Howard Schultz and Delusional “Moderates”

Howard SchultzHere 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?

Mostly, it appears that rich media figures are looking for Howard Schultz or any of hundreds just like him. You know: people like Scott Pelley who has a net worth of $16 million.

You see, Howard Schultz is offering exactly what urbane rich people most want:

  1. Low taxes because they want to keep their money
  2. Few regulations because they don’t have to worry about unsafe working conditions or environmental poisoning but love cheap stuff
  3. 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.

Ideology 2016 - From Voter Study Group

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!

Extremist Non-Ideology

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.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

8 thoughts on “Howard Schultz and Delusional “Moderates”

  1. 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.

    Yes, the second quadrant is the populist quadrant and the fourth quadrant (in your graph and also in the famous Political Compass) is the antipopulist quadrant. I’m reminded of the 2016 primary season, during which Michael Bloomberg said he would run in the general election as an independent in the event both Trump and Sanders got nominated.

    That being said, I’m transgender. As you probably know, we’ve largely replaced the L/G/B population as the demographic that people (from a surprising variety of political backgrounds) still feel empowered to scapegoat. Although my political loyalties lie deep in the third quadrant, I would, if forced to, choose a fourth quadrant candidate over a second quadrant one. As a painful lesser evil, of course. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. One prioritizes those issues that certain people have weaponized against them personally. C’est la vie.

    • Perfectly understandable sentiment. We all have issues which hit closest to home.

      At least Bloomberg had enough sense to listen to experts who assured him an independent run would guarantee a Trump victory. Even if Bloomberg was a jerk mayor, he does understand how politics works.

      Schultz needs to stop messing around, here. He should find the most fiscally conservative Democratic candidate, form a PAC, and blitz key states with money. It’s still bad for the country, but it’s better than handing 2020 to Trump.

      • I think you nailed it: Bloomberg knows politics, even if he is a billionaire asshole too. It’s funny that Schultz claims Trump isn’t qualified to be president. What exactly are Schultz’s qualifications other than that he is in complete agreement with himself?

    • I was just watching a video on fascism and it claimed that as fascist regimes move forward the group of “us” gets smaller and the group of “them” gets larger. The case of the transgender community was mentioned: as L/G/B has become more accepted, the focus of oppression has moved to T. I thought that was a great example. And look how big hating on transsexualism has gotten among the “skeptic” community! And it’s not like I’ve been on the leading edge of trans-rights.

      I tend to assume myself in quadrant 1 if I can’t have quadrant 3. However, every time I start to think about it, I realize it doesn’t work. All of these identity issues are also our biggest economic issues. I know, for example, most people think of the gay community as affluent. But that’s not true. I think that’s true of the transgender community too. It isn’t surprising. Most people in America are poor! And if you are part of an oppressed group, you will be poorer still. It’s us/them issues that most make me despair about humanity’s future.

  2. Neil DeMause (who writes the brilliant Field Of Schemes website, about sports stadium scams) posted this amazing story about Schultz today:

    Schultz buys the NBA Seattle SuperSonics. The previous owners gave office staff Christmas gifts. Schultz didn’t. When grumbling commenced, a junior member of the ownership group gave staff a party game his company sold. So Scultz, shamed, gives everyone Starbucks gift cards. For $3.50. He had to have them specially made, the lowest one was $5. And an NBA front office isn’t very big, maybe 100-200 people. What a nice guy, eh?

    • OMG! Now at least I understand why he’s against a wealth tax: he’s pinching pennies! Maybe we should start a GoFundMe for him. I’ll bet he’s hungry his very minute!

      I learned only a few days ago that the SF Giants were threatening the city with leaving. When it comes to MLB especially, there should be a federal law that no government entity can give any kind of gifts (including any kind of tax breaks or zoning carve-outs) to these teams. I’m sick of this stuff. And as David Cay Johnston has documented, these deals are always bad for localities. Of course, if the SF mayor said no, all the idiot fans would be up in arms. To all teams, I say: fuck you! I’d much rather see minor league or semi-pro teams anyway.

      I like what Shaun says here (the whole video is good):

      • That was a fun video, except when the malicious asshole was on screen. Jeez, these people. Grow. Up.

        The pointless municipal giveaway to teams is De Mause’s specialty, he’s writing about it for 20 years. And no, these things never remotely pay for themselves. There’s actually a company (“CSL”) which specializes in selling this garbage to cities; one time I found a PDF they’d left on a website, it was the most ridiculous funny-money numbers you could imagine.

        There’s a terrifying theory going around that Schultz is strictly running on the blackmail platform. If the Dems nominate an economic leftist, he’ll jump in and throw the thing to Trump. Hopefully he’s just publicizing his lame-ass book.

        • I know the experience of the Giants because CalTrain ends right across from their stadium. And before it was built, there were all these claims of how it was going to revitalize the area. But it didn’t. People go to the game and then leave. They don’t hang around frequenting the local shops and restaurants. Indeed, most people want to get out of there as fast as possible because of the congestion. Yet I always hear this claim when a team wants to move or get a new stadium built.

          Yeah, it may be a blackmail move. Or he may just think that Trump or he will be better than any Democrat. The truth is that I don’t think Schultz would like any Democrat who will win. Just the same, I’m not that worried about him at this point. I really don’t think he is capable of generating any enthusiasm at all. He’s offering the same thing Trump did: I’ll get the best people together and figure out these problems. As if Obama didn’t do that. These assholes always think the same thing: politicians are just idiots and they’ve never thought of asking experts. (Well, in the case of modern Republicans, that’s largely true.)

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