Andrew Yang, former presidential hopeful and 2021 candidate for mayor of New York City, announced his official departure from the Democratic Party on Tuesday, ahead of the expected launch of his new third party.
In a statement on his website, Yang described the “strangely emotional” experience of changing his registration to become an independent voter after having been a Democrat since 1995.
“Breaking up with the Democratic Party feels like the right thing to do because I believe I can have a greater impact this way,” he said.
He added that he was “confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing.”
“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.
He said it had been a “no-brainer” to become a Democrat more than 25 years ago because he went to a college that was “very liberal” and lived in New York City where “everyone around me was a Democrat.”
Shortly after the announcement, Yang tweeted that his “political homelessness” would be short-lived.
He is expected to launch a new third party called “The Forward Party” on October 5, in tandem with the release of his new book, “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy.”
Yang writes in the book that the new party will be governed by “fact-based governance” and “human-centered capitalism” and will promote a universal basic income.
The one-time presidential candidate has taken some unconventional positions for a Democrat in the past, including his opposition to the Defund the Police movement amid rising crime in New York City and his support of Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks by Hamas earlier this year. He ultimately retracted his statement in support of Israel, however, after progressives launched a hashtag campaign accusing him of sympathizing with genocide.