Scott wrote this morning about the collective freakout on the Left about Howard Schultz’s independent candidacy for president, because his vote-splitting potential might assure Trump’s re-election. The logic of this is obvious enough, but I am not so sure Schultz isn’t doing Democrats a big favor, and that it could work out very differently. Stranger things have happened. It’s not like we’ve never seen a billionaire who had never held public office succeed when no one thought he could.
There are a few moving parts here to consider. First, it is a sign of how insane the Democratic Party is that Schultz, a standard issue liberal up to this point, has zero chance of getting the Democratic nomination. Hence he clearly understands his only chance is as an independent. But even if he can’t win, he might pull the Democratic nominee, whoever z/he is, toward the center. This might seem to risk losing progressive voters, but I’m guessing not much: the progressive left that is agitating for full socialism hates Trump so much that they’ll likely turn out no matter how weak they think the Democratic nominee is.
It is worth noting further just why Schultz is so unacceptable to today’s Democratic Party, with his plain and sensible talk about the debt, deficits, and the fantasy of Medicare-for-All. (By the way, how come nobody ever advocates Medicaid-for-All? Someone ought to ask. . .) Hang around a college campus as I do (so that you don’t have to), you soon discover that the au courant left doesn’t just hate Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and the ideas of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek—they also hate Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Say what?
Right now if there’s anything worse than being a racist or a bigot, it’s being a neoliberal. “Neoliberalism” is essentially the new epithet of the Left for what we used to just call “Capitalism,” though the critique is adorned with lots of bells and whistles to disguise this simple fact. And it is the sin of Clinton and Blair is that they were “neoliberals,” too accepting of the logic and policies of freer markets and sound monetary and fiscal policy. (They thought Hillary Clinton was also too neoliberal for their tastes.)
So Schultz, a billionaire capitalist, is obviously unacceptable. But guess who else is also too much of a neoliberal for the left intelligentsia? Kamala Harris. Say what?
Check out this tweet from Corey Robin, one of the academic celebrities of the progressive Left today (and author of a terrible book about conservatism that is naturally wildly popular):
Robin (wannabe Hood) is far from alone:
When Kamala Harris isn’t left enough for you. . .