Throughout February, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has shown serious interest in a 2020 presidential bid running as an independent. Schultz’s left leaning ideals mean that he is poised to deal serious damage to the democrats shot at beating Trump in the upcoming election. According to the Washington Examiner, addition of an independent candidate to the option pool dropped the percentage of people voting democrat by 16% in a poll of likely voters. This data among others has democratic frontrunners across the board in a frenzy, but could a competitive run from Schultz prove to have a more long term impact than just a road to re election for President Trump?
The surge of popularity in figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proven to be a manifestation of the DNC’s catering to the radical portion of their base, leaving a large part of their constituency feeling alienated. The Green New Deal serves as perhaps the best example of this disparity. The $93 trillion bill looks to end the selling of gas powered cars and cease the usage of all US fossil fuel plants. Despite only 51% of democratic voters supporting the deal (Remington Research Group), six major Democratic presidential hopefuls have already come out in favor of the deal (Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Merkley, Sanders, and Warren). Radicalization of DNC figureheads in situations like this could open the door for more candidates like Schultz running on the democratic platform of old.
While Schultz hasn’t given us much in the form of a platform, what he has discussed so far strongly resembles the ideals of JFK during his 1960 presidential run. Both Candidates have openly advocated for capitalistic economics while still appealing to the lower class worker. Both support for the moderate expansion of access to healthcare. They also seem to agree on moderate measures of gun control, and how to handle racial issues. It was these viewpoints that made Kennedy one of the most successful Democratic presidents in history, and it is those same viewpoints that could appeal to moderate democrats in 2020 and beyond. Who knows, maybe this will even serve to right the ship of American politics for the first time since President Washington died.