I have never, to my knowledge, been in the same place at the same time with Howard Schultz.
In case you’ve been busy keeping yourself occupied by exhaling on the glass in your bedroom and oohing-and-ahing to yourself as the psychedelic shapes form in the minus 15 degree weather, Howard Schultz is the former boss of Starbucks.
All 29,324 of them.
Howard Schultz is, or at least has been, a Democrat. Now, he’s running for President as an Independent.
This has made people who are still Democrats very uncomfortable. To the point that, within minutes of Schultz’ “60 Minutes” appearance Sunday night the national Democrats have been assaulting him with a coordinated attack.
A lot of people run for President. Just about every Democratic Mayor, County Commissioner, State Legislator, Member of the U.S. House and Senate who qualifies under the Constitution is at least thinking about it.
So, why this panic among Democrats because some billionaire from Washington state says he wants to run?
Because Howard Schultz is a disrupter.
Disrupters are all the thing these days: From Amazon to Uber to those horrid electric scooters. Want to start a business? Bill yourself as a disrupter. Change the way people buy books and then everything else? Amazon. Change the way people get driven from place-to-place? Uber. Change the way people avoid walking three blocks? Those horrid electric scooters.
Donald J. Trump was a disrupter. Trump and his cadre of convicted, accused, or suspected felons figured out a way to first hijack the Republican Party and then win the Presidency. Never been done before.
Nancy Pelosi is not a disrupter. She is the Nordstrom’s of politics. She (and they) do the same things as everyone else, they just do it better than everyone else.
Now comes Howard Schultz. He wants to disrupt not the Democratic or Republican parties; he wants to disrupt the two party system; the beating heart of American politics.
There are others who ran – and won – without the benefit of a party label. George Washington comes to mind. In fact, Washington warned, in his farewell address, about the dangers of political parties writing, that while they…
“…may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
The general theory is that Howard Schultz is not just some random billionaire who wants to see his name in the history books; but is possibly – likely – to become a serious candidate with a large national following.
That being the case, the theory goes, he will siphon more votes from the eventual Democratic nominee than from Trump (assuming … well, you know) thus making the path for a Trump re-election wider, flatter, and more easily trod.
I don’t know, as Sonny and Cher once sang, if all that’s true.
First of all, looking at Ross Perot’s or Pat Buchanan’s insurgencies or Ted Kennedy’s internecine attack on Jimmy Carter all require going back decades. That’s before the social media, all-day-all-night cable chat shows, and the ability to reach numbers of people in seconds (virtually for free) that would have taken weeks of folding, stuffing, stamping, and mailing in the 1990s and even the early 2000s have changed the political battlespace.
With 20-or-so legitimate Democratic candidates elbowing one another to get toward the middle of the stage in the coming 27 thousand debates, it is more likely that whoever survives will be lucky to come out of the contest, as William Ernest Henley wrote: “bloodied but unbowed.”
Howard Schultz should not be unchallenged. He, like all the rest, have to prove he can take a punch, maybe even be knocked to the canvas, but get back up and continue the battle.
Remember, Trump carried Michigan by only about 10,700 votes. He carried Wisconsin by 22,748. And, he carried Pennsylvania by 44,292.
Had Hillary won those three states, she would have gathered 274 total electoral votes and her gang of criminals would be running the country. Probably running it into the ground.
George Washington was correct. We have lived to see the two party system “subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”
Maybe it is time for a political disrupter.
Maybe Howard Schultz is the one.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Wikipedia entry for Howard Schultz; to the text of Washington’s farewell address; and to the short (but powerful) poem by William Ernest Henley.