Andrew Yang has posted a piece about leaving the Democratic Party. Like everything else he says and does, it is not particularly interesting and could have been written by David Brooks.
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.
This is rich coming from a man whose signature policy is protecting us from a robot uprising by spending trillions a year on universal basic income. Every other problem can be solved by a smaller version of this. Practical and non-ideological, indeed.
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.
To be fair, this is totally true. His distaste for this is one reason he repeatedly lost primaries. (The others being that he was not remotely qualified and did not have deep political roots.) Being successful in politics, especially for the high-profile roles he chases, does require a certain level of sociopathy, a willingness to speak out of both sides of one’s mouth and live inside a web of ever-shifting allegiances. It is probably best for the Yangs that Andrew lacks this quality. It is also probably best for the polity.
He isn’t totally crammed full of bad ideas. We’ve already covered UBI, which has a lot going for it, even if his implementation is unworkable. He’s also one of the more prominent voices advocating for electoral reforms.
The key reform that is necessary to help unlock our system is a combination of Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting, which will give voters more genuine choice and our system more dynamism. It will also prevent the spoiler effect that so many Democrats are concerned about, which is a byproduct of a two party system with a binary contest and simple plurality voting.
First-past-the-post voting is probably bad, and while I have my complaints about instant-runoff, hey, it’s an improvement. Open primaries, I genuinely have no opinion on right now, but there’s plenty of social science out there to back up his take.
Mostly, though, Yang’s post is not about any of this. It is about how great he feels being an independent.
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.[…] I believe I can reach people who are outside the system more effectively. I feel more . . . independent.
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.[…] I’ve got to say it feels really good to be building my own team. This is where I’m most at home.
Recently, in an interview I commented that I wasn’t particularly driven by a desire to hold office. I’m working for impact.
Breaking up with the Democratic Party feels like the right thing to do because I believe I can have a greater impact this way.
Am I right? Let’s find out. Together.
The fiercely independent Yang, who had been a Democrat since 1995, seems to have finally found his voice. I will say he has some curious timing. If you were somebody who thought you had a lot of influence in politics, and whose signature idea was “give people money”, would you tap out right as one of the biggest giving-people-money bills in history was being negotiated? You might–if you had a book to sell.
solved it pic.twitter.com/Tfb92L3A0K
— James Frye (@JamesFrye) October 4, 2021
(Looks like you might need to click through to see the whole image. tldr; his book comes out tomorrow.)