Andrew Yang says he changed his party registration on Monday.
Yang switched from the Democratic Party to being registered as an independent.
He’s also rolling out his new venture, The Forward Party.
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Former Democratic presidential and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is a Democrat no more, he declared in a blog post on Monday.
„I changed my voting registration from ‘Democrat’ to ‘Independent’ today,” Yang writes in the post on his website. „It was a strangely emotional experience.”
Yang is creating a third party called „The Forward Party,” the name of which was revealed by Insider in September from an early copy of his forthcoming book.
In the book, Yang describes what he sees as an increasingly dangerous state of decline caused by the „duopoly” of Democrats and Republicans as the two major political parties in the US.
Yang did not have any harsh words for Democrats in his post, naming several local and federal politicians from the party whom he considers friends and well-intentioned public servants.
„Also, on a personal level, I’ll admit there has always been something of an odd fit between me and the Democratic Party,” Yang writes. „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.”
At another point in the blog post, Yang clarifies that he isn’t asking for an en masse defection from the Democratic Party.
„Please, keep in mind that I am NOT suggesting that you also change your voter registration to Independent, as I have done,” he writes. „Doing so could disenfranchise you if you live in the 83% of the country that is very blue or very red. For this reason, I considered either not making this change or not talking about it.”
One of the main policy priorities for The Forward Party is pushing for more states to implement ranked choice voting, a new system Yang ran under during his 4th place finish in the Democratic NYC mayoral primary.
Yang also calls for open primaries in the book, which would allow members of any party to seek nominations to get on the ballot instead of the closed system used throughout much of the country, where only registered Democrats or Republicans can run against each other before the general election.
Recounting some of his early inspirations as a Democrat, Yang cites Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who along with Maine’s Sen. Angus King are the Senate’s only two independents. Both caucus with the Democrats, and Sanders sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and 2020.
As a presidential candidate, Yang proposed that every American adult should receive $1,000 a month in universal basic income to fight poverty and also begin recognizing the economic value of adults who care for children, an idea that quickly gained bipartisan support.
Yang’s third party will need to be registered state-by-state, and the book outlines how the outfit’s aim will be geared more toward breaking the gridlock and polarization between Democrats and Republicans by pushing for policies like ranked choice voting and open primaries.
„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 writes. „Am I right? Let’s find out. Together.”