December Democratic Debate: Andrew Yang The Only Person Of Color On Stage

“It’s both an honor and a disappointment to be the only candidate of color on the stage tonight.”

The December Democratic presidential debate took place Thursday (Dec. 19) in Los Angeles and Andrew Yang was the only person of color on stage. 

The debate held at Loyola Marymount University included seven candidates, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the Atlanta Constitution-Journal reports.

“It’s both an honor and a disappointment to be the only candidate of color on the stage tonight,” Yang said when asked about being the only person of color on the debate stage, CNN reports. "I miss Kamala. I miss Cory, although I think Cory will be back."

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Yang is a child of immigrants from Taiwan, PBS NewsHour previously reported

During Thursday night’s debate, he recalled being racially abused when he was growing up and said, "Black(s) and Latinos have something much more powerful working against them than words," CNN reports. 

He then commented on his “basic income” policy, under which each American would be given $1,000 monthly. 

The 44-year-old entrepreneur said the policy would help ensure the presence of more persons of color in the U.S. presidential race, the Business Insider on MSN reports

“I guarantee if we had a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month, I would not be the only candidate of color on this stage tonight,” he said, the Business Insider on MSN reports. 

“I know what you’re thinking, America,” Yang added, CNN reports. “How am I still on this stage with them?”

The only candidate to acknowledge his own white privilege on stage was Sanders, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. 

In response to Politico moderator Tim Albertas statement about Sanders being “the oldest candidate onstage this evening,” the Vermont senator said, “And I’m white as well!” 

Warren talked about her $50 billion aid plan for HBCU students again and pointed out racial disparities as it relates to student debt, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. 

“This is about money, but it’s also about values,” Warren said, reports U.S. News & World Report. “We need to make an investment in our future, and the best way to do that is to invest in the public education of our children.”  

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When asked about potentially being the oldest president ever inaugurated, Warren responded, “I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” CNN reports.  

Buttigieg was a focus of the debate with opponents getting at him every which way. 

But he did do a decent job standing up for himself with quick-witted responses, CNN reports

When Warren called out the South Bend, Indiana mayor for a recent donor event with “billionaires in wine caves,” where Buttigieg spoke under a chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals, he didn’t hesitate to make parallel comparisons of her previous high-profile fundraising events, CNN reports.

“Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said, CNN reports.

The 37-year-old politician responded quickly, saying, “You know, according to Forbes magazine, I’m literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire. So this is important. This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.” 

He stepped up again when Amy Klobuchar pointed out Buttigieg’s lack of political experience in comparison to the other Democratic presidential candidates, who he previously said had “more than 100 years of Washington experience,” CNN reports. 

“Respect our experience,” the Minnesota senator said. 

"The point is, we should have someone heading up this ticket that has actually won and been able to show that they've gathered the support that you talk about of moderate Republicans and independents," Klobuchar added, CNN reports. "I think a track record of getting things done matters.”

Buttigieg’s firey response was, "If you want to talk about the capacity to win, try putting together a coalition to bring you back to office with 80% of the vote as a gay dude in Mike Pence's Indiana."

The oldest candidates on stage, Biden and Sanders, battled it out over health care with the Vermont senator advocating for his “Medicare for All” proposal and the former VP backing his plan that builds on Obamacare and maintains a role for private health insurers, CNN reports. 

“I think we will pass a Medicare for All single-payer system,” Sanders said, confidently. 

When Biden laid out his plan, which would add a public option to Obamacare and lower the caps on how much of their income Americans would pay for insurance on the exchanges, things got heated and a little comical between him and Sanders, CNN reports. 

“Put your hand down for a second, Bernie,” Biden said at one point, CNN reports.

Sanders quickly responded, “Just waving at you, Joe.”

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