Andrew Yang: I'm breaking up with the Democratic Party

Democratic National Convention via AP

Andrew Yang ran for President as a Democrat and then ran for Mayor of one of the country’s bluest cities as a Democrat. Now he’s ditching the Democratic Party because he’s seen enough. In a statement on his website, Yang described how he’d become a Democrat when he was 20 years old in 1995 but now he says it was never a completely comfortable fit.

My goal is to do as much as I can to advance our society. There are phenomenal public servants doing great work every day – but our system is stuck. 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…

Also, on a personal level, I’ll admit there has always been something of an odd fit between me and the Democratic Party. I’m not very ideological. I’m practical. Making partisan arguments – particularly expressing what I often see as performative sentiment – is sometimes uncomfortable for me. I often think, “Okay, what can we actually do to solve the problem?” I’m pretty sure there are others who feel the same way I do.

I’ve seen politicians publicly eviscerate each other and then act collegial or friendly backstage a few minutes later. A lot of it is theatre.

I’ve also had people publicly attack me and then text or call me privately to make sure that we were still cool. It just had to be done for appearances.

Perhaps it’s the nature of my upbringing, but I’m actually more comfortable trying to fix the system than being a part of it…

Breaking up with the Democratic Party feels like the right thing to do because I believe I can have a greater impact this way.

As far left as Yang is, he was also occasionally willing to state the obvious in a way that put him at odds with some in the party. He was a bit too unpredictable for the progressives who prefer that everyone stick to the same hymnal.

I actually like some of the things that Andrew Yang has said. For instance, during the NY mayoral race he was willing to say that chronic homelessness was a problem, not just for the homeless themselves, but for the city. He said that getting the mentally ill off the streets and into treatment would make the city more livable and pleasant. Incredibly, he took a lot of heat for saying that. The far left view is that the homeless are all victims of, well, something. And you can’t interfere with their public self-destruction in any way except to provide them with free homes and services.

As for Yang’s future, I’m not convinced he has one. We’ve all seen in the past couple weeks how the Democratic Party treats Senators who don’t fall in line. So you can imagine how much respect their likely to give to someone who isn’t a Democrat and who left the party. Ultimately, you can’t fix things you want to fix from outside the system. Independents can’t accomplish anything by themselves.

If Yang wants to see any of his ideas go somewhere, he’s going to have to find a way to sell them to the Republican Party because they really are the only other game in town. And who knows, maybe that’s where he’s headed. Leaving the Democrats behind is certainly a good start.