It was inevitable that some socially liberal, economically center-right billionaire would run for president. So Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, has nominated himself.
This is sheer poison. His story, that voters are hungering for a moderate who can solve problems, is malarkey. Here’s what Schultz told The New York Times:
“We have a broken political system with both parties basically in business to preserve their own ideology without a recognition and responsibility to represent the interests of the American people,” Mr. Schultz said in the interview.
“Republicans and Democrats alike—who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left—are looking for a home.”
No, Howard, we don’t have a “broken political system.” We do have a broken economic system.
Politically, we have wall-to-wall Republican obstruction. And after three Democratic administrations that were far too Wall Street-afflicted, we are finally recovering a Democratic Party committed to working to benefit regular Americans.
Schultz could really screw that up. He is a social liberal who opposed Seattle’s $15 minimum wage—just what we don’t need. The political problem is that lots of suburban moderates, who defected to the Democrats in 2018 out of disgust with Trump, could vote for a guy like Schultz. And in a three-way, Trump could even get re-elected.
There is a long and depressing history of independents running as spoilers. The only time it broke to the advantage of the Democrats was in 1992, when the whacko H. Ross Perot took more votes from George H.W. Bush and helped Bill Clinton get elected with just 43 percent of the popular vote. In 2020, it would help Trump, because his hard-core 35 percent is not going to defect to support a Seattle latte billionaire.
There is already some chatter on social media about a Starbucks boycott. I’m not sure that would do the trick—he’s no longer CEO—but a billionaire centrist proposing to save America from Trump is the last thing America needs in 2020.
Starbucks has a history of creating demands for products that consumers didn’t know they needed. They should gag on this one.