31 Jan 2019
Howard Schultz Could Be the Third-Party Candidate to Win
The announcement by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz that he would run for President in 2020 as an independent candidate has sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party. Immediately, it was declared that his entrance into the race would create a sure victory for Donald Trump in his re-election bid. Thus, he has already been besieged with news stories and pleas from members of the Democratic Party to either end his campaign or to, instead, throw his name into the list of what will likely be 40 candidates running for the Democratic nomination.
He’s in It to Win
While many may not like Schultz’s run for the White House, the truth is that there may not be a better time for him to run. A 2014 Gallup Poll (if you can believe any of those) found that 42 percent of Americans identified themselves as independents. In the same poll, those who identified themselves as Republicans fell to 25 percent and those saying they were Democrats was at 36 percent.
Clearly, these numbers favor an independent candidate, but the news is even brighter for Schultz. While only a quarter of the country may identify themselves as Republican, 36 percent identify as conservatives, to only 25 percent who identify as Liberal. What this tells us is that there are a large number of conservatives who do not feel they have a place within the Republican Party. It also shows that there are a number of Democrats who don’t find the liberal agenda palatable to them.
This is where a third-party candidate has a golden opportunity. As the two parties move further and further to the extremes, especially within the Democratic Party, a growing number of Americans are feeling like they have no representation.
The Polarization of the Parties
Just look at the recent buzz surrounding California Sen. Kamala Harris. During a CNN Townhall meeting, the California Senator pushed the idea of ending private insurance. Her goal is to provide insurance for all, something that the vast majority of Americans agree should be provided. However, better than 80 percent do not want to see private insurance go away. Harris has not backed down from her statement, however.
The sad part for the Democratic Party is that the progressive wing is likely to have a bigger voice as the 2020 election draws near. Much as the Tea Party movement began to dominate the Republican wing following the 2008 election, progressives are gaining a stronger voice.
It is likely that they are going to see the same kind of problems that arose when the Tea Party gained popularity. While members of this group have risen to become prominent members within the Republican Party, including Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the extreme views of the group have often led to defeats as well.
One such example was the 2010 senatorial election in Nevada. Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was extremely unpopular, and Republicans felt that it was likely that they could unseat the incumbent. However, Tea Party members pushed for Sharron Angle to be the candidate to oppose Reid. She raised $10 million more than the senator, appeared to be ahead in most of the polls heading up to the election, but lost by nearly 6%, as many saw her views as too extreme.
She was a bad candidate that most Nevadans could not relate to, and she lost as a result. This is likely the fate of the Democratic Party as newly elected progressives have sent a chill through the party with anti-Israel, anti-rich, anti-men, anti-white rhetoric.
This is likely the pathway that will lead many to turn from Democrats as well. While most feel that all Americans should have health insurance, very few are willing to give up their private insurance or to pay higher taxes to see that happen. Most would like to show compassion on illegal immigrants coming to this country, but don’t want hundreds of thousands pouring across the border every year. A majority of Americans approve of abortion, but most are not in favor of late term abortions and very few are in favor of a new law proposed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam which would allow the child to be born and then terminated if the parents opted to do so.
These kind of extreme policies are going to push many Democrats to look for an alternative candidate. This can be a great chance for Schultz to become the candidate the best speaks for them Trish.
Republicans Have Issues as Well
Democrats are not the only ones facing challenges. While Donald Trump has solid support from his base, there is at least 55 percent of the country that finds him unpalatable as a human being. The brash New Yorker is praised by his base for his “shoot from the hip” personality, but there is no doubt that most Republicans would love to see an alternative candidate to the President.
Truth be told, most Republicans chose Trump for one reason – Supreme Court nominees. Democrats have long used the court as a means to create law and social policy, something that likely led the vast majority of Republicans to accept the character of Trump, as long as he provided them with conservativel justices.
If he should be able to replace one more justice prior to the 2020 election, something that seems likely due to the failing health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, many may no longer see a need to keep Trump in power. Yet, they are unlikely to vote for a candidate that they will see as extreme, such as Harris, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren. This is where Howard Schultz can be the perfect alternative as long as the policies he espouses seem more centrist.
The Internet Changes It All
For 200 years it has been impossible for a third-party candidate to win the nation’s highest office. The lack of ground support, smaller donor groups, and media apathy toward these candidates dooms them from the start. In fact, a third-party candidate has not finished as high as second in the presidential election since 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt, ironically running as the progressive candidate, lost to Woodrow Wilson.
This would seem to make it impossible for a third-party candidate to try to win the 2020 election. There is no national party to stand behind the candidate. There aren’t senators and representatives who can provide their support. There is simply no way that Howard Schultz can win this election.
That may have been true even 20 years ago, but we live in an entirely different age. Newspapers and television no longer influence people as they once did. If you don’t believe it, just consider the evening news. In 1980, more than 25 million Americans watched the evening news on CBS, NBC, or ABC each night. In 2017, that number was less than 5.2 million.
People don’t trust the mainstream media anymore, something that many will say is the direct result of Trump’s criticism, but is truly a self-inflicted wound. They have presented themselves as biased, slanted, and unable to tell news without interjecting their skewed opinions. The same thing can be said of the major newspapers.
This has led many to turn to alternative sources to find out what is going on in the world. This will mean that the person who is able to have a dominant Internet and social media presence is one who could easily win the election. As long as that candidate is able to draw people to their website, social media accounts, and to articles that support their candidacy, they are likely to receive 40 percent of the vote based on that alone.
Who influences us has changed greatly. This is what we need to recognize. Thirty years ago, a guy who played a doctor on television was considered an “authority” on health issues. Now, most don’t care what an actual doctor thinks. Hollywood, the music industry, and sports stars don’t influence Americans. What does is information, and the one who can get more eyes on their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts could very easily win.
It Doesn’t Take a Lot of Money
The other argument that people will present against the likelihood of a third-party candidate’s success is their lack of funding. According to Forbes, Howard Schultz is worth $3.4 billion. If he was willing to fund his own campaign, he has more than enough money to be able to be a major player in the election.
However, one must consider that money is not the primary reason why a candidate wins. Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent over $2 billion, more than four times what Donald Trump spent, yet she still lost.
If you believe her rhetoric as to why she lost, then it will really only cost Schultz $104,700 to win. That’s the money that Russian trolls paid on Google and Facebook to “influence” the election, with $4700 going to Google and $100,000 going to Facebook. More than half of the ads on Facebook were not even seen until after the election, yet, this small amount of money was able to defeat Clinton, giving Schultz an even greater chance of winning.
It’s Time for a Third Party
The reason why Democrats attacked Howard Schultz the moment that he declared his nomination is not because they are concerned he’s going to take votes away from them, thus ensuring that Trump will win. The concern is that their progressive agenda is about to be derailed.
With 42 percent of the country already identifying themselves as independent (probably more since 2014), and the likelihood that 25 percent of members of both parties are probably looking for an alternative to what is going to be offered to them, Schultz could easily win as much as 55% of the vote.
However, he doesn’t need to. All that the former Starbucks CEO needs to do is to have a higher percentage of the vote in enough states to win the electoral college and he is going to win. That is the concern of Democrats, not splitting the vote to help the current president.
It was 20 years ago when no one gave a former professional wrestler and actor a chance to become governor of Minnesota. Yet, Jesse Ventura, running as an independent, was elected. Ventura showed that if you run the right campaign and truly address issues that are of concern to voters, you can win. Howard Schultz is in the race because he believes he can win. Don’t be surprised if he does.