The Starbucks founder Howard Schultz is the Twitter villain of the hour. If hot takes actually generated heat, Schultz would already have been vaporized under the onrush of magma. His offense: contemplating a run for president as a self-funded independent centrist.
Many people could raise a legitimate complaint against this expensive plan, starting with Schultz’s heirs. But the Twitter complaints arise from concern not that Schultz is about to waste his money, but that he might spend it effectively. He might weaken the Democratic candidate in 2020, and thereby help reelect President Donald Trump.
Actually, this complaint reveals why Schultz’s exploration is just the help America needs. Schultz seems to intend to run as a compassionate businessman concerned that the Democratic Party is veering too far to the left. In an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, he complained of promises of free health care and free college tuition.
These complaints have been mocked as the selfish preoccupations of the superrich. If that were true, however, Democratic activists would have no reason to fear Schultz’s candidacy. America’s new progressive majority could roll right over Schultz’s plutocratic message.