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Andrew Yang leaves Democratic Party, registers as independent

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/5/2021 Rachel Looker, USA TODAY
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WASHINGTON– Former Democratic presidential candidate and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is no longer a registered Democrat. 

Yang announced Monday he is leaving the Democratic Party and has changed his voter registration to independent. 

"It was a strangely emotional experience," Yang said in a post on his website on Monday. 

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Yang ran on the idea of universal basic income as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. He then ran in the 2021 New York City Democratic mayoral primary and finished in fourth. 

More: 'We’ve accomplished so much together': Andrew Yang ends his campaign for presidency

"I've been a Democrat my entire adult life," he said. "And yet, I'm confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing to do." 

He said the country's political system is stuck because of increased polarization.

"Many of the people I know are doing all the good they can – but their impact is constrained," he said. "Now that I'm not a member of one part or another, I feel like I can be even more honest about both the system and the people in it." 

POLITICO reported in September that Yang has plans to launch a third party. He is releasing a book this week titled "Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy." The new third party is called "The Forward Party" and is named in the book, Business Insider reported. 

Yang said he is not suggesting others change their voter registration to independent. He said he considered not making the change or releasing a statement for this reason. 

"So why do I feel in my heart that this is the right move? While it was simply a small piece of paperwork, I genuinely felt a shift in my mindset as soon as I signed it," he said. 

Yang described himself as more practical than ideological and said there was always an "odd fit" in the Democratic Party. 

He said a key reform necessary to the political system is a combination of open primaries and ranked choice voting. 

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Yang tweeted Monday the United States needs a more resilient system and compared the country to other nations that have more than two political parties.

"Why are we stuck at two?" he tweeted. "It makes our democracy very fragile, vulnerable and corruptible."  

His book is described as a blueprint for changing outdated political and economic systems.  

Yang launched in 2020 the nonprofit group Humanity Forward to bridge partisan divides in an effort to provide economic relief to Americans. The organization focused on matching Americans with donors to receive direct cash support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I believe I can reach people who are outside the system more effectively," Yang said. "I feel more ... independent." 

More: Andrew Yang: After coronavirus, we can build economy that works for all Americans

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Andrew Yang leaves Democratic Party, registers as independent

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