Andrew Yang, who ran as a Democrat for both New York City mayor and in the party’s 2020 presidential primaries, said that he’s changed his voting registration to “independent.”
“I’ve been a Democrat my entire adult life,” Yang wrote in a statement posted on his website Monday. “And yet, I’m confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing.”
He said he believes that registering as an independent would allow him to push for better reforms to the political system. Yang, a businessman, most recently mounted an unsuccessful campaign in the New York mayoral race, following his failed 2020 Democratic presidential primary run.
“My goal is to do as much as I can to advance our society,” Yang wrote. “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 has long decried the two-party system and the polarization in the country. Throughout his 2020 presidential campaign, his slogan was “not left, not right, forward.”
His presidential campaign introduced the idea of a universal basic income to a national audience through his proposed $1,000 monthly “Freedom Dividend” for all Americans.
In the letter, Yang wrote the most important reforms “necessary to help unlock our system” is a combination of open primaries and ranked choice voting. New York City used a ranked choice voting system for the first time in the mayoral primaries Yang participated in before ultimately dropping out on election night.
Yang’s latest book, “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy” will be published by Crown on Tuesday. Last month, Politico, quoting unnamed sources, reported that he was planning to establish a new political party, and that the announcement would coincide with the book’s publication.
On Twitter, Yang defended himself against suggestions that his decision to change his party registration was connected to the release.
“You know what I find odd – people accusing someone of making a decision like this out of opportunism while demonstrating that the opposite is probably true,” he wrote in a tweet.