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Yang's Giveaway Is Wildly Popular

His campaign says more than 450K have signed up for 'Freedom Dividend' contest
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2019 1:07 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(Newser) – It's not yet clear if the offer is legal, but it is abundantly clear that the offer is popular: Democratic political candidate is giving away $1,000 a month for a full year to 10 people, and on Monday, his campaign announced more than 450,000 have signed up online for the contest since Yang announced it during Thursday night's debate. That means the campaign has collected 450,000 email addresses—and more than 90% of them were new ones, the campaign tells Politico. Yang also raised a million bucks in the 72 hours after the debate and gained 7,566 Twitter followers during the debate, more than any other candidate—by a wide margin. The "Freedom Dividend Pilot Program" is a miniature version of the universal basic income, aka "Freedom Dividend," Yang has promised to institute for all US adults if he's elected president.

"We’ve got a 21st century candidate and we’re running a 21st century campaign," campaign manager Zach Graumann says of Yang's "internet-first" campaign. "That’s something not many of our competitors can say." Though the legality of the contest, which ends Thursday night, is indeed under question, Yang noted on CNN Sunday that if his campaign was using the same funds to pay a media company, consultants, or canvassers, "No one would blink an eye. But if we give the money directly to the American people, somehow that's problematic. So it just speaks how messed up our system is where giving money directly to Americans actually raises eyebrows." The Washington Examiner notes that while no donation is required to enter the contest, anyone who entered was sent an email Saturday asking them to consider contributing. (Read more Andrew Yang 2020 stories.)

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