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The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has a long way to go, but it already has at least one winner. That’s Andrew Yang, and it’s not because he will end up as his party’s candidate. Yang, an affable 44-year-old who eschews neckties and traditional rhetoric, trails front-running candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders by a wide margin. But he has demonstrated sufficient appeal to outpace governors, senators, and House members to grab and hold his place on Democratic debate stages. A former lawyer who became wealthy as an entrepreneur, Yang entered the race without familiar presidential credentials. He had spent recent years boosting business start-ups through Venture for America, a non-profit he founded. Yang has built his campaign around what he calls The Freedom Dividend – a $1,000 per month “universal basic income” intended to cushion the impact of technological advances that have begun to supplant large swaths of the American workforce. Americans of every income level would receive it, with the enormous cost financed by a value-added tax under which the bottom 94% of earners would come out ahead. Over bubble tea in Manhattan, Yang sits down with Editor-at-Large John Harwood to discuss his campaign. 

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