Fear of Schultz exposes Democrats’ problem
By now, we’ve all heard it, billionaire Howard Schultz is toying with the idea of running as an independent for president.
You know this by the handwringing, kicking and screaming coming from Democrats. He’s going to split the vote, and guarantee Donald Trump a second term, they fear.
But instead of taking a good, hard look at themselves, and examining how that is possible, they’d rather try to push him out of the race.
Why do they fear him? Because he is a centrist. Because he doesn’t subscribe to the hard-left turn the party has decided to take heading into 2020.
It seems many Democrats have decided the best way to defeat Trump is to offer a free lunch. They realize that is unappetizing to the centrists in their party, but those folks will swallow the bitter pill of socialism, and whatever candidate the party throws their way, just to get him out of the Oval Office.
You’ve got to admit, it’s sounds like a pretty good strategy. Hold the majority of the party hostage to get your way. Anybody but Trump in 2020. A Howard Schultz throws a monkey wrench into that plan.
Because he asks, “how will you pay for it?” He points out there is no such thing as a free ride. He questions the 70 percent tax rate. He’s the worst of all possibilities: socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. He doesn’t think “billionaire” is a dirty word, and reminds centrists that maybe “socialism” is. He gives them an alternative.
And so declared and undeclared candidates, and willing pundits who do their work for them, come out of the woodwork to tear him down. To remind everyone that independents can’t win, that Starbucks is evil (while they slowly hide their grande latte behind their back), that Bloomberg crunched the numbers and proved them right.
Yeah, OK, I get it. He has a lot of money, and he’s done some things that get people really mad. But, he says some interesting stuff and if he can move the conversation, I’m all for his exploration of a run. In the end, he may prove to be a paper tiger, but I am desperate for an alternative to the status quo. Few things have been as detrimental to our nation as the two party duopoly, and that goes back to the founders.
Democrats and Republicans may not agree on much, but they certainly agree on preserving their own “phony-baloney jobs,” to borrow from Blazing Saddles’ Gov. Lepetomane. That’s why they collude on who gets on the debate stage and limit ballot access.
Oh, and did I mention the dark money? What’s that, you ask? Dark money is money spent on political causes by groups that are not required by law to disclose their donors. $150 million in dark money was spent on the 2018 midterm elections, according to an analysis from Issue One. Fifty-four percent of that was from liberal groups, I might add. Thirty-one percent came from conservative groups, while just 15 percent came from bipartisan or nonpartisan groups.
And the media gleefully play into it. Desperate for a gotcha “Aleppo moment” like the one used to derail the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson last go-round, “Morning Joe’s” Mika Brzezinski asked Schultz how much a box of Cheerios cost to prove he was “out of touch.” You know what Mika? I have no idea either. I don’t eat breakfast.
Something needs to change. Pie in the sky? I’d like to think a guy with that much cash could break the duopoly, but I’m also a realist. Third party and independent runs have been largely unsuccessful. Unless someone can challenge the constitutionality of the bi-partisan Commission On Presidential Debates or ballot access rules, little will change. Third parties and independents will be marginalized. They won’t get the money. You can’t fight city hall.
But, maybe you can force some reality on the parties. Particularly, in this case, on the Democrats. I still adamantly believe you cannot win by playing to the base, and unfortunately, that is the Democrats’ strategy here. You have to make a play for the voter in the middle. Those voters swung to Trump in 2016, largely because of the unappealing qualities of the candidate the Democrats nominated.
Republicans recognized that. Thus, they swallowed the bitter Trump pill, because they saw their path to victory and an opportunity to get what they wanted. Control over the judiciary.
Democrats have misread that. Rather than see support for her primary opponent as “anyone but Clinton,” they have embraced his ideology as a path to success.
That, more than anything, will lead to their failure in 2020. If a Howard Schultz exposes that, more power to him. If Democrats truly want to derail a Schultz movement, they have to make a play for the center. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be a lot of fun, but she is not going to win a national election.
A Schultz run will no more hand the presidency to Trump than Stein or Johnson did. Thirty-four percent approval rating? If you can’t beat those odds, you only have one place to point the finger.
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not win by playing to the extremes. A lot of people held their noses and voted for Trump. Find someone they would rather vote for.
You want to beat Trump? Appeal to the center. Build a better mousetrap, or in this case, find a better candidate.
Originally published at www.cdsix.com.