WASHINGTON, DC: Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz has put terror in the heart of the Democrat Party by launching an independent bid for President in 2020. Shultz has sent shockwaves through the power structure of the DNC, amidst a full-throated denunciation of his efforts that he will split the anti-Trump vote and re-elect Donald Trump.
Schultz denounces Democrat lurch to the far left
Shultz makes the obvious conclusion that the Democrat Party is lurching far to the left on major issues. He denounces “Medicare for all” as unsustainable, illogical, and dishonest. Schultz is deeply concerned with the national debt, now approaching 23 trillion dollars.
He believes Democrats and Republicans have completely abrogated their responsibility to govern. Schultz denounces the Democrat Party as unreasonable, and its self-destructive lurch to the far left, embracing openly socialist policies.
Shultz: addressing the big issues
He thinks only an independent voice separate from Donald Trump, who he despises, and the current socialist wing of the Democrat party can steer the country back to addressing the big issues that desperately need immediate attention.
Social Security, Medicare, the National Debt, Immigration, and Federal Spending have all been ignored for decades. Shultz believes a crucible is coming, and that essential problems are not being addressed.
Schultz is worth around 4 billion dollars, largely on the basis of his Starbucks empire. He grew up poor, a Jewish boy in Brooklyn. His parents struggled. Schultz is a self-made man. But he remembers where he came from.
As CEO of Starbucks he provided health care benefits, stock ownership programs, and college tuition for all Starbucks employees.
High powered political consultants on board
Schultz is willing to wage a two-year campaign to get on the ballot in all 50 states. Schultz has hired top DC political talent, including Bill Burton from Barack Obama’s camp, and Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain’s presidential campaign.
Schultz’s exploratory launch received massive media attention and a firestorm of criticism. He was immediately attacked by every major media outlet aligned with the Democrat party. Schultz was heckled at one of his first public appearances in a clip that immediately went viral and was repeated thousands of times on major TV networks.
He was certain to throw the election to Trump. Pundits were certain he couldn’t win. He was another Ralph Nader. It was yet another billionaire ego trip. He was a spoiler. Why didn’t he just run as a Democrat?
Democrat Party has left centrist voters behind
He made that abundantly clear. The Democrat Party had left all level of reason and logic behind. They had given in to the furthest fringe elements of political discourse, leaving a gaping hole in the electorate.
For Shultz, a Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren as the Democrat nominee pursuing an outwardly socialist agenda was not only dishonest and unworkable but also a sure-fire loser with the electorate.
Democrats are outraged, but its their own fault. Schultz has a long road ahead of him to even get on the ballot. He has promised to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to the effort.
Bill Burton and Steve Schmidt: money to spend
Schmidt and Burton are heavyweight political consultants, who are happy to spend Schultz’s money. But Schultz is under no illusions. Dana Perino on Fox asked Schultz point blank if this wasn’t just a vanity effort to make his consultants a lot of money.
His response was telling. He isn’t doing this as a lark. Schultz is serious. He has the resources to do it. As we speak he has staff throughout the country beginning the arduous process of collecting signatures. If he gets on the ballot in each state that is half the battle.
Legacy of Lincoln in 1856 and Wilson in 1912
Then there is his impact on the race. If Democrats aren’t careful they may end up the 2020 election in a third place like Taft in 1912. They may even end up like the Whigs of the 1850’s, whose extremism and self-destruction as an exhausted viable political force birthed the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln.
Schultz may be to the Democrats what Lincoln was to the Whigs. He believes he will be the Woodrow Wilson in a three-way contest, and not the Teddy Roosevelt. People forget that President Taft came in third in 1912, behind Teddy Roosevelt’s upstart Bull Moose Party, who came in second. Wilson won the election by splitting the Republican vote.
Democrats: a third-place finish
That is the scenario Democrats fear. Shultz will split the vote and allow Trump to be reelected. Schultz argues that he will pull as many Republicans as he will Democrats and that he will pull a lion share of the independent vote.
