Point of View Columns

Howard Schultz – Spoiler in Waiting

What most Americans know about Howard Schultz, if they know his name at all, is that he became a billionaire by figuring out a way to make people want to buy really expensive coffee – all the time. It is fair to say that not many people cared about his political beliefs one way or the other, and there has literally been less than zero public interest in the possibility of his becoming President of the United States. And what we now know is that, based on these facts, Howard Schultz has decided that he should seriously consider running for President of the United States as a self-funded independent.

In any other time, Mr. Schultz might be seen as another billionaire seeking to enhance his monetarily certified illusions of grandeur by aspiring to the presidency. And, of course, we are all witness to the fact that, given the right set of circumstances, a self-absorbed and self-impressed billionaire can actually be elected President of the United States.

But these are especially dangerous times. Trump in the White House has jeopardized just about every aspect of what is important in this country. His denigration of the judiciary, his attacks on the press, his absolute disregard for international alliances and the environment have secured for him the title of the worst president in history in just two short years. His historic shutdown of the federal government should prove to everyone that he is just getting warmed up when it comes to nation-destroying tantrums.

It is hoped that the search for the perfect candidate will not result in the organization of a circular firing squad that leaves all candidates ruined or wounded. Assuming that the Democrats do maintain some semblance unity, it is hoped that a candidate from that party will unseat the Destroyer in Chief before he does any more damage.

But all of the planning and attempts at unity by the Democrats will go for naught if Howard Schultz, or some other delusional billionaire, actually runs for president as an independent. All anyone has to do is to look at the election of 2000 when Ralph Nader ran as an ideologically pure Green Party candidate with the result that George W. Bush was elected president – with the thumbs of the conservative Supreme Court justices on the scale.

It is fair to say that George W. Bush was never as bad as Donald Trump has been. It is also fair to say that if Al Gore had been elected president the United States would never have invaded Iraq and the crash of the U.S. economy in 2008 probably wouldn’t have occurred. Of course, hindsight is by definition 20/20, but many observers and commentators in 2000 sounded the alarm that a Nader candidacy could spell victory for Bush. And they were right. The self-indulgent candidacy of Ralph Nader damaged this country in so many ways.

And now a coffee-salesman with buckets of money seems to think that his running for president as an independent will not result in Trump being re-elected. As a billionaire he can afford to take that chance. Most of us cannot afford six more years of Donald Trump.

One can only hope that philanthropy or probiotics or ventriloquism will distract Schultz because if he persists in running for president as an independent he will make Trump’s dream of re-election come true and will create a nightmare for the rest of us.

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