Andrew Yang leaves Democratic Party to become an independent

Former presidential and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is leaving the Democratic Party, he announced this week. 

Yang said in a Medium post that he changed his voting registration from “Democrat” to “Independent” on Monday after being a registered Democrat for 20 years. 

“I have at this point dozens of friends and confidantes who are entrenched in the Democratic Party. I’ve been a Democrat my entire adult life,” Yang wrote in “Breaking up with the Democratic Party.” “And yet, I’m confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing.”

Yang blasted a “stuck” political system, and polarization that is worse than ever. He called for a combination of open primaries and ranked-choice voting, as practical steps toward improving that system.

“I believe I can reach people who are outside the system more effectively. I feel more … independent,” he wrote. “Also, on a personal level, I’ll admit there has always been something of an odd fit between me 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. I often think, ‘Okay, what can we actually do to solve the problem?’ I’m pretty sure there are others who feel the same way I do.”

While he was one of the many Democratic primary contenders, Yang pushed for a political system that is more responsive to those being left behind by technological changes, and for a universal basic income. He wanted the government to give every American $1,000 a month. Yang dropped out of the presidential primaries in February 2020. He also ran for New York City mayor as a Democrat. 

“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 wrote Monday. “Am I right? Let’s find out. Together.”