MANCHESTER, N.H. — Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who drew surprising enthusiasm to a presidential bid centered on protecting American workers from automation, dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination Tuesday night after New Hampshire voters failed to give his campaign a needed boost.
Yang announced his decision to supporters at the Puritan Conference Center in Manchester around 8:15 p.m., soon after the final polls closed in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary. The early returns, combined with Yang’s lackluster support in last week’s Iowa caucuses, were enough to convince him that he would not be the Democratic nominee.
“While there is great work left to be done, you know I am the math guy,” Yang said, “and it is clear tonight from these numbers that we are not going to win this race.”
The watchword of Yang’s campaign was “MATH,” a shorthand for “Make America Think Harder” that was emblazoned on hats and pins in celebration of the numbers and facts that he and his supporters said underlie his economic ideas.
Yang had outlasted several well-known and experienced politicians in the race, motivating a hard core of supporters who got behind his plans to make the government and economy more fair to American workers. The centerpiece was a $1,000 monthly payment that would go to every adult to stimulate the economy and provide a bulwark against financial hardship.
Yang said Tuesday that he is confident that his campaign had a real impact, elevating the idea of “universal basic income” from a fringe concept into one that now has real currency.
“The Yang Gang has fundamentally shifted the direction of this country and transformed our politics, and we are only continuing to grow,” Yang said in his speech, using a common nickname for his hard core supporters.
He said he would support the eventual Democratic nominee, but he declined to immediately throw his support behind any one of the candidates who remain in contention for the nomination.
“If any of the candidates want my endorsement, all they have to do is come out for universal basic income,” he told reporters later. If “it’s a top priority for their administration, they’d be assured of my endorsement shortly thereafter.”
Supporters had come to Yang’s event Tuesday with expectations tempered by the reality that their candidate had been polling in the mid- to low single digits here.
Maddie Glosemeyer of Manchester, a Yang volunteer, said she had spoken with many voters during the course of the campaign whose main doubt about the candidate were not his ideas, but his prospects.
“They say, 'I like Yang. He’s good. He’s funny. But he’s just not going to win,” Glosemeyer said. Glosemeyer had hoped a strong performance could help convert people with similar concerns in other states.
Yang’s rhetoric had also appealed to people who felt he had transcended the ideological divisions in American politics.
Elizabeth Edwards, a former state representative from Manchester, said she found Yang’s ideas intellectually challenging in a way that other candidates’ often are not.
“He’s not asking you to turn your critical thinking skills off and just go with the flow,” she said. “He’s asking you to turn your critical thinking skills on. I wish that were more common in politics.”
Andy Rosen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.