News & Politics

Howard Schultz Drops Out to Help a Mythical 'Moderate Democrat' Beat Trump

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz officially dropped out of the 2020 presidential election on Friday, saying he did not want to sabotage a “moderate Democrat” from defeating President Donald Trump. This reasoning may be an excuse, however. Schultz had a back injury in April and has gone through three subsequent surgeries since. He has not campaigned since June.

Schultz made a name for himself as an independent, opposed to both Trump and the radicalism of the Democrats. After announcing his independent run for the presidency, Schultz attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), supporting the American Dream. He slammed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), defending private health insurance. He attacked the Green New Deal.

Schultz decided to run for president on the belief that Americans want government reform, not partisan bickering. In his drop-out letter, he explained the reasoning: “Despite a variety of efforts to initiate conversations about political reform, extreme voices currently dominate the national dialogue, often with a vitriol that crowds out and discourages thoughtful discussions. And despite their hunger for reform, the exhausted majority has largely tuned out of political life online and in the news, leaving the extreme voices to define the debate.”

Schultz admitted that the partisan fears made an independent run for the president less than feasible.

“In addition, not enough people today are willing to consider backing an independent candidate because they fear doing so might lead to re-electing a uniquely dangerous incumbent president. There is considerable concern that four more years of a Trump administration pose a graver threat to our democracy than four more years of political dysfunction. I agree, but I’m also concerned that far-left policy ideas being advanced by several Democratic candidates will further alienate voters who believe those ideas will inflict more economic harm than good,” Schultz wrote.

The former Starbucks CEO said he would prefer to challenge Trump, so long as he would not sabotage a “moderate Democrat.”

‘The nomination of a far-left Democratic candidate could result in more votes for Trump—unless a moderate independent is also on the ballot,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, election rules in each state and the way this Democratic nomination process has unfolded pose another challenge: It has become more likely that the Democratic nominee will not be known before the deadlines to submit the required number of signatures for an independent to get on the ballot.”

“If I went forward, there is a risk that my name would appear on ballots even if a moderate Democrat wins the nomination, and that is not a risk I am willing to take,” he said.

This fear suggests that there is such a thing as a “moderate Democrat” in the presidential race and that such a moderate can win. Yet the top candidates are all radical in just the way Schultz fears. Even former Vice President Joe Biden — often touted as the “electable” “moderate” candidate — has said his number 1 priority is the radical Equality Act, which even many feminist Democrats oppose. Biden has a spin-off environment plan similar in many ways to the Green New Deal, which he praised this week, saying it does not go too far. His rhetoric is more pro-American than the other Democrats, but it seems his gaffes often distract from just how radical he is.

Even Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who acts and speaks more humbly than the usual politician, has attacked those who disagree with him on certain policy questions, suggesting that real Christians must agree with his liberal politics. He has pledged to fight “systemic racism” with an enormous affirmative action plan he bills as a “Marshall Plan” for black Americans.

Make no mistake: Howard Schultz is not dropping out of the presidential race because he found a mythical “moderate Democrat.” As he himself noted, “a back injury in April and three subsequent surgeries have required a level of recovery that has prevented me from continuing my travels and engaging with people to the degree that is necessary.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.