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Howard Schultz for President! Howard who?

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Howard Schultz for President! Howard who?

Howard Schultz for President!  Howard who?
January 30
21:12 2019

Although his enterprise is a household name, the former CEO of Starbucks – the folks that brought overpriced coffee to the middle class – Howard Schultz is largely unknown to the American public – and that is an understatement.

Thanks to coffee concoctions with exotic names as Frappuccino (36 varieties), latte (40 varieties), mocha (23 verities) and a score of other mixes, Schultz is one of America’s one-percenters with a net worth of $3.4 billion dollars – which gets him into the upper 50 percent of Forbes 400 list. He is, by far, not the richest guy on the list but has more than enough personal money to finance a respectable presidential campaign. And that is what he is promising to do.

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Schultz is such a political middle of the roader that he is not interested in seeking the Democrat or Republican nomination for President. He does not like President Trump but is unwilling to take him on in a primary. He does not like much of the Democrats’ new left platform, and is not interested in securing that nomination, either.

If he goes – and he is currently leaning in that direction – it will be as an independent candidate. Does he have a chance? In politics, there is always a chance, but in his case, it is a pretty bleak one.

First, the history of third party or independent presidential candidates is not encouraging. In fact, there has never been a successful one. Even Theodore Roosevelt was unsuccessful as the candidate of the Progressive Party (informally known as the Bull Moose Party) candidate in 1912 — and he had already served as a Republican president from 1901 to 1909. The only thing Roosevelt achieved was to take enough votes away from incumbent President William Howard Taft and throw the election to Woodrow Wilson.

In more recent elections, it is argued that businessman Ross Perot caused the defeat of incumbent President George H.W. Bush. While it is true that President Clinton would have won in the Electoral College regardless, it is widely believed that the attacks on Bush from both Clinton and Perot greatly reduced his popular and electoral vote.

A better case can be made in the election of 2000, in which George W. Bush lost the popular vote, but won a very close vote in the Electoral College after a prolonged battle over the vote in Florida. Had Democrat gadfly, Ralph Nader, not been in the presidential race, Democrat Vice President Al Gore would have won both the popular and the electoral vote.

This notion of third-party candidates being spoilers is found in races for governor, senator and lower office throughout the years. But they almost never win.

Schultz is also facing another formidable obstacle. The legal institution of the two major parties. Federal and local laws give decided advantages to the Republicans and Democrats – or more correctly, disadvantages any individual or party that would challenge their dominance in our two-party system. In many states. The requirements to get on the ballot are more onerous for third-party players. Petition signature requirements can be higher – and most third-party candidates do not have the political infrastructure enjoyed by Democrat and Republican candidates. This problem can be somewhat mitigated by Schultz’ great wealth and his seeming willingness to spend a BIG chunk of it.

He is going to have to spend a lot because virtually all the critically important major donors are already committed to one or the other of the two parties. In fact, Schultz is already feeling the wrath of the Democrats because the fear his candidacy will strip away some portion of the anti-Trump vote from the eventual Democrat standard bearer.

Former Republican and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – another billionaire with more than ten times Schultz’ wealth ($48 billion, to be more precise) – flirted with an independent bid but determined that it was too steep a climb. He is currently weighing his options as one of the legions of prospective Democrat candidates.

Then there is that old Electoral College. Even with a strong campaign, can an independent garner the 270 electoral votes required to be confirmed as the President of the United States? At best – or worse – a third-party candidacy would prevent any candidate from reaching the required mark. What then? It happened in 1876 and the election was decided by the unholy Compromise of 1877 that gave the presidency to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in return for removing the federal troops from the old Confederacy – which, in turn, resulted in the Democratic Party (with the deployment of the Ku Klux Klan) to take over the south and impose segregation and oppression on the recently freed slaves.

That did not happen in 1992 because Perot failed to win any Electoral votes and Clinton was elected with only 43 percent of the popular vote.

So, what are the upsides for Schultz?

The first and foremost is his willingness to spend whatever it takes – even a huge percentage of his huge wealth. There are richer guys – like Bloomberg – but they are less willing to commit a high percentage of their wealth.

Then there is the mood of the public. There is no doubt that a lot of the American people are disgusted with both parties. They have seen decades of inaction by their elected leaders. For decades, Republican and Democrats in Washington have promised to fix our broken immigration system – and it is more broken today than ever. For decades, those same folks in charge of the federal government promised that a nuclear North Korea was unacceptable – and today we have a nutty despot with atomic weapons and systems that can deliver them to the west coast of America. Since the glory of victory in World War II, we have not decidedly won a military contest – and are currently bogged down in the longest war in American history, which looks like it will result in yet another tuck tail and run exit. The American people have heard the meaningless call for fiscal responsibility even as we have become the biggest debtor nation in history.

Schultz’ message – essentially a plague on both houses – has an appeal. Whether that can generate enough votes to overtake one or both of the major party candidates is yet to be seen. Though they have never won in the past, third-party candidates do make the election more interesting.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. Martin
    Martin January 31, 20:03

    If Trump builds even a single mile of the US Mexico barrier, I don’t care who runs against him in 2020, Kamala, Schultz, whomever… they will all fall like a house of card before Emperor Trump.

    Reply to this comment
  2. toddy
    toddy January 31, 20:22

    Happy to see him run; better chance of Trump being re-elected! Go Schultz!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Chelemark
    Chelemark January 31, 21:34

    What kind of intellect re-elects a liar,
    a thief, a racist, a derogatory numbskull, a kiss ass to an enemy of this country and so much more.

    Reply to this comment
    • Savagefan
      Savagefan February 01, 01:44

      The same kind that elects a Muslim, non citizen, traitor, community organizer

      Reply to this comment
    • 'Ok Ag '71
      'Ok Ag '71 February 01, 14:12

      Sorry my friend, they all lie. Hillary was worse than Trump and I voted for the lesser of two evils. Somehow, we have got to get professional politicians out of our government. Term limits would be a good first step. Then, a law that no one who has held an elected office may lobby or in any way interact with any government agency would be a big help as well. These people have become our royal class and think they are a law unto themselves. Trump has exposed all of this and I thank him for that. I just hope we have the moral fortitude and enough good people left in Washington to convict and incarcerate all these bad players that are being exposed.

      Reply to this comment
    • Rose Redd
      Rose Redd February 01, 17:10

      Those who voted for Barack Obama … not only once, but TWICE! You want to talk about willful ignorance and self-destructive idiocy, look no further than the left.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Annie75
    Annie75 January 31, 23:33

    Hey chelemark….are you taking about the LIER and their obama???you know when he stole millions and gave it to Syria and took 1 w back for himself…??????? That is a their!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Littlebytes
    Littlebytes January 31, 23:42

    It’s long past time to do away with the two party system. I may not vote for Schultz but I’m glad there are people willing to go against the swamp. The Democrats and Republicans have become one in the same. Both parties are too partisan to fix the debt and keep our country safe. I hope a third party candidate or independent candidate will finally break up the monopoly the current parties have created. If more people would like to see change on DC get rid of the two party system.

    Reply to this comment

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