Thursday, January 31, 2019
Unlike Donald Trump, the former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz is a genuinely successful businessman who built a company that's become part of the daily lives of people across America. For this, those of us who are horrified by Trump's relentless grifting should be grateful. It gives us something concrete to boycott should Schultz decide to launch a narcissistic spoiler campaign for president.
Shultz appears to share the conviction, endemic among American elites, that the country hungers for a candidate who is socially liberal but fiscally conservative. After all, if you're rich, you probably know a lot of people like this. A 2017 study found the opposite: only 3.8 percent of voters fell into the socially liberal/economically conservative quadrant, while voters who are socially conservative but economically liberal make up 28.9 percent of the electorate.
Even if there were a latent constituency of modern Rockefeller Republicans longing for the leadership of an enlightened plutocrat, third-party presidential campaigns are terrible vehicles for building political power. America's two-party system, unfortunate as it is, is an inevitable result of the winner-take-all nature of our elections. It cannot simply be wished away.
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