Howard Schultz is on the verge of running for president as an independent. The billionaire former Starbucks’s chief surely has the money to self finance a run, but we think this would be going small. His reasons for making a run outside the Democratic party center on the party’s inability to face reality. Entitlements about to swallow the national budget with huge deficits as far as the eye can see if left unaddressed The hot ideas in the party are Medicare for All, free college tuition and a guaranteed job and/or income for all among other expensive things. As a successful businessperson, he asks the simple question, how do we pay for all this? The answer given is “make the rich pay their fair share.” While Mr. Schultz might be willing to pay more in taxes, he is well aware a 70%+ top bracket and/or a wealth tax wouldn’t come close to covering all this but it would do irreparable harm. Obviously, he concluded there was no way forward for a candidate for the Democratic nomination who throws cold water on the party’s fantasies. We came to the same conclusion about both major parties, so even though we don’t agree with him on every issue, we applaud his courage in facing the facts. However, we question a singular independent run is the way to go.
An independent run to our mind is a small solution probably doomed to costly failure. In essence he would be running in a party of one. That’s why we proposed a new party. We laid this out in our series on”The Future Party” on this Blog. The people actually building the party would pick the delegates to the conventions and they would determine the candidates and platforms. Across the country there are people from both parties being forced out by those on the extremes. For instance, take Arizona where the Republican elected Kelli Ward a total Trump partisan twice overwhelmingly rejected by Republican voters in runs for the senate to the Party’s chairperson. A state John McCain won handily numerous times has no room in the Republican party for his supporters. This has been repeated across the country in both major parties. These homeless are more informed, moderate and realistic than those that have replaced them. They feel just as orphaned as Howard Schultz but they’re party workers looking for their party not a one-off. Howard Schultz is going to spend a fortune establishing an organization in every state. After all, if he can’t get on the ballot in almost every state he as no chance to win. Even if he wins, he’ll be alone in Washington in a sea of Democrats and /Republicans. What will he accomplish? If he loses it all goes away probably without a trace.
Wouldn’t it be better to go big and be a founder of a brand new party. Think of the Republicans forming around the nation’s failure to address major problems of the day (then notably slavery today virtually every problem) rather than George Wallace. Put up the Money he would spend on setting up for nationwide organizations instead in a new party and invite others to contribute to the broader operation. Instead of circulating petitions for a single ticket on the ballot, expand them to get a whole party on the ballot. Instead of a temporary campaign organization, form a continuing party organizations. We think there are donors large and small that might not be fans of the same single person, but would like expanded choice of serious candidates that have no present hope with our two major parties. You might even get Michael Bloomberg to contribute once he realizes he’s more welcome in the new party than he is in the Democrat Party. There would be no guarantee that Schultz would be the Convention’s nominee but as a main founder he would have a big leg up. More importantly, he would be seen as more altruistic rather than a guy on an ego trip.
In this scenario, the nominee would have a great chance of winning. The publicity alone generated by a new party across the whole country would dominate the news cycles. Unlike the boring dog and pony shows the two major party’s conventions have become, the new party’s convention would be riveting. If the nominee actually wins he or she would have a much better chance of governing. If the nominee coattails brings in other new party elected officials they’ll be there to support the administration. With executive patronage available and a closer identification with the ideals and programs of the new administration would probably force a realignment from those elected in the other two parties. This would give the new President a much more leverage to actually accomplish things and isn’t that what it’s all about? Failing to win would still leave an organization in place to continue the fight and provide choice in the future. Yes it would take more money and effort to build a new party and we wouldn’t know what form it would ultimately take but it could bring us back to earth and preserve our future. Having choices is always better. Isn’t that better than a flash in the pan run?
We also acknowledge given the height of the mountain to climb to establish a new party this isn’t likely to be the road we will travel. However, being glass half full people we still see some possible virtue in Howard Schultz’s lonely quest. His only chance is to come up with big solutions to big problems. To win he will have avail himself to new ideas well outside of today’s dominant thinking. For instance, healthcare can’t help but be front and center in 2020. A big solution such as Dave’s Healthcare Plan (series on this Plan available on this site) would be just the ticket. If Schultz presented it, a storm of attention both pro and con wold follow with all the numerous present stakeholder’s probably in opposition. Schulz could simply counter by offering to pay for a side by side comparison say the CBO with any other plan offered. We our confident the Plan would win hands down. Just the savings on processing and the elimination credit risk alone would put it ahead of any others. Open market competition, ease of use and the fact it reflects the natural relationship between savings and insurance with a personal portable account would seal the deal. As the person introducing such a workable plan, he would be seen as a visionary leader who knows what he’s talking about. Big ideas could actually give him a chance to win. Going small as he presently is will leave him dumped on by everyone and pariah to his former party. We say go big Howard or go home.