Andrew Yang is a dark horse candidate for the Democrat nomination, who just qualified for the primary debates by getting 65,000 individuals to donate to his campaign. He did this by appearing on Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, which sparked enough interest to ignite a grassroots social media effort.
His distinguishing pitch is a form of Universal Basic Income -- $1,000 a month for every American over 18 -- although he supports other populist proposals like Medicare for All, winding down the over-extended military occupation of the whole world, etc.
A fair amount of his current supporters are disaffected Trump voters, who chose Trump because he was running against the status quo of the past 40 years (neoliberalism) in the areas of trade / industrial policy, foreign policy, and immigration. With all of those areas having gotten catastrophically worse under Trump's actual presidency, they're done supporting him and the GOP in general.
That defection is a welcome sign of party realignment -- not because a handful of meme warriors have the ability to re-shape the party system, but because they're a reflection of a broader discontent with the system among the masses of normies who voted for Trump (a decent share of whom also voted for Obama). Indeed, the normies who voted for Trump's heterodox platform soured on him awhile ago -- witness his cratering approval ratings in the industrial Midwest. If anything, the meme warriors are better-late-than-never arrivals to the "dump Trump" party. Self-styled vanguards are typically bandwagon jumper-on-ers.
And most of the populists and anti-globalization voters who were sympathetic to candidate-Trump, and have defected to the Democrats, have chosen his natural counter-part -- Bernie Sanders. Even as they hear Yang's message during the debates, and assuming they warm up to it, they will still stick with Bernie, who they know has a real chance of becoming president and enacting his agenda, unlike the outsider Yang.
The former Trump supporters should know better than others in the Yang Gang that getting an outsider into the White House will only result in him getting instantly swamped by the institutional forces that want to keep the status quo going. Trump entered DC with zero political capital, aside from his grassroots support, which he failed to ever draw on. Even if he had activated his base, they would have been ultimately over-ruled by literally every other politician and interest group that had taken control of the White House (the Pentagon, agribusiness, the oil cartels, the Koch Brothers, etc.).
Yang as president would be in a similar position -- he would have no stock of political capital, no favors owed to him, no roots or networks to draw on in Washington. As a venture capital guy from Silicon Valley, he may be able to get some support from that interest group, which controls the Democrats, but unless he were at the level of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, it's doubtful he could single-handedly get anything done as an outsider, unless it was already palatable to the status quo preservers.
Bernie has been in national politics for decades, including at the high rank of senator, was nearly the party's nominee last time, has a 20-something percent floor of support this time around, has built a broad and loyal coalition over the past four years, both inside and outside the political world, is the most popular national politician, including with social moderates and conservatives and flyover country normies, and has delivered the goods on a wide range of topics -- getting the Senate to withdraw support for the Pentagon's ally Jihadi Arabia in their war against Yemen, bullying Jeff Bezos into raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for Amazon's workers, and voicing disapproval for the current neo-con regime change effort against Venezuela. What tangible results can other candidates point to in order to sell the voters on their ability to deliver the goods?
It's not as though Bernie was predestined to be the one who accumulated all this political capital by the 2020 election, but he took a chance in 2015, and it has paid off for four years. Other Democrats, even those who share his proposals, simply do not have all of that political capital and coalitional support to enact their would-be realigning agenda. You can't spend political capital that you don't have, and that rules out everyone but Bernie from being able to enact a bold post-Reaganite agenda.
Yang himself seems to be mainly interested in running an issues campaign to influence the eventual nominee, which will not be him. That's fine, and there's no reason Bernie could not incorporate a form of UBI into his platform, along with Tulsi Gabbard's signature issues about non-intervention in foreign policy. But Yang and Gabbard cannot win the nomination, nor the general election, nor compel the institutional forces in DC to yield even one inch were they to occupy the White House.
To realign the party system, everyone opposed to the status quo must focus on the main enemies -- the entire Republican party, which created the current paradigm under Reagan and continues to benefit the most from it, and the Reaganite appeasers on the Democrat side -- Biden, Warren, and the rest.
Among realigners, the Bernie camp is in a league of its own, measured by political capital and coalitional cohesion. So they should welcome the Tulsi and Yang supporters, especially if they are former Trump voters -- you will never realign the system without a major defection from the existing dominant coalition. If Tulsi and Yang are lifeboats that people are jumping into as the GOP ship sinks at the end of the Reagan era, let them get away from that mess first. Then steer toward them and offer to hoist them up onto battleship Bernie, and whoever joins, joins.
Likewise, the Tulsi and Yang supporters should recognize that the Bernie coalition is the only game in town when it comes to delivering the goods on Medicare for All, non-interventionist foreign policy, UBI, etc. Trying to attack the Bernie coalition will backfire because they're far more committed, and for a longer time, than supporters of either Tulsi or Yang. They will simply reply as I have: that Tulsi and Yang cannot win, and even if they were magically placed inside the White House by meme-Jesus, would wield so little leverage over the institutional players who want to preserve the status quo, that they would just wind up as ineffective as the incumbent outsider president.