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Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang ‘Breaks Up’ With Democratic Party

Andrew Yang, the mayoral and presidential candidate for New York City announced on Monday that he had changed his voter registration to independent to have a more significant impact on the political dialogue from outside the Democratic Party

“Breaking up with the Democratic Party feels like the right thing to do because I believe I can have a greater impact this way,” Yang, a tech entrepreneur, wrote in a blog post on his website.

Andrew Yang

New York City Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang stands silently as he takes questions from reporters during a rally at City Hall Park in Manhattan on May 24, 2021 in New York City. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Breaking Up With the Democratic Party

In 1995, Yang first registered to vote for the Democrats and has remained a party member ever since. He said he still largely supports the liberal policies of the party. He is, however, constrained by the need to always toe the party line.

“I believe I can reach people who are outside the system more effectively,” he wrote. “I feel more … independent.”

Yang, 46, wrote that there had been “an odd fit” between him and the party, stating that he was not “very ideological” but “practical,” and that making partisan arguments “particularly expressing what I often see as performative sentiment — is sometimes uncomfortable for me.” Yang also stated that now that he is independent, he is able to be “even more honest about both the system and the people in it.”

Yang insisted that he admires and respects many of his Democratic opponents in the presidential and mayoral primaries. Nonetheless, he admitted to being dissatisfied with the ugliness of campaigning.

“I’ve seen politicians publicly eviscerate each other and then act collegial or friendly backstage a few minutes later,” he said. “A lot of it is theatre.”

Yang stated that he has no immediate plans to run for elected office. He would devote much of his energy to reforming the political system, citing the need to expand ranked-choice voting and open primaries to all voters.

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Andrew Yang, then a New York City mayoral candidate, speaks to voters on March 9, 2021.

Andrew Yang, then a New York City mayoral candidate, speaks to voters on March 9, 2021. (Photo: Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press/Zuma Press/TNS)

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, was born in New York and attended Columbia Law School before leaving litigation to pursue several startups and nonprofits. He rose to prominence during the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential primaries, thanks in large part to his “Freedom Dividend,” a monthly $1,000 basic income payment he proposed for all American adults. Yang lost the primary, but he gained national attention and “Yang Gang” supporters as a result.

He also ran for mayor of New York City, but his campaign fizzled this summer. Yang dropped out of the New York City mayoral race in late June after it became clear that he was far behind former police officer Eric Adams.

Yang is also planning to launch a new political party called “The Forward Party,” according to Politico, Business Insider, and others last month. In the final chapter of his book, “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy,” he mentions the announcement.

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