An Open Letter to Howard Schultz


Dear Mr. Schultz,

You have recently said you might run for President—as a centrist independent.

Coming off a 2016 election in which votes cast for Green Party candidate Jill Stein instead of Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania helped hand Donald Trump the presidency, I am, let’s just say, less than thrilled with the idea of a well-funded independent candidate siphoning away Democratic support in 2020.

As the upcoming presidential race stands right now, Trump does not seem likely to win a second term. Judging by approval ratings from the height of Trump’s unpopularity after this shutdown fiasco, his hardcore base is, at most, 37% of voters nationally. And in two polls, 56% and 57% of respondents said they would not consider voting for Trump