Who’s afraid of the big bad Schultz? Apparently, the Democrats are, and every indication suggests that they have every reason to fear Howard Schultz’s potential candidacy for president. When the former CEO of Starbucks Coffee announced that he is considering a run for the highest office in the land, the left pounced, excoriating him for endangering their 2020 chance to unseat President Donald Trump.
Schultz has not yet announced whether or not he will actually run, but he had some choice words for candidates proposing far-left policies that would move the United States closer to socialism. While Democrats are right to fear losing votes to the former executive, their fear is likely rooted in something deeper than just the 2020 election – are they worried that Schultz, or a figure like him, will become the pied piper who manages to lure away moderate voters from an increasingly extreme Democratic Party?
Democrats Freak Out Over Schultz
Shortly after Schultz stated that he might run for president, several prominent progressives lashed out at the businessman. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took to Twitter to express her disdain for the potential candidate, asking, “Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for president that they need to ‘work their way up’ or that ‘maybe they should start with city council first’?”
Jim Messina, who ran President Obama’s 2012 campaign, told Axios: “[Schultz] can’t win, and he could seriously damage our ability to beat Donald Trump. He should either run as a Democrat or spend his time and money doing something that won’t ruin the world.” Phillipe Reines, a former advisor to Hillary Clinton, agreed, calling Schultz a “jackass” and adding, “He’s arrogant and wealthy — and those people tend to not see the world as it is.”
The media establishment also piled on, launching a smear campaign designed to discredit Schultz. The Washington Post slammed him in a piece titled “Howard Schultz’s soft-spoken libertarianism will lead him nowhere.” The New York Times followed suit with a piece titled “Howard Schultz Doesn’t Understand American History,” and Politico published an article claiming that Schultz’s announcement is a “Venti-Sized Disaster.”
Why Are They So Afraid?
After Schultz made his announcement, he proceeded to lambast the Democratic Party in a series of interviews for its embrace of far-left progressive policies. He criticized Rep. Ocasio-Cortez for being a “bit misinformed” when it comes to her proposal to levy a 70% tax on the wealthy. In an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition, Schultz also called out Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her plan to place a 2% annual tax on Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million, calling it “ridiculous.” He stated that Warren’s idea was merely a way to get a “good headline,” adding, “she knows for a fact it’s not ever going to be passed.”
Of course, one might expect Schultz to disapprove of wealth taxes, given that he himself is a billionaire. But then he turned his ire to Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who recently suggested that the U.S. implement universal healthcare and end private insurance. “That is the kind of extreme policy that is not a policy that I agree with,” he said in an appearance on “The View.” Later, on CBS, he repeated his criticism of Harris’ proposal. “What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?”
So why would the left be so terrified by Schultz’s criticisms? After all, isn’t he just making the same points as conservatives often do? Perhaps the issue isn’t his arguments, but the fact that that majority of Democratic voters agree with him. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 54% of Democrats and left-leaning independents would prefer that the party move more to the center, while 41% want to see the party move further left.
…Democrats will likely have two choices for president: Trump or a radical leftist.
Democratic leaders are well aware that most of their base is not on board with the party’s shift closer to socialism, and Schultz – who happens to be a well-known liberal – is giving a voice to moderate Democrats who are not represented by Harris, Ocasio-Cortez, and Warren. If Schultz decides not to throw his hat – or coffee cup – into the ring, Democrats will likely have two choices for president: Trump or a radical leftist.
Schultz has not yet outlined the policies on which he would run, but he has not been shy about sharing his political opinions. He has indicated that while he does not support universal healthcare, he does approve of the Affordable Care Act. He has also stated that he wishes to cut the national debt but has not described how he would make this a reality. On immigration, Schultz wishes to legalize DACA recipients, and he opposes the border wall.
If Schultz decides to run for president, he may attract votes from moderate Democrats and perhaps some left-leaning voters who supported Trump. But the Democratic Party will receive the brunt of the impact. While it is unlikely that Schultz would win the election, his presence could signify a backlash against the Democratic Party’s extreme move to the left.