Andrew Yang says supporters may go to Sanders in Iowa caucus

Ryan Teague Beckwith

Andrew Yang said he won’t be surprised if his voters end up supporting Bernie Sanders in later rounds of the Iowa caucus voting – a development that could strengthen Sanders’s already-surging campaign in the state.

Speaking at a Bloomberg News reporter round table in Des Moines, Yang said there is an “overlap” between his supporters and those of the progressive Vermont senator.

“I think that Bernie and I do have a lot of overlap in support so it wouldn’t be surprising to me if many of our supporters head in that direction,” he said.

At Monday’s caucuses, Iowans will conduct a first round to pick their favorite candidate. Any candidate who falls short of the required support can direct his or her supporters to back a rival in a second round.

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks at a town hall meeting Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Perry, Iowa.

Yang said that several candidates – whom he would not name – have reached out to his campaign about supporting them.

Yang is currently polling in Iowa at just 3% in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, with Sanders breaking in Iowa, New Hampshire and California. With so many Democrats in contention, even Yang’s small cadre of support could tip the balance in one of the early contests.

His fund raising has allowed him to outlast 16 candidates, including three senators and three governors. And he’s done well enough in other polls that he earned a place on the stage at most of the primary debates, including the February debate in New Hampshire.

Yang has also brought some of his more novel campaign ideas closer to the mainstream. His signature proposal, a universal basic income that would give every adult $1,000 a month, was considered and rejected by Hillary Clinton’s team in 2016, according to her campaign memoir.

Search traffic on Google for “universal basic income” has hit all-time highs since he launched his campaign in November of 2017.

Even if his campaign doesn’t go much further than the early contests, some progressive Democratic strategists say he’s shown an alternate way of getting attention and raising money in the presidential primary in the Internet era.