Businessman Andrew Yang dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday night, but that’s unlikely to be the last Americans hear from the unorthodox candidate who went from near-obscurity to outlasting senators and governors in a presidential race.
A cryptic Tuesday night tweet confirmed what many had speculated — that Yang doesn’t exactly plan to step back from public life.
“We’ll be back,” he said.
A weak showing in the New Hampshire primary, which followed another poor finish in the Iowa caucuses, led the self-declared “math guy” to decide he didn’t have a path to the White House in 2020.
“While there is great work left to be done — you know I am the math guy — it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race. I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win,” Yang told supporters. “And so tonight, I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”
So what’s Andrew Yang’s next move?
He’s reportedly already talked about running for president again. According to Rolling Stone, Yang signaled as much on a call with staffers in the waning days of his campaign.
“Imagine a world where we put up a really great number on Tuesday, and then let’s say we decide to run this back again in four years,” he said, according to the outlet. “If you start with that base in New Hampshire, plus everything that we have the next time around, we’re going to be even better positioned to see the goals of this campaign through, eradicate poverty, improve the human condition, and help move this country we love forward in the right direction.”
Yang has attracted a very passionate, very online following, often called the “Yang Gang,” which he could potentially tap into as a base of support for a future run. Additionally, he leaves the race on good terms with the Democratic Party and many of its members.
“Gonna miss [Yang] in this race!” Van Jones, a CNN commentator and former member of the Obama administration, tweeted Tuesday. “I love his POSITIVE populism. You don’t have to hate anyone to join #YangGang. It’s not broke folks against billionaires! Not white folks against immigrants! Not beer drinkers v wine drinkers! It’s HUMANS v these damned ROBOTS!!! Thanks, man!”
Liberal political scientist Ian Bremmer agreed.
“[Yang] is one of the most honest, decent and thoroughly upbeat human beings that’s aspired to higher office in the US,” he tweeted. “Let’s not forget that. He’s an inspiration. I thank him for running.”
But at least one member of a Democratic presidential campaign mentioned a different future for Yang. Former New York City deputy mayor and senior adviser to Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, Howard Wolfson, said Yang might be a good fit for his boss’s old job.
“[Yang] would make a very interesting candidate for NYC Mayor in 21,” Wolfson tweeted about the New York City resident.
Another possibility for Yang is to join the administration of the eventual Democratic nominee. Yang’s early exit leaves him on good terms with the other candidates and the move would certainly not be unprecedented.
Former 2016 Republican candidate Ben Carson currently serves as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and fellow primary candidate Rick Perry recently resigned as the Trump administration’s energy secretary.
After dropping out, Yang received social media shout-outs from Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as well as former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — the top-four finishers in New Hampshire.
While Yang has not indicated yet that he has a particular path in mind, one thing is clear for the 45-year-old exiting a field that features several candidates over 70 — he has many years to build a successful political career if he chooses to.