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Andrew Yang Says Goodbye to the Democratic Party

Created: 04 October, 2021
Updated: 14 August, 2022
2 min read

After 26 years as a registered Democrat, Andrew Yang has announced he is breaking up with the party. Yang published a statement Monday that says he wants to be a catalyst for change and advancement in the US political system, but sees that he cannot do it from the inside.

“There are phenomenal public servants doing great work every day – but our system is stuck,” he said.  

“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 first garnered national attention when he ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election. He then ran to become the next mayor of New York City in 2021. Neither campaign was successful.

However, he launched his 2020 presidential bit with a platform focused on fixing a system that so many voters could see was clearly broken. He advocated for reforms like ranked choice voting (RCV) and open primaries to fix deeper systemic problems that have left so many feeling unrepresented and disenfranchised.

In his statement Monday, Yang said the combination of RCV and open primaries is necessary to provide a better system of governance and to give voters genuine choice in elections. 

“It will also prevent the spoiler effect that so many Democrats are concerned about,” he stated, “which is a byproduct of a two party system with a binary contest and simple plurality voting.”

He also said that while he has been a Democrat his entire adult life, he always felt like “an odd fit.” He added that he is sometimes uncomfortable making partisan arguments, and has never been very ideological. Now that he has left the party, he feels more independent and can reach people outside the parties more effectively.

How Yang will bolster his involvement in the reform space remains to be seen. However, his advocacy for ranked choice voting and open primaries has helped propel these efforts to the national stage, and greater awareness is bringing more Americans across the political spectrum to the cause of establishing a political system that will put the needs of voters above the private interests of political parties.