The tormented conflict between rigid progressive ideology and practical political reality has sparked another kerfuffle in the Democratic ranks. The party filled with grassroots supporters demanding a leftist standard bearer in 2020 is furious that a potential candidate claiming to hold more moderate views feels he has no place among the radicals and is mulling an independent run.
…deep-seated progressive hostility to Schultz’s moderate economic views…
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has announced that he is seriously considering launching a “centrist” campaign for the White House aimed at attracting both Republicans and Democrats. This has thrown Trump-obsessed progressives into a tizzy. They correctly see the socially left-leaning Schultz, who tried to mold Starbucks into the flagship corporation for “wokeness” during his tenure there, as far more likely to siphon votes away from a Democratic candidate than from President Trump.
How Dare You?
For that reason, Dems beseech him to “pick a party” or swear off an indie run altogether. “Come on into the Democratic Party, the water is fine, don’t run as an independent,” says Tina Podlodowski, who serves as the party’s Washington State chair. “If Howard wants to run for president, and he’s a lifelong Democrat, he should run as a Democrat.”
That’s all well and good for Democrats who want to hold a monopoly on running against Trump in 2020. Problem is, deep-seated progressive hostility to Schultz’s moderate economic views has assured that the water is in fact not fine for anyone who won’t blindly adhere to leftist Democratic orthodoxy on all matters.
“Now, look: Howard Schultz will never be president,” Eric Levitz wrote in New York magazine in a heated column blasting the would-be candidate. “The man is the embodiment of nearly everything that Democratic primary voters are anxious to vote against: a white male billionaire — with no political experience — who opposes universal health care and supports entitlement cuts.”
Robert Kuttner at the leftist American Prospect echoed Levitz’s harshly unrelenting tone. Schultz “is a social liberal who opposed Seattle’s $15 minimum wage — just what we don’t need,” Kuttner writes. Ah, but…
“The political problem is that lots of suburban moderates, who defected to the Democrats in 2018 out of disgust with Trump, could vote for a guy like Schultz,” he continued. “And in a three-way, Trump could even get re-elected.”
What progressive critics are saying flat-out is that Schultz is an unacceptable Democratic candidate who should not be allowed to run outside of their controlled bubble. That certainly shows a remarkable degree of hubris, yet leftist Dems aren’t even the least bit self-aware about their stance. They issue a Soviet-like call for strict party discipline even against those who don’t consider themselves to be comrades, and they fully expect to be able to enforce their mark.
Tiny Blue Tent
“I think lifelong Democrats and many, many more lifelong Republicans than Democrats realize are looking for a home,” Schultz told NPR in an interview in justification of a potential run. “If there is a choice between President Trump and a progressive liberal-minded person on the Democratic side, it would kill me to see President Trump be re-elected, and I believe that is what would take place.”
Given that Schultz clearly sees a progressive opponent to Trump to be a losing proposition and that stridently leftist Dems refuse to go along with his economic positions, of what possible use is a quote like this from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)? “He ought to run as a Democrat or support a Democrat who can win,” Hoyer told The Washington Examiner.
Progressives have successfully enacted a purity test for Democratic political hopefuls that has pushed away from the party any other voices. Not only is it their way or the highway but also we find out that those who opt for the road are still not allowed to act as they wish once they leave. This complete lack of understanding shown toward potential allies who think differently from them on particular issues is far more damaging to leftist-Dem dreams of defeating Trump than any independent campaign could ever be.
We all know that ousting Trump from the White House is the sole force driving these people today, a mania that fills their every waking moment. Yet if it came down to compromising a tad on their own inflexible ideology to achieve that goal, one gets the feeling that progressives are simply incapable of doing so.