Why Democrats Should Not Worry About A Howard Schultz Presidential Bid
Before jumping into this topic, I just want to apologize for the long drought since my last blog post in October 2018. I have been writing a book for the past 2 years and I finally decided buckle down in the last quarter of 2018 and finish it. It is currently being edited and should go to print within the next 3-6 months. Since I am an anonymous political blogger, you will not know which book it will be but there is a good chance you may end up reading it. At any rate, thanks for your patience.
So much has gone on in the American political scene since I last blogged. In Trump world, it is hard to keep up even on a weekly basis, let alone monthly or longer. With Michael Cohen dominating the news the past couple of days (well, much longer, but not to this degree), today’s blog topic, the presidential bid of Starbucks Billionaire Howard Schultz, may seem mundane by comparison, but I assure you that they are related.
When the reporting first got out that Howard Schultz may run for President as a third party candidate, many democrats started to become unraveled at the prospect. Their rationale was that Howard Schultz was an outspoken supporter of President Obama and generally had identified more with the democratic party. As such, similarly to Ralph Nader leeching away votes from Al Gore in the 2000 election arguably contributing to a George W Bush win, democrats fear that the same effect will take place in 2020 with Schultz taking votes away from the ultimate democratic candidate for President.
However, circumstances are very different this time around. First, Al Gore was handicapped by the stain of President Clinton’s moral indiscretions to the extent that he did not have the sitting President actively campaign for him. President Clinton survived his moral crisis simply because of the thriving economy, bull market, and federal budget surplus. Democrats and independents voted for him but many did not particularly like him.
President Trump, on the other hand, between his constant lies, glaring misogyny, racial insensitivity, near constant scandal, and moral character that make President Clinton look like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood (sorry, Millenials, you may not get that reference), has maintained dismal approval ratings from the outset of his presidency. This means that moderate republicans and independents really do not like him. While Trump’s strangle hold on the republican party that shamelessly continues to enable him stems from his unshakable mostly extreme right wing base seem willing to forgive any of his trashing of decor, moral fortitude, while believing (or overlooking) the constant stream of lies from this president, extreme bases do not win general elections and he has made zero inroads with moderates and independents. In fact, polling suggests that the polar opposite is true.
Howard Schultz may have democratic leanings, but he is no partisan. He is socially liberal while maintaining moderately conservative economic views and is already positioning himself as a moderate that is a great fit for democrats seeking to pass legislation that may well draw bipartisan support, as well as republicans seeking an alternative to Trump but are wary of the democratic shift further left in the wake of Trump. Ralph Nader, on the other hand was no moderate, championing the environment and consumer regulation as his chief platforms, both very popular democratic policy considerations. Thus, this is very different situation that Gore v Bush.
With a democratic party fed up with Trumpism and clearly not showing an appetite for moderation, it is unlikely that a significant percentage of democrats will be drawn to a moderate billionaire like Howard Schultz. To the contrary, Howard Schultz would be more likely to siphon off moderate republicans voters suffering from Trump fatigue but also would entertain an alternative candidate that is not too liberal.
Subsequently, strictly from a political perspective, democrats should really embrace a Howard Schultz presidential run rather than fear it. From a fair and just democracy perspective, we should never discourage or attempt to bully anyone from running for public office.