Andrew Yang Admits He's Awful on TV but Still Wants More Speaking Time
Life comes at you fast, as the kids say. Entrepreneur and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang emerged a little battle-scarred from his first televised primary debate. He and some of the other lesser-known candidates are already providing fodder for late-night television hosts. That's a very big deal when one considers that there hasn't been a joke about a Democrat on late-night TV in twenty years or so.
Yang claims that NBC had his microphone muted for part of the debate, and that led to the #LetYangSpeak hashtag on Twitter. He hit Twitter with a thread lamenting his lack of airtime but also openly revealing what could be a problem if he gets more:
Yes, Mr. Yang, being on television is difficult.
Yang has a can-do attitude about all of this but he's looking at doing the wrong things:
He may want to begin with simply being prepared when he does get the rare chance to speak:
Yang is really off the mark if he thinks he needs to "fake and force things" to make a bigger impact. That's the opposite of what's needed, especially for him.
His one big selling point is that he isn't a politician. If he begins to force things he'll sound like every other disingenuous pol who is delivering talking points.
In a book I wrote last year about the 2016 election, I explained how Donald Trump's superior knowledge of television helped him distinguish himself in the crowded primary field. While the Jeb Bushes of the world were failing miserably at delivering scripted nonsense that was supposed to lead to applause lines, Trump was the riffing jazz musician on stage. He always said the thing that the press would spend the most time talking about for the next news cycle. It didn't matter whether one agreed with him or not, it was all you were going to hear and read about.
Yang is in a "be careful what you wish for" situation here. You have to love the spotlight to want it to shine on you. The first time it did for him last night he may have been better off just texting his response while hiding backstage.