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Howard Shultz wrong for 2020

Howard Schultz’s potential independent campaign would be an ill-fated endeavor that would inevitably hand Donald Trump a second term.

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Howard Shultz wrong for 2020

Howard Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks and is a possible 2020 independent presidential candidate. Schultz told Real Clear Politics that “I don’t affiliate myself with the Democrat Party.”

Howard Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks and is a possible 2020 independent presidential candidate. Schultz told Real Clear Politics that “I don’t affiliate myself with the Democrat Party.”

Courtesy Gage Skidmore

Howard Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks and is a possible 2020 independent presidential candidate. Schultz told Real Clear Politics that “I don’t affiliate myself with the Democrat Party.”

Courtesy Gage Skidmore

Courtesy Gage Skidmore

Howard Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks and is a possible 2020 independent presidential candidate. Schultz told Real Clear Politics that “I don’t affiliate myself with the Democrat Party.”

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As many WHHS students know, a third party candidate has never won a U.S. presidential election. It would be a stretch to say any have come close. For the vast majority of U.S. history, our political system has been dominated by a two-party system. Since 1852, the person holding our nation’s most prestigious office has either been a Democrat or Republican.

That’s not to say that no one has ever tried to run as a third party candidate. Independent Ross Perot famously won nearly 20 percent of the popular vote in 1992. However, the electoral college system has often proved to be the largest detriment to third party success in presidential races, and Perot was not able to win a single electoral vote.

In 2020, there may be a new heir to the throne of unsuccessful third party candidates. Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced earlier this year that he was exploring a presidential run as a non-partisan Independent. Schultz has said that he, like many Americans, feels that the two-party system has failed the American people, and believes that the best way to solve this dilemma is to distance ourselves from partisan politics.

Schultz’s one-man crusade to save America presents several main problems. The first of which, which should concern Democrats everywhere, is that Schultz himself is a lifelong Democrat whose views clearly tilt toward the left. That means that any votes Schultz receives would likely come almost exclusively from people who would otherwise vote for the Democratic candidate.

Whenever a third party candidate has had a strong showing in a major election, it has almost always meant taking votes from one candidate. In 1992, it meant Ross Perot helped elect Bill Clinton. In 2020, it could hand a second victory to Donald Trump. This led to the first event Schultz held to talk about his candidacy being interrupted on numerous occasions. Hecklers urged him not to effectively re-elect Trump. Because of this, Schultz should expect to see strong resistance from Democrats to his campaign.

The second issue is that the future that Howard Schultz is proposing, one where American politics are totally non-partisan, is neither unique nor feasible. The reason why the United States, and nearly every other representative democracy in the world, has a party-based system is because humans naturally coalesce into groups of like-minded people.

The same sociological principle that caused early humans to group into tribes is at play when people identify themselves as a Democrat or Republican. To turn politics into a giant amalgam of people with different opinions would be counter-intuitive, and it would lead to even more gridlock than exists right now, as everyone in Washington, D.C. would try to achieve their individual, independent agenda. America has managed to get by for over 200 years with the same political system, and we’ve managed to do pretty well so far.

I do think that there is a problem with modern day politics. But the problem isn’t the system, it’s that people aren’t willing to listen to and respect each other. I’m not sure anyone has a simple solution to that. But if one thing is for sure, it certainly isn’t Howard Schultz.

All views shared in the Opinions section of The Chatterbox belong to their respective authors, and may not represent the views of the publication as a whole.

1 Comment

One Response to “Howard Shultz wrong for 2020”

  1. Owen Cummings on February 28th, 2019 10:55 am

    Technically, Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 presidential election when the Republican party was still new (the main parties were Democrat and Whig), so an independent party has won an election. 🙂

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Howard Shultz wrong for 2020