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WASHINGTON — Andrew Yang, a New York businessman who ran unsuccessfully for president and mayor of New York, announced Monday that he is leaving the Democratic Party and has changed his voter registration to “independent.”

“It was a strangely emotional experience,” Yang said in post on his website. Yang registered as a Democrat in 1995 and says he remained a “staunch Democrat” throughout his 20s and has since made many friends and confidantes in the party.

“I’m confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing,” said Yang, who dropped out of the race for New York City mayor this year after being an early front-runner.

Prior to the mayoral race, Yang launched his bid for the presidency in late 2017. A lawyer turned entrepreneur and author of a book called “The War on Normal People,” Yang appealed to voters by warning of the ills of technology— including automation and artificial intelligence.

Yang’s plan for a universal basic income— a $1,000-a-month check that he dubbed the “Freedom Dividend” — served as a bedrock for his larger vision for fixing a society he argued is deeply sickened by capitalism.

The goal of becoming an independent is “to do as much as I can to advance our society,” said Yang, who didn’t say if he’d be run again in 2024.

“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,” he adds. “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.”

Teaganne Finn

Teaganne Finn is a political reporter for NBC News.

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