Former presidential candidate and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang left the Democrats on Monday, calling it “the right thing to do” because he says he can have “a greater impact” as an independent.
Calling it “a strangely emotional experience,” Yang says he registered as a Democrat at age 20 to vote for Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection.
The onetime 2020 contender plans to launch a third party called Forward, according to POLITICO. Or as Yang himself put it, “My political homelessness will last approximately 1 day.”
Yang is also releasing a new book this week titled, Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy. In it, he’s pushing two election reforms: open primaries and ranked-choice voting.
Open primaries allow anyone of any political affiliation to vote in any party’s primary election. This crossover voting is supposed to somehow empower independent voters, supposedly because it will lead to more parties.
Ranked-choice voting is already used in a few places, like New York City. Its main benefit seems to be drawing out the conclusion of any given election. Given how few people still have faith and trust in our elections, ranked-choice seems to me to be a bad idea.
Despite launching his presidential bid early, all the way back in 2017, Yang failed to impress Democratic primary voters. He dropped out on the night of the second contest, in New Hampshire, where he failed to capture as little as 3% of the vote. That dismal result came quickly after a similarly weak showing in the Iowa Caucuses, where he got just 5%.
Earlier this year, Yang took part as a Democrat in New York City’s mayoral race, only to come in a distant fourth place.
Yang failed to click with voters because his wonky solutions for most everything — universal basic income, “Make America Think Harder” — were just out of sync with an increasingly radicalized and racialized Democratic Party.
So Yang might be leaving the Democrats, but it’s not certain whether they’ll notice.