Here we go again! Billionaire coffee monger Howard Schultz is thinking of running a “third-way” campaign for the president. You see, according to him, what Americans are begging for is a man who is tolerant of gays, wants more immigration, and wants to see less spending on Social Security and Medicare. Democratic voters would generally agree with the first part of that but not to the extent that they would hate the second part. Republican voters would hate all of it.
Who are the people begging for this man to run?
You see, Howard Schultz is offering exactly what urbane rich people most want:
- Low taxes because they want to keep their money
- Few regulations because they don’t have to worry about unsafe working conditions or environmental poisoning but love cheap stuff
- Social tolerance because diversity is fun as long as you don’t have to be near poor people.
There’s nothing wrong with this. Vote your interests rich people! The problem is that these particular rich people report it as given that this is the what the rest of us want.
What Americans Do Not Want
Back in 2016, the Voter Study Group produced a report, Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyond. And one of its findings was what I’ve known for decades: almost no one is socially liberal and economically conservative.
There are plenty of people who are the opposite: socially conservative and economically liberal. In the following graph, you can see this for the 2016 election. The blue dots are Clinton supporters, red dots are Trump, and the yellow dots are for someone else — generally what’s his name, the Libertarian.
What Americans Largely Do Want
What’s amazing is that the quadrant that is almost empty is the one that the media constantly tell us is the mean between the two extremes. It’s called “moderate” or “centrist” but it is really libertarian.
The opposite quadrant has a much larger claim to being indicative of what Americans want. That’s because Americans are bigots who don’t want anyone messing with their Medicare and Social Security. This is populism in America.
Yet we are expected to believe that what Howard Schultz offers is a non-ideological plan. One that just so happens to be what is best for Scott Pelley and him. Libertarianism isn’t ideological in the sense that what you want is never ideological; it’s just common sense!
Even worse, these so-called moderates and centrists are usually extremist. Most Americans would find them very liberal on social issues and very conservative on economic issues. Even the extremists in the Republican Party know they have to talk around cutting entitlement programs. But to Howard Schultz, it’s just good government!
I get tired of repeating this. But the truth is that the mainstream media have yet to get a clue about this myth they report as undisputed fact. They present populists as if they are dangerous. But these libertarians masquerading as moderates are presented as brave truth tellers. As long as the media don’t get a clue, the rest of us will have to continue to point this stuff out.
But the issue is actually quite clear: don’t trust rich people. They are not here to save us. They are running because they have huge egos and figure that governing is a win-win: they get more money and power and the people get the benefit of their genius. At least in their minds.