Schultz: Why Democrats are nervous
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is “loudly mulling” an independent presidential bid, said Eric Levitz in NYMag.com, claiming neither party offers the “straight talk” and “fiscal realism” that would define his platform. Sorry, but “a realist” who thinks a third-party spoiler can win the Electoral College in 2020 “is a contradiction in terms.” A self-made billionaire and longtime Democratic donor, Schultz is offended that party progressives are proposing higher tax rates on the rich and socialist programs such as “Medicare for all,” which he says would explode the national debt. Schultz is playing a reckless and “cynical game,” said Greg Sargent in WashingtonPost.com. He acknowledges that Trump’s presidency has been a disaster on every level, from climate change to immigration. The real “extremism” the country can’t afford is four more years of Trump. But if Schultz runs, he’ll steal some of the anti-Trump vote from Democrats—giving the president a much greater chance of being re-elected.
Instead of being “apoplectic” that a third-party candidate might “steal” your voters, said Tiana Lowe in WashingtonExaminer.com, Democrats should “try to appeal to those voters.” If a majority of Americans really wanted a far-left candidate like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or Bernie Sanders, then a moderate like Schultz would pull at least equally from President Trump’s base. But Democratic leaders are panicking, which suggests they know that proposals for massive tax increases and nationalizing health care might not be so popular after all. “Believing Trump to be doomed” in 2020, said Kevin Williamson in NationalReview.com, Democrats want to slip a radical into the White House. Sorry, Howard, Democrats are not interested in “a sober, sensible, and neighborly alternative” to Trump.
The supposed appeal of centrists like Schultz is based on a myth, said David Leonhardt in The New York Times. “The prototypical centrist voter” is imagined as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Research shows the real median voter, represented by tens of millions of Americans, is socially conservative and fiscally liberal. A large majority of Americans oppose any cuts to Medicare or Social Security (while Schultz favors such cuts), and would welcome higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations and aggressive government action to create jobs. A third-party run by Schultz would not only be “irresponsible,’’ it would also be doomed from the start.