Shultz sees his candidacy as more like Lincoln and Wilson. He doesn’t see himself as the spoiler. He sees the Democrat party as hopelessly swung to the hard left, while at the same time being hopelessly hypocritical in its pronouncements and policies.
Kamala Harris and Elisabeth Warren: Extreme and dishonest
He sees the Kamala Harris’s and Elizabeth Warrens of the party as being fundamentally dishonest. To Schultz’s credit he cannot bring himself to join in the game of self-delusion. He is passionate and honest in describing his views on the issues.
Schultz is adamant that government address the critical issues in front of them. He finds the political process broken down and does not care in the least what his efforts mean to the Democrat Party. Howard Shultz actually believes he can pull this off and says not to underestimate him.
He may be right.
Is Shultz delusional?
He may also be fundamentally delusional. Burton and Schmidt may spend a couple hundred million of his dollars and move on to their next deep-pocketed egotistical self-funded client. He may find, as Tom Steyer did, that spending 100 million dollars on Need to Impeach advertising campaigns may not pay off with a successful Presidential run.
But Shultz seems more serious than most. He is getting media attention. His efforts are being treated seriously by the media. That is bad news for Democrats. And it may be very good news for Donald Trump.
Ross Perot to Jill Stein
History suggests that the Ross Perot’s, John Anderson’s and the Ralph Nader’s and Jill Stein’s of the world are more nuisances than a threat, tipping elections in crucial states out of ego and delusion.
But no political party has the right to exist. Evolutions occur. Parties split. Democracy is messy. Third parties can win electoral votes, as George Wallace did in 1968. They can easily sway the outcome of elections in a large number of states.
Schultz despises President Trump, and his blindness to the degree of success of the Trump economy may be a function of his distaste for the President. But Shultz may find he has more in common with Trump on a lot of issues. Moreover, his pretext of running as a centrist independent who can solve problems may have problems in itself.
The run is not without its problems
If he were elected, unless he ran a slate of Congressional and Senate candidates under a new party, he would be isolated in Washington. The knives would be out for him as quickly as they were for Donald Trump. But that is a scenario that is a long way off. At this point he seems to be mounting an independent bid, not building a new party.
For now, Schultz is intent on pursuing it. He is a reasonable man who makes sense on a lot of levels. Addressing the debt, social security, health care, and federal spending is not a can that can be kicked down the road anymore.
Will Shultz end up like Woodrow Wilson or Ralph Nader
Pursuing the policies of the hard left Democrat Party will lead to economic ruin. Shultz’s run is as much a repudiation of the Democrat Party as it is a plea for progress on the great issues facing America.
Whether he is Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Ross Perot, or Ralph Nader and what impact he has on the election is yet to be determined. He may be underestimating Donald Trump, just as he claims to be underestimated by Democrats.
One dynamic that could occur is that the election may be between Donald Trump and Howard Shultz, with the Democrat nominee being the trailing 3rd place candidate in the General election.
The demise of the Democrat Party
That would be confirmation of the clear signal of a Democrat party gone too far to the left. Of an American political system badly in need of some logical functionality. Of an end to partisan warfare. However, it may also signal the re-election of Donald Trump.
That is what is killing Democrats. Nonetheless, it’s their own fault.
Shultz is brutally honest about the failings of the Democrat party. He is equally brutal in his view of Donald Trump as somehow loathsome. His clarity, on the one hand, may end up being a fatal blind spot on the other.
Hercules or Man of La Mancha
The efforts ahead will be necessarily Herculean on his part in order to succeed. Many would say his quest is closer to Don Quixote and Man of La Mancha. He does not believe he is on a fool’s errand. The odds are against him.
Either way, Shultz will have an impact. At the very least he will force Democrats to be honest about how irrelevant their policy objectives have become to the body politic. Particularly when faced with the cold reality of economics that Democrats never seem to understand.