Last week, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that he’s thinking of running for president as an independent. Naturally, there was considerable concern that Schultz might pull votes from the eventual* Democratic nominee. While that might be a problem, there’s an argument to be made that a Democratic candidate should be able to beat one or two plutocrats, if we choose a good candidate.
Let’s lay out just how horrible Schultz would be. Yes, he’s not a recidivist segregationist or a theocrat (you get a cookie!), but he is a radical centrist austerian. He is obsessed with ‘saving Social Security’, which translated means benefit cuts. In the fourteen years (?!?!) I’ve been writing this shitty blog, I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to knock down the SOCIAL SECURITY IS DOOOMED!! bullshit** (scroll through here if you like, but I just don’t have the patience for it anymore).
What worries me isn’t that Schultz will take away votes, but that he will drive the political debate to a very, very bad place. The political press corps loves radical centrism and austerianism, because they are horrible people. Instead of discussing all of the things that we really need to do, the press corps will fixate on non-problems that are irrelevant:
Right now, we should put people to work fixing all of the broken shit. While unemployment is low, employment rates aren’t that high: there are still people who need jobs–and Intelligent Designer forbid that labor should be in the driver’s seat for a bit. Republicans in 2017 demonstrated that there is a lot of room for spending, even if they did so in the form of tax cuts for the rich. After decades of crappy public infrastructure and goods, we deserve–and can have–nice things.
One of the greatest political cons of the last few decades was how ‘centrists’ managed to convince many people that they’re not radical ideologues. They are: they value a GDP:ratio more than people. Enough radicalism already.
Too much of the last quarter century has been spent fending off centrist and conservative attacks on one of the best damn things Democrats have ever done–and some of those attacks were from inside the wire ([cough] chained CPI [cough]). We lost so many opportunities to make things better because we had to fight rear guard actions to prevent things from simply getting worse. Enough already. Enough of Schultz’s past, it’s time for our future.
I’m starting to think the balaclava brigade that spends most of its time smashing Starbucks stores’ windows might be on to something.
*The primary season will pass. Probably like a quarter inch kidney stone, but it will pass.
**The one time in my career I received actionable threats over something I wrote, it was over Social Security. Go figure.