Former presidential hopeful Andrew Yang announced Monday that he’s breaking with Democratic Party and becoming an Independent. “I changed my voting registration from ‘Democrat’ to ‘Independent’ today. It was a strangely emotional experience, he wrote on his blog. I’m confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing.”
Yang registered as a Democrat back in 1995 and voted for Bill Clinton’s re-election. He said everyone around was a Democrat. That has changed after his presidential run in 2020. He wants to have more open primaries and ranked-choice voting. In turn, this would give voters a more “genuine choice and our system more dynamism.”
The cornerstone of Yang’s platform was the universal basic income (UBI) when he was running for president. UBI would be a “form of social security that guarantees a certain amount of money to every citizen within a given governed population, without having to pass a test or fulfill a work requirement.” He was against tuition-free proposals for colleges.
“My goal is to do as much as I can to advance our society. There are phenomenal public servants doing great work every day – but our system is stuck. It is stuck in part because polarization is getting worse than ever. Many of the people I know are doing all of the good they can – but their impact is constrained. Now that I’m not a member of one party or another, I feel like I can be even more honest about both the system and the people in it.”
Yang, who finished fourth in the Democratic primary, was not impressed with the drama experienced within the party when running. “I’ve seen politicians publicly eviscerate each other and then act collegial or friendly backstage a few minutes later. A lot of it is theatre. I’ve also had people publicly attack me and then text or call me privately to make sure that we were still cool. It just had to be done for appearances. Perhaps it’s the nature of my upbringing, but I’m actually more comfortable trying to fix the system than being a part of it.”
Also a 2021 candidate for mayor of New York City, Yang’s book Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy will be released in October, discussing his 2020 presidential campaign, UBI and the threat of job automation.
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