If there was any question as to why former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is extremely publicly considering a run for president, it’s much more apparent now.
Since his appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday night, all of these things have happened:
- Schultz hired former Obama White House adviser Bill Burton as an aide
- Schultz did an event at Barnes & Noble where he called criticizing billionaires “un-American,” said there was no way he’d run in the Democratic primary because he doesn’t want to support a bigger safety net of any kind or a 70 percent top marginal tax rate. The only bright spot was that he got the absolute shit heckled out of him.
- Schultz called Kamala Harris’ statement in a Monday night CNN town hall appearing to say that private insurance should be eliminated “not American,” which takes on an even darker meaning considering the right’s attempt to birtherize Harris
- Schultz called Elizabeth Warren’s tax plan “ridiculous”
- Schultz advisers, including former top McCain adviser Steve Schmidt, a Never Trumper who helped sway McCain on making Sarah Palin his vice presidential nominee in 2008, told Politico that Schultz is a safeguard for Democrats in case they nominate someone “so far to the left that it guarantees Trump re-election,” confirming that Steve Schmidt slept through all of the year 2016 and just recently woke up
- Schultz has said “silent majority” a bunch of times, either not knowing or caring about the hawkish, racist origins of that phrase
- Implied that “the American dream” is all about having billions of dollars and referred to himself as self-made, despite the fact that he owes his obscene wealth to Bill Gates Sr. essentially doing him a favor
- Floated a single, remotely vague idea: “comprehensive tax reform” without raising taxes on the rich, which is exactly what the Republicans just did
Seriously, look at this shit.
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Considering that the current and very bad president is a Republican, you might be wondering why Schultz is spending all of his time attacking marginally left-wing Democrats while also touting the need for unity and all of that horseshit that’s supposed to be the foundation of his idea-free campaign.
Schultz’s purpose so far appears to be to warn the Democratic Party: If you nominate someone who wants me to pay the relative equivalent of breadcrumbs in order to fund a safety net, someone who won’t resuscitate the long-dead corpse of the Bill Clinton 1992 campaign but rather runs a forward-looking progressive campaign, I will stay in the race and throw the election to Trump.
This is not a presidential campaign. It’s a hostage negotiation, and Schultz’s prisoners are Democratic primary voters. Because the stock of “electability” as a quality in a presidential candidate has plummeted since 2016, here’s a new one that the many chuds vying to occupy the centrist ground in the Democratic primary can use: If you vote for Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, or even Kamala Harris, the centrist third-party candidate will ensure Trump’s re-election. One oligarch whose signature claims to fame are overpriced coffee and moving the Sonics out of Seattle has apparently decided that it’s his way or the highway.
All of this operates on the conventional wisdom that Schultz would pull more Democrats than Republicans; considering a new ABC News poll shows that 32 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents want someone other than Trump in 2020, that’s not exactly settled business. But it’s becoming increasingly clear what’s most important to Schultz, and the driving force behind why he’s considering this vanity run that appeals to only the biggest dumbasses and scumbags: His money, and his desire to keep it.