Former Starbucks CEO and prospective 2020 presidential contender Howard Schultz participated in a Fox News town hall event on Thursday. There, the independent warned that if Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders or a likeminded socialist to go forward into the general election, they would be handing President Trump re-election on a silver platter.
Schultz, who has built his potential bid for the White House on the contention that Democrats have veered too far to the left for normal American voters, had much to say about the current state of politics, but he was not yet ready to confirm or deny his own candidacy.
Asked if he thought he would play the spoiler in the 2020 race, thus pushing Trump to a second term, Schultz denied that would happen. Quite the opposite, in fact: If the Democrats nominate someone like Sanders, that could have the effect of putting Trump back in the White House.
“If a Democrat runs like a Bernie Sanders, who says he’s a democratic socialist, Donald Trump is going to get re-elected,” Schultz said. “If Howard Schultz is in the race, I feel strongly that lifelong Republicans – on the character issue alone – and I’m not going to bash the president on any level today, but lifelong Republicans, they are not going to vote for Bernie Sanders. But they might vote for somebody who is independent, who is a centrist, and who wants to restore faith and confidence in the promise of the country.”
Asked about his relationship to the parties, Schultz acknowledged that he leaned further left than to the right. However, he said, he saw little of his own politics reflected in the Democrats of today.
“I’ve been very public with my concern about how far left the Democratic Party is leaning,” Schultz said. “I am a centrist. I have been a lifelong Democrat, but the Democratic Party left me – I didn’t leave the Democratic Party.”
Schultz committed to proving himself a centrist throughout the rest of the town hall special. He criticized Trump for withdrawing from the Iran deal and took issue with the president’s claim that ISIS had been largely destroyed. At the same time, he disagreed with the recent extremist abortion stance of the Democrats, telling the audience that he believed abortion “should be safe, legal, and rare,” and that no abortions should take place in the third trimester. He also said he did not particularly support the idea of reparations to blacks and Native Americans.
Politically speaking, it’s hard to see how a Schultz campaign would be anything BUT a spoiler, siphoning off votes from whomever wins the Democratic nomination. On the other hand, the Democrats have only their own extremist swings to blame for creating an opening for someone like Schultz, who sounds like a Democrat who came here in a time machine from the 1990s. If he does well in the election, it might serve to discourage Democrats from continuing down their abysmal slide into socialism.
If Schultz can do that (or help to re-elect Trump) he will have done our nation a pretty big favor. Run, Howard, run.