Andrew Yang, Democrat for over 25 years, goes independent

Andrew Yang goes independent

Andrew Yang has officially left the Democratic Party to register as an independent voter on Monday.

Driving the news: Yang, who first rose to prominence as a Democratic presidential candidate, believes he can make a greater impact by leaving the political party. He said that the current political system is “stuck” partly due to increasing polarization and that it has constrained people’s impacts.

  • Yang, 46, registered as a Democrat in 1995 at the age of 20. He recently lost the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City.
  • The Taiwanese American entrepreneur is best known for advocating universal basic income, which was a core tenet of both his presidential and mayoral runs. But while he promised $1,000 a month for every American adult during his bid for the White House, he planned to give $2,000 a year to New York City’s lowest-income residents as mayor.
  • In a blog post announcing his decision, Yang said a necessary reform to “unlock” the system is a combination of open primaries and ranked-choice voting. He believes this will “give voters more genuine choice and our system more dynamism.”
  • On a personal level, Yang said there has always been “something of an odd fit” between him and the Democratic Party. “I’m not very ideological. I’m practical. Making partisan arguments – particularly expressing what I often see as performative sentiment – is sometimes uncomfortable for me,” he noted.

Mixed reactions: Yang’s announcement comes a day before his book, “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy,” goes on sale. His decision has drawn mixed reactions on social media, with some expressing support and others taunting him.

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  • “Good for you. I have been a lifelong Democrat. Fed up with them. Changed my party to Republican last year,” one Twitter user wrote.
  • Another commented, “I actually donated to you – twice – because I believed that you understood the profoundly disruptive role of technology to the future of work. It’s something I’m very passionate about (and have taught and written about). But, you’ve gone off the rails. Don’t splinter democracy.”
  • “I think more people should be independent,” another wrote. “While I agree with many Democratic principles, like lower healthcare costs and access, education costs, race and women’s’ rights. Not everything can fit in the same box. It’s about the ideas, not the party people should gravitate to.”
  • Yang further supported his decision in follow-up tweets. “I checked the Constitution and couldn’t find anything about political parties, two or otherwise,” he wrote in one.

Read Yang’s full blog post here.

Featured Image via Andrew Yang

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