(NEXSTAR) – Andrew Yang announced Monday that he has changed his voter registration to Independent after unsuccessful runs for president and mayor of New York City.
The former technology entrepreneur, who has become synonymous with his pitch for universal basic income, said in an essay that the political system “is stuck,” and won’t allow him to “do as much as I can to advance our society.”
“It is stuck in part because polarization is getting worse than ever,” 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 said it was a “no-brainer” for him to register as a Democrat in 1995, and he took credit for fundraising for the Democratic Party. He also praised Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and others who he says are “motivated by the right things.”
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Still, Yang said he was confident in his decision and called his presence in the Democratic Party an odd fit. He went on to call out what he said was political theater, saying, “I’ve also had people publicly attack me and then text or call me privately to make sure that we were still cool.”
Yang, the son of immigrants from Taiwan, was born in New York and attended law school at Columbia before leaving litigation to pursue several startups and nonprofits. He shot to fame during the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries in large part thanks to his “Freedom Dividend,” the monthly $1,000 basic income payment he proposed for all American adults. Yang lost the primary but gained national recognition and his “Yang Gang” supporters in the process.
He also mounted a bid for New York City mayor which ultimately fizzled this summer. In late June, Yang dropped out of the New York City mayoral race after it became clear that he lagged well behind former police officer Eric Adams.
Yang is also planning on creating a new political party called “The Forward Party,” Politico, Business Insider and others reported last month. The announcement is mentioned in the last chapter of his book, “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy.”