’20 presidential candidate Andrew Yang talks third parties, ranked-choice voting during ASU appearance

Two School of Public Affairs students interview Yang at event

November 30, 2022

The two-party system is in serious need of overhaul if the United States has any chance of solving issues important to new generations of voters, most of whom are not party members, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang told Arizona State University students Nov. 17.

Yang, 47, is a business executive who joined — and departed early from — the crowded 2020 field of Democratic presidential candidates. Andrew Yang speaking into a microphone at ASU event Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who today co-chairs the national Forward Party, spoke to students on Nov. 17 at the Westward Ho hotel in downtown Phoenix. Photo by Mark J. Scarp/ASU Download Full Image

Today, he and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman co-chair the new Forward Party. In his appearance on the Downtown Phoenix campus, Yang advocated for active third parties — he said there should be “five, six or seven” of them — and for ranked-choice voting as two important fixes to the American political system.

Yang’s appearance was sponsored by ASU’s Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy.

Yang spoke for several minutes before being interviewed on stage at the former Westward Ho hotel by two seniors in the School of Public Affairs: Jordyn Walhof, pursuing three bachelor’s degrees in public service and public policy (law and policy), political science and anthropology; and Katie Fite, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public service and public policy (emergency management).

Yang said that during the years before his presidential run, he observed automation and artificial intelligence eliminating many of the jobs in five areas held by about half of working Americans today. Jobs in clerical or administration, food preparation, retail, transportation and manufacturing are overwhelmingly filled by people without college degrees, he said.

In 2016, Republican Donald Trump won the White House with victories in industrial Midwestern states that had often been in the Democratic column, Yang said. Major cities in those states lost population as they hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs.

“There is a direct correlation from loss of manufacturing jobs to support for Trump for formerly blue areas,” he said.

Yang said that since his presidential campaign, he remains concerned about the future of American politics. He said young people care about such issues as climate change, public indebtedness and the general effectiveness of our political system.

“We left you with a colossal bill of goods,” he said. “The political system is set up not to work. And it’s getting worse.”

The center’s co-director and School of Public Affairs Professor Thom Reilly said after the event that younger Arizona voters are not being drawn to the two major parties. Today, 52% of both millennials and Generation Z members in Arizona are not affiliated with a party, he said.

“That’s astoundingly large, particularly when you think of where these young people get their information,” Reilly said, referring to social media and other nontraditional sources.

K–12 schools need to spend more time on civic education, Reilly said, because many young people become adults without knowing how to register and vote, and how to evaluate the candidates and questions on ballots.

“At least in Arizona we have (the Citizens) Clean Elections (Commission), a nonpartisan organization not present in other states,” Reilly said.

Arizona is ‘ground zero’ for potential change

Yang said Arizona, as a purple state with relatively even numbers of voters choosing Republicans and Democrats, is “ground zero” for potential change.

“You are going to be a hotbed of an effort to modernize and safeguard American democracy,” he said.

Ranked-choice voting opens primaries to all voters regardless of party membership or none at all. Voters may make multiple choices of candidates for an office ranked in order of preference. This will help eliminate the polarized kind of campaigning and candidates emerging from today’s primary system, Yang said.

Primaries attract small numbers of voters, typically around 15% or 16%, meaning candidates are beholden to the wishes of a small minority of their constituencies, Yang said. Social media also can fan the flames of opinion, which frequently leads to more extremist candidates, he said.

Yang said a handful of states, such as Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, are just purple enough for third parties to form there and grow.

“Arizona is fortunate to be purple,” he said. “When change occurs, you’ll see leaders come out of the woodwork that you don’t see now.”

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


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ASU debuts at world-renowned Guadalajara International Book Fair

November 30, 2022

Over 700,000 attendees take part in multicultural, nine-day event

Arizona State University for the first time joined some 2,000 presenters from 47 countries that traveled to Mexico to join this year’s Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), held Nov. 26 to Dec. 4 in the Guadalajara Expo.

Founded by the University of Guadalajara in 1987, the FIL is one of the largest book fairs in the world, and this year provided a forum for ASU to showcase its Media Enterprise and the university in general.  

“Being present for one of our largest partners, University of Guadalajara, was also a key part of our involvement,” said Dulce Vasquez, ASU Office of University Affairs assistant vice president. “It is important to support the work that they do, as they support the work that we do in other spaces.”

The university team engaged the public and provided complimentary copies of “The Worlds We Share,” a curated collection of essays, articles and short stories showcasing the work of the ASU Media Enterprise — a nonprofit, nonpartisan media collective that shares stories about science, technology, the arts and social matters.

“We want our content that comes through the Media Enterprise to be shared with the largest audience possible in lots of different places,” said Mia Armstrong-López, managing editor of Future Tense, one of the Media Enterprise affiliates and a partnership of Slate, New America and ASU.

The book featured English and Spanish versions of each article. Although most of the work was originally written in English for Media Enterprise digital platforms, one piece from renowned Mexican author Juan Villoro was presented in its original form.

“It’s special for us to share the original Spanish story and then our English translation,” Armstrong-López said.

Vasquez and Armstrong-López also shared their expertise during the “Innovation in Digital Journalism” panel, along with Gabriel Torres Espinoza, University of Guadalajara professor and journalist; and moderator Salvador Camarena, journalist and columnist for various top Mexican national journals.  

The panelists discussed the challenges of digital communication, including the evolution and impact of social media, dis- and misinformation, government influence in media, freedom of the press, maintaining audiences, and what the future holds in this unique and changing space.

In addition to the digital journalism panel, Vasquez, who is based out of the ASU California Center, also served as a panelist for the "Binational Forum on United States–Mexico Relations: A Perspective from Los Angeles."

The forum reflected on the actions and alliances in politics, economics, education, culture and health that have strengthened the relationship between the two countries and bettered the lives of citizens on both sides of the border. Luis Gustavo Padilla Montes, executive vice president for the University of Guadalajara Foundation USA, moderated the discussion with prominent panelists that included former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and legendary civil rights and labor leader Dolores Huerta

Held in the Guadalajara Expo hall, the FIL occupies the space equivalent of 8.4 acres where publishers, literary agents, distributors, translators and librarians conduct business. The public is also welcome during certain periods where they can participate in over 1,000 hours of scheduled events, including book talks, author meet and greets, diverse panels and other activities.

Event organizers expect over 700,000 visitors during the nine-day event dubbed as “one of the most important cultural festivals in Latin America.”

“It’s a little bit daunting to see a massive maze of bookstores all constructed for one week in one place,” said Sara Suarez, senior manager for programming and operations at ASU Media Enterprise affiliate Zócalo Public Square. “The level of construction, the stands, it’s really impressive. There are hundreds of thousands of people visiting this fair every day. It’s just a huge amount of exposure.

“It’s hard to imagine the scale until you are actually on site.”

In addition to serving as a networking event for the book industry, the book fair celebrates the love of reading and different cultures. To that end, each year organizers designate a foreign nation, state or region as the guest of honor. Special events, displays and focus are placed on the guest of honor to spotlight their achievements, literature and culture. 

Sharjah and Arab Culture was named the FIL 2022 guest of honor. Sharjah is the third largest of the seven emirates, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Known as the cultural capital of the UAE, Sharjah has a history as one of the most progressive cities in the region that evolved from fish trading to one of the most developed, modern trading cities in the Persian Gulf region.

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications