Andrew Yang Ditches Democrats, Calls for 'Dynamism' in US Politics Amid Creation of New Party
Andrew Yang, a 46-year-old entrepreneur, stepped into the political field as a 2020 presidential candidate who championed a universal basic income - particularly for workers displaced by automation. After failing to secure the Democratic party's nomination, he later entered the New York mayoral race, ultimately losing to Eric Adams.
Yang announced on Monday that he was "breaking up" with the Democratic party and going the Independent route with his future political alignment.
Though Yang's level-headed, numbers-based rhetoric was not enough to secure the Democratic nomination in both the US presidential and New York City mayoral primaries, the perennial candidate emphasized that he has gained several friends and confidants "who are entrenched in the Democratic Party."
Yang said that knowledge gained from those relationships, as well as being a Democrat for most of his adult life, made him confident in his exit from the party.
He added that his change from Democrat to Independent is a personal move to "advance our society" from a two-party system that has become convoluted and polarized.
"The key reform that is necessary to help unlock our system is a combination of Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting, which will give voters more genuine choice and our system more dynamism," he wrote.
Despite his announcement and the republishing of his content on social media, Yang asserted that he is not attempting to make anyone change their own political affiliation - especially if such a move would disenfranchise their local vote.
"I believe I can reach people who are outside the system more effectively. I feel more . . . independent," he quipped.
Yang's announcement coincides with the political hopeful's latest book release, as well as a related tour, scheduled to begin on Tuesday in New York City.
A recent excerpt from the forthcoming book, "Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy," detailed that the 2020 presidential election "messed with" his head, and shined a light on some of the qualities that his political opponents possessed.
"People talk about running for office or running for president as an act of leadership. I'm not so sure about that," Yang wrote. "I actually think that in many respects running for president requires qualities that would make you a terrible leader."
Yang noted that in US politics, the candidate is more of a product, rather than the CEO of operations.
"I was getting a crash course in how we treat the very powerful - and it was weird," he said. "But it was more than just a head rush. There are psychological consequences to being treated this way for months on end."
The excerpt leaned on a study by Dacher Keltner, of the University of California, Berkeley, which found that power had the propensity to make individuals more impulsive, reckless and dismissive of the experiences of others.
Yang's book also touches on his 'Forward Party' -- a new US political party rooted in principles such as 'fact-based governance,' 'human-centered capitalism,' and the promotion of a 'universal basic income.'