Of the Democratic presidential contenders in 2019-20 who made it past the early days of the campaign, I thought Andrew Yang was the most interesting and the only one with any appeal. Pete Buttigieg seemed interesting for a minute. Then I realized that he’s just a standard leftist who happens to prefer having sex with other guys and speaks a lot of languages.
Tulsi Gabbard was interesting, especially when she took down Kamala Harris. However, I found her regurgitation of Bashar al-Assad’s talking points, especially the view that America was somehow to blame for his mass murders, deeply unappealing.
Yesterday, Yang left the Democratic party. He changed his registration from Democrat to independent.
Yang explains his decision in this statement. It’s mostly mush, but there is also this:
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.
Yang is saying that the Democratic party is very ideological and not practical. I think he’s also saying he sees through the Democrats’ BS.
As candidate for mayor of New York, Yang clearly saw through some of it. John Sexton recalls that Yang was willing to call chronic homelessness a problem, not just for the homeless, but for the city. He was willing to say that getting the mentally ill off the streets and into treatment would make the city more livable and pleasant.
For expressing his preference for public order, Yang took abuse from liberal Democrats. They could not stand deviation from their ideology or the search for a practical solution to the problem posed by the chronically homeless and the presence of the mentally ill on the street.
I suspect there are plenty of other left-wing absurdities that stick in Yang’s craw — ones that didn’t come up in a mayoral race. If not, there likely will be soon, now that he has broken free from the Democratic party.
Undoubtedly, Yang would lodge the same criticisms against the GOP that he alluded to against the Dems in his statement. Indeed, he would probably do so more forcefully.
But with a small but visible and vocal number of longtime Republicans having left their party, it’s good to see a prominent, thoughtful, and fairly popular Democrat doing the same thing.