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Lone candidate of color, Yang speaks on race at debate

Andrew Yang said he lamented the absences of Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker when diversity questions were posed to the candidates on stage.

LOS ANGELES — Race took the stage toward the end of the first hour of the Democratic presidential debate, as questions of diversity were posed to the seven candidates participating.

Asked why he was the lone minority candidate on-stage, Andrew Yang said most people of color don’t donate to political campaigns because they lack the disposable income.

Yang, who is Asian American, lamented the absence of California Sen. Kamala Harris — who suspended her campaign earlier this month despite qualifying for the debate — and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, whom Yang predicted would return to the debate stage.

He then turned the issue into a pitch for his candidacy, telling moderators his proposed “freedom dividend,” which would give every American $1,000 a month, would “guarantee” he would not be the only minority candidate on stage.

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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was asked what she would say to white Americans uncomfortable with the idea of becoming a racial minority. She responded that the country must “strive for a more perfect union,” which means including people of color in economic progress and fighting voter suppression.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said climate change is also part of addressing racial inequality, and said all candidates “have an obligation” to speak to issues such as criminal justice, the economy and the environment. particularly in the absence of candidates of color.

Credit: AP
Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)