After announcing he would entertain an independent presidential campaign, billionaire and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was greeted with everything from scorn to jubilation. In a highly cited 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, Schultz made his distaste for both political parties clear: “both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics.”
Public Enemy No. 1
NBC, TheHill, CNN Conventional thinking is that Schultz would split the Democrat voting base and ensure a Trump victory, similar to the way Ross Perot split the Republican base in 1992 and paved the way for Bill Clinton’s win. Candidates, pundits, and power brokers on the left have all railed against Schultz, while conservatives seem eager to have him join the fray and call the progressive platform unrealistic. Even President Trump seemed to be baiting him with calls that he “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run.”
Echos of Perot…On The National Debt
The spoiler label may not be the only mantle Schultz inherits from Perot; he also appears keen on making the national debt a central issue of his campaign. He also remarked that the national debt was a prime example of failure “not only of Republicans, but of Democrats, as well as a reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility.”
A Radical Idea – Being Moderate
In an age of hyper-divisive figures and often unrealistic solutions on both sides of the spectrum, Schultz’s policy ambitions seem almost modest. He has criticized ideas like single-payer healthcare and tuition-free college as unrealistic as a border wall. Instead, his campaign is a bet that the electorate is willing to support an anti-establishment candidate who generates enthusiasm by being anti-extreme.