Supreme Court Justices, with terms staggered so that there’s one retirement every other year (each President gets 2 appointments).
  • Allow for “off-cycle” appointments, having the President “forfeit” their next appointment to maintain parity.