Andrew Yang, the businessman who ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primary before dropping out and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, reportedly no longer identifies as a Democrat and will be starting a new political party.
Yang, 46, plans to announce the start of his new party next month, according to POLITICO, which spoke to two sources familiar with the matter. Business Insider, citing a source familiar with the plan, reports that the party will be aimed at centrists.
It’s unclear whether Yang has already left the Democratic Party — which he identified with during his rise to prominence — or what role he sees the new party playing in politics going forward.
The move will coincide with the launch of Yang’s new book, “Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy,” which will be released on October 5, less than a month before the New York City mayoral election. Yang dropped out of the New York City race after finishing poorly in the Democratic Primary, in which he trailed several candidates.
It’s not clear what kind of platform Yang’s political party will run on, or whether it will be focused on local races, national races, or something else. During the 2020 Democratic primary, however, Yang championed the idea of a Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month for every American adult — a policy he dubbed the Freedom Dividend — to prepare against automation.
“By 2015, automation had already destroyed four million manufacturing jobs, and the smartest people in the world now predict that a third of all working Americans will lose their job to automation in the next 12 years,” said Yang’s campaign website. “Our current policies are not equipped to handle this crisis. Even our most forward-thinking politicians are unprepared.”
Yang dropped out of the primary after a disappointing showing in New Hampshire. The following month, he endorsed Biden for president, calling him “the right man for the job to help us not just defeat Donald Trump, but govern the country in the years ahead,” as CNN reported at the time.
“I believe that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee and I’ve always said I’m going to support whoever the nominee is,” explained Yang after Biden had won Democratic primaries in several state contests. “So I hereby am endorsing Joe Biden to be not just the nominee for the Democratic Party but the next President of the United States.”
Following his endorsement, Yang implied during an interview with TIME Magazine that he had engaged in discussions with the Biden team about serving in a potential administration.
“We’ve had general conversations about the fact that Joe would like me to play a role and be helpful, yes,” he said. “I’m driven to help Joe win. And I think that we’re going to need all hands on deck to help clean up the historic crises that [we’re] in the midst of.”
Yang ultimately did not end up serving in the Biden administration, and subsequently launched an unsuccessful bid in the New York City mayoral race’s Democratic primary.