Notes on the Future of Our Democracy
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A lively and bold blueprint for moving beyond the “era of institutional failure” by transforming our outmoded political and economic systems to be resilient to twenty-first-century problems, from the popular entrepreneur, bestselling author, and political truth-teller
“A vitally important book.”—Mark Cuban
Despite being written off by the media, Andrew Yang’s shoestring 2020 presidential campaign—powered by his proposal for a universal basic income of $1,000 a month for all Americans—jolted the political establishment, growing into a massive, diverse movement.
In Forward, Yang reveals that UBI and the threat of job automation are only the beginning, diagnosing how a series of cascading problems within our antiquated systems keeps us stuck in the past—imperiling our democracy at every level. With America’s stagnant institutions failing to keep pace with technological change, we grow more polarized as tech platforms supplant our will while feasting on our data. Yang introduces us to the various “priests of the decline” of America, including politicians whose incentives have become divorced from the people they supposedly serve.
The machinery of American democracy is failing, Yang argues, and we need bold new ideas to rewire it for twenty-first-century problems. Inspired by his experience running for office and as an entrepreneur, and by ideas drawn from leading thinkers, Yang offers a series of solutions, including data rights, ranked-choice voting, and fact-based governance empowered by modern technology, writing that “there is no cavalry”—it’s up to us. This is a powerful and urgent warning that we must step back from the brink and plot a new way forward for our democracy.
Yang (The War on Normal People) reflects on his 2020 presidential campaign and offers prescriptions for America's social ills in this earnest yet lackluster account. After a hasty run-through of his childhood and rise from part-time test-prep tutor to CEO of the company, Yang delves into his underdog bid for the Democratic nomination, discussing how he gained followers by making his "Twitter voice more colloquial and casual, even a little sassy"; sharing behind-the-scenes details about memorable moments, including the time he teared up at a gun violence forum; and expressing frustration with the "persistent minimization" he received from cable news outlets. Yang then switches gears to address "institutional failures" in the U.S., including the CDC's "slow and cumbersome response" to Covid-19, wealth disparity, the decline of local journalism, police brutality, and "legislative gridlock and dysfunction." His solutions include a universal basic income, ranked-choice voting, 18-year term limits for the House and Senate, and tax breaks for local media outlets. Yang presents these policy ideas succinctly and with confidence, but has little to say about how they might be achieved, and his moments of genuine self-reflection are intermittent. This extended stump speech is unlikely to draw many new members to the Yang Gang. Agent: David Larabell, CAA.