In 1992, then-President George Bush was running for reelection against a young Democrat opponent from Arkansas named Bill Clinton.
And there’s an excellent likelihood he would have defeated Bill Clinton, had it not been for H. Ross Perot.
Mr. Perot, a billionaire businessman who had never been in politics before, ran as an independent and received about 19% of the total vote. And, although exit polls showed he took votes from both candidates, he probably took a good many more from Bush, thus assuring his defeat.
Now, fast forward to the present.
Today we have Howard Schultz, a billionaire businessman who has never been in politics before, threatening to run as an independent. Given that Mr. Schultz is a political liberal, it is likely that, if he does run, most of his votes will come from people who would have voted for the Democrat candidate.
This is why Democrats are having apoplexies over the prospect of a Schultz candidacy.
Excerpted from John Fund’s article for foxnews.com:
Mike Allen, the well-wired reporter for Axios, says Democrats are beyond being furious at Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. Allen is “hearing threats of boycotts and social isolation, attacks on Starbucks, and emotional, insistent lobbying of his advisers.”
The anti-Trump talking heads and liberal consultants are terrified at the mere thought that an “independent centrist” presidential candidate like Schultz would draw some votes from a liberal Democratic nominee running against President Trump in 2020.
So Schultz, a lifelong Democrat who nonetheless thinks some ideas like excessive debt and the cost of entitlements should be up for debate, has gone overnight from being viewed on the left as an innovative business hero to a partisan piñata.
Democrats clearly see Howard Schultz as a significant, possibly decisive, threat to their 2020 prospects – maybe more of a threat to their candidate than H. Ross Perot was to George Bush. And, in my view, they’re 100% correct.
-Schultz, though “centrist” in some ways, is clearly seen as a Democrat/liberal . He’s the guy who, among other “social justice warrior” policies, told his counterpeople to engage customers in discussions about race relations; he’s the guy who, for years, de-Christed Christmas on his coffee cups, etc. There is little doubt his appeal is more to the blue side than the red.
-In 1992, Perot, a centrist business-oriented candidate, ran against incumbent Bush, a moderate Republican and Clinton, a moderate Democrat. Yes, there were differences between them, some of them major. But they were all somewhere in the same ballpark.
-By contrast, in 2020 the Democrat candidate will either be part of the lunatic-left fringe that has largely taken over the party or, even if more centrist, will have to successfully explain away his/her party’s massive leftward lurch to disaffected moderate Democrats (lots of luck with that). Regardless of which it turns out to be, prospects are evident for a significant peel-off to a third party Democrat alternative like Schultz.
Of course, nobody knows whether Howard Schultz is actually going to run. In fact, I’ve heard a few commentators speculate that he doesn’t have any intention of doing so and has floated this fantasy to sell his newly published book.
But if he does, I have a feeling that H. Ross Perot, still around at age 88, will get quite the kick out of it.
Or, in the words of the great H. (for Hall of Fame) Yogi Berra, “it’s déjà vu all over again”.