Howard Schultz: Should He Be Heard?

howard schultz

The way Howard Schultz is being ostracized by many for planning a possible run for the White House as an Independent candidate is worrisome. Some are wary of him because he has been a successful businessman which has propelled him into the billionaire class. Since when is that a crime or even an undesirable goal? Doesn’t the American dream include the ability to freely aspire to personal accomplishment, including financial? That’s a different argument than expecting that those who gain wealth (and the influence and power that comes with it) should share more of their assets for the benefit of the common good.

Schultz is casting himself as a moderate and centrist – not a right-wing conservative or a left-wing liberal – but one who views each political and social issue independently regardless of the label or classification that the public assigns them. Many assume a “moderate” to be an individual with no strong opinions and who will sway with the wind on just about any issue. This does not accurately define Schultz. 

He, like most of us, sees a nation very polarized today. As too often reflected in media broadcasts, it’s as if everything must be defined in black or white; no grey areas are allowed by those on the extreme ends. But, some tint of grey is usually the color of virtually any effective law created in Congress.

Is it too much to ask for a government whose legislators seek the right balance between so-called liberal and conservative agendas, between social and corporate interests, and between the rich and the poor? That’s what a true moderate is trying to accomplish, along with finding realistic solutions that will accommodate the citizens, even if not a perfect fit for any particular interest group. Being a good moderate politician requires the ability to obtain consensus and the will to accept compromise. That’s how you make democracy work. It’s a difficult job – arguably more difficult than being set in your ways and wearing blinders.

Mr. Schultz seems to be the only announced candidate presented as a centrist willing to attempt bringing lawmakers together rather than instigating greater division. Maybe others of his ilk will join the fray. But today, those deep-rooted at either end of the political spectrum seem poised to inhibit him from being part of the discussion. The President reinforced this in his State of the Union speech, labeling all Democrats as promoting hardline “socialism.” 

This is not how it should work. 

Schultz deserves the right to present his points of view regardless of how they might disagree with parochial left or right opinions. There is valid concern that his running as an Independent might result in the current President to win a second term in office, much to some’s chagrin. 

But where does he fit within either political party’s agenda? Republicans appear to want to support Trump for 2020, and the Democratic Party leadership seems intent on putting forth a staunch liberal candidate. No others need apply. So, where else can Howard Schultz compete for the Presidency?  

Maybe we are at a crossroads where we should determine if a third political party or independent entity, one that supports moderate or centrist philosophies, is a good option for our country. If Schultz, or any other candidate who can appeal across party lines should enter the race, we should hope he will be thoroughly and fairly evaluated by the voting public rather than ignored or dispelled. We should all be concerned about the latter prevailing. 

It’s not what America is supposed to be all about.