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Andrew Yang: The 'Primary' Solution to Mafia-Style Politics Within The Parties

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Created: 11 April, 2023
Updated: 12 April, 2023
1 min read

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Forward Party Founder Andrew Yang recently sat down with "Wait But Why" creator Tim Urban to discuss what has made partisanship in the US so scary -- and not just to voters, but to candidates who want to vote their conscience. 

Yang and Urban have a broad discussion on human nature, how changing an environment can drive our actions and discourse, the "high-rung" vs. "low-rung" thinking political golems, and how we as a society can overcome our primitive instincts to create a better future and political environment. 

During the conversation, Yang brings up the "mafia-style" tactics that go on within partisan politics. Lawmakers' careers, their livelihoods, their futures are threatened if they don't toe the party line. Even if a public official wants cooperation or believes a certain course of action is "right," they are bullied into doing only what their party leaders want.

What voters are seeing is not the consequence of human nature, but how human behavior changes based on how environments are altered. In this case, we can look at primary elections.

Yang uses an example of how one senator was able to overcome the threats and "mafia-style" tactics in partisan politics because she didn't have to run in a party primary. Changing to a nonpartisan primary in her state changed the environment and as a result shifted motivations and priorities for the incumbent.

Check out the full conversation above. A notable part about political tribalism and what makes it worse begins at 17:20 and the conversation about solutions begins at 28:27.

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