Howard Schultz’s candidacy, a different take

In this post, I discussed the possibility of former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz running for president.* I acknowledged that there’s plenty of ideological space for Schultz to fill, but concluded that 2020 wasn’t the year for a strong third candidate run.

Roger Simon at PJ Media sees it differently. Roger predicted President Trump’s 2016 victory, and he certainly has a better sense of the electorate than I do (a low bar these days, to be sure).

Here is most of Roger’s reasoning:

Elections are often a reaction to the previous one. America will be searching for a calm, level-headed voice. That, we know, is not Trump, nor is it the hard-left candidate that could well, in fact likely will, win the Democratic nomination.

Current frontrunner Kamala Harris is far from reassuring. She’s a shrill (see the Kavanaugh hearings) quasi-socialist promising pie in the sky — Medicare-for-all, debt-free college, guaranteed pre-K, minimum basic income, confiscatory taxes — and she’s just getting started. Bernie and others will soon be following suit. Fauxcahontas already has, competing in a game of socialist one-upmanship. Even supposedly centrist Biden is playing along. . . .

The cost of all this, the actual numbers, if they ever even publish any, will be stratospheric. The national debt will reach the moon and beyond. . . .

And Howard Schultz knows it. That is why. . .he has isolated the escalating national debt as his main issue and pilloried Trump for doing nothing about it. (He has a point there.)

At first, he will seem stodgy to “idealistic” millennials, but after a while, they too will wise up. It’s their futures too, after all. The outrageous costs of the Democratic platform will be made known to them and then some. The election, already started, is long. The hard left’s proposals will not wear well.

Schultz’s policies would end up being much closer to Trump’s than to the Democratic opposition. He would want to increase taxes, but only a smidge, so as not to disrupt the economy. He opposes Medicare for all as far too expensive. He would be for a strong defense, at least relatively. He would be middle-of-the-road on immigration, where many Americans are. He would be Trump-lite, a palatable Donald that many of the media could swallow because he wouldn’t insult them for being liars (even though they are) or say outrageous (though often accurate) things for them to deliberately misinterpret.

And, of course, he has plenty of money to run — in every county, as he says.

This is good analysis, and there’s more.

[Schultz] is, if anything, a more successful businessman than Trump with plenty of economic acumen. And his business, unlike Perot’s, is known to all Americans. Moreover, it is a symbol of the “cool” sophisticated life to which much of modern America aspires, like it or not. Schultz took the Greenwich Village coffee shop and put it into every suburban mall in the country, making it less scary and more bourgeois in the process. What soccer mom doesn’t love her latte?

Trump, as a business outsider, could actually have paved the way for Schultz. (Interestingly, businessman Bill Lee won a huge victory in the gubernatorial race here in Tennessee.)

If Schultz does decide to run, he should offer Roger a job as his top consultant.

Roger sees one cloud on the horizon — Schultz’s decision, under pressure, to make Starbucks bathrooms [note: and table space too] accessible to non-customers. This was a bad move, for sure. However, I don’t see it as a presidential election dealbreaker. Those who would vote against Schultz because of this decision are probably Trump voters anyway.

There have been two developments on the Schultz front since I wrote about his possible candidacy. President Trump has, in essence, dared him to run and leftists have protested against him during his book promotion tour.

If Schultz is presidential material, these events will either have no effect on him or will nudge him towards running. If, instead, they deter him, it will be clear that he doesn’t have what it takes to be the U.S. president.

* This is as good a time as any to disclose that, as an attorney, I did quite a bit of work for Starbucks. I never had any direct dealings with Howard Schultz, however, and don’t know him personally.

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