Andrew Yang holds big political ambitions, but he has already failed as a leader.
Our latest Lioness story.
A Lioness story out today, by Erica Lee, a former campaign staffer for former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Working as a Yang campaign volunteer, I had a front row seat to sexism, men’s rights advocates, and sexual harassment. Yang—who has founded a third political party that hopes to take all conflict out of U.S. politics—did nothing to stop it.
I first became interested in Andrew Yang’s political platform in early 2019, when I heard about his proposal for universal basic income. Its potential to lift people out of poverty and recognize women’s uncompensated domestic labor appealed to me. My father worked with unhoused veterans for years—I know what $1,000 a month could do for that community. Like many liberal women in America, I yearned to have a woman in charge, but I decided that Yang’s progressive ideas might be just what our country needed to stem the rising tide of inequality. And I had just quit my desk job, so when a friend suggested working for Yang’s presidential campaign, it sounded like a good idea.
Some weeks later, in early June 2019, I attended a fundraiser for Yang in Seattle, and couldn’t help noticing that the number of men attending the event far exceeded the number of women. I learned later from Kerry Bosworth, leader of the Seattle “Yang Gang” (as his supporters were called), that Carly Reilly, the deputy campaign manager at the time, had been directed to look specifically for women who had questions for the Q&A after Yang’s speech, so the number of men with hands raised would not overwhelm the entire segment. Nothing wrong with that. I was excited to meet Yang, along with everyone else.
Despite my enthusiasm about joining the Yang Gang, some comments I’d been seeing in the closed Facebook group called Andrew Yang Basecamp raised a few alarms:
Of course, as anyone who uses the internet knows, sexism and misogyny in the comments section is generally a given. It demands good moderation and a strict enforcement policy, especially if you’re running a political campaign. I raised the issue with the official moderating staffer—I knew that women who were DNC primary voters would be appalled to see such comments sitting in a campaign-sanctioned Facebook group. I eventually discovered that what I’d seen was only the tip of the iceberg; these kinds of remarks were not restricted to rogue commenters.
I was invited by the official staffer to help moderate this group, but two weeks later, I was told I wasn’t a good fit because of what I’d called out.
(Read the rest of the story here…)
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