Yang urges Biden to break precedent and debate RFK Jr.
Why it matters: "If you don't debate RFK Jr., then he has a stronger case to say, look, I didn't get a fair shake so I'm going to run in the general," Yang — whose book, "The Last Election," is set to come out on Sept. 12 — told Axios.
- "The problem is that the DNC and Joe do not want Joe debating RFK Jr. or anyone else, and it's a real problem."
- "I've come out and said, I think that people should be running in a more competitive environment against Joe, even though he is the sitting president because I think that that would be a positive thing."
Biden has indicated that he won't do primary debates, keeping with a longstanding pattern for incumbent presidents.
- "Whereas if you do debate him, and then you win, then it's harder for him to have a legitimate cause."
Yang noted polling showing that most Americans aren't excited about a potential rematch between former President Trump and Biden, warning that "you can easily foresee that someone is going to try and fill that vacuum."
- "In the absence of that kind of debate, then you're going to have some candidates with a legitimate grievance," he said.
The big picture: Yang, 48, launched the Forward Party in 2021 after leaving the Democratic Party. The Forward Party advocates for elections reforms such as ranked-choice voting and open, nonpartisan primaries, and other changes to give Americans an alternative to the two major parties.
- Yang ran for president in 2020 as a Democrat, building a strong grassroots fundraising operation with his warnings about automation and his proposal for a $1,000 monthly universal basic income.
- He unsuccessfully ran for New York City mayor in 2021 to succeed Bill de Blasio.
- Yang's forthcoming book, co-authored by writer Steven Marche, is a fiction political thriller set on the campaign trail.
Between the lines: Yang's Forward Party is not putting forward a presidential candidate in 2024, per his party's website.
- The former tech entrepreneur did not comment explicitly on a potential independent No Labels presidential bid, but he said that spending money "on an alternative or safety valve is perfectly prudent."
- "The concern that arises is whether that safety valve wouldn't be used in a productive way."
What's next: Yang predicted that the 2024 presidential election will be remembered as "the AI presidential cycle" — and he warned that today's leaders are already behind the curve.
- "When it comes to technology, just think about how our government responded to the advent of social media."
- "And if we have anywhere close to the same approach with AI, it's going to be nearly impossible to put the genie back in the bottle."