What does America need in our next president, starting in 2020? Naturally, many things, but most people would start with a literate person who understands how the country (and its government) works. Also, someone who doesn’t reek of corruption would be a nice change.
Using that as a starting point, you can safely say the last thing America needs is an out-of-touch billionaire who never passed a law and hasn’t bought a box of Cheerios in the last 10 years.
But that’s not what former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz thinks. Ahead of a media blitz Schultz and his handlers arranged for his new book, the businessman dropped this message on Twitter (of all places).
As of January 31, Schultz had 47,000 replies to his 4,000 retweets and 25,000 “likes” on the site. For those who aren’t heavy Twitter users, that ratio means one thing: Folks hate your idea.
While Schultz has made the rounds on MSNBC, Fox News, and every other news network, he’s gotten push-back from pundits and many of his theoretical constituents. Somehow, that’s only made Schultz more convinced his time is now — whether people want it or not.
In essence, he’s taking the approach Michael Bloomberg (another billionaire) did in 2009 and deciding whether he should buy himself a political future or not.
The opposite of ‘Run Howard Run’
Since countless millions of voters avoid Twitter, Schultz might be forgiven for thinking the backlash was getting more hype than it would in, say, a scientific poll.
“I must be doing something right to create so much interest and backlash from the Democratic Party,” he told the gang at Morning Joe on his press tour earlier this week. Then again, maybe it was what it seemed — like he’d been doing everything wrong.
Take, for example, what Schultz brought to the table during a stop at Fox News headquarters on the subject of Medicare for All:
To come out with the suggestion that we’re somehow going to eliminate, eradicate the insurance industry is just … it’s, it’s, it’s such a … it’s so false, and it speaks to the level of politics we have now …
It’s not reasonable. It’s not thoughtful. It’s not truthful. It’s what’s wrong.
Stammering and stumbling aside, it might strike anyone who follows politics as an odd view of the U.S. electorate in 2019. Indeed, a late-January Kaiser Health survey found 57% of Americans favoring exactly that: Medicare for every American and the elimination of private insurance.
When the survey added the option to keep your private insurance and expand Medicare, the chunk of people approving soared to 74%. Obviously, the numbers go even higher when looking at Democratic voters. (Even a majority of GOP voters support Medicare for All now.)
Folks facing insurmountable debt for the same medical procedures people in Canada easily afford might wonder where Schultz is getting his information. And they’d have every right to treat Schultz’s candidacy for what it is: the best way to re-elect Donald Trump.
A compelling case against Schultz
Bad policy ideas aside, there’s an even better reason to hate the idea of Schultz running — most see it as Trump’s only path to re-election. That’s because third-party candidates have swung at least two elections in the past 30 years.
Clearly, the standout is 2000, when Ralph Nader’s candidacy siphoned enough votes to sink Al Gore in the electoral college. (Gore won the popular vote.)
Meanwhile, though many argue Clinton would have beat the unpopular George H.W. Bush anyway in 1992, the Ross Perot candidacy didn’t hurt. (Clinton’s win marked a rare victory over an incumbent.)
As Trump’s approval numbers remain underwater and re-election looks increasingly unlikely, his best shot is someone like Schultz getting into the race. Which is probably why Trump got so excited at the prospect.
Meanwhile, another billionaire few want running for president offered his own view after years of polling and consideration.
Why would Schultz listen to the voters, billionaire business leaders, and America as a whole? He certainly doesn’t have to — and that’s why he clearly has no place running for president.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t. As he said, he’s only encouraged by the lack of support.
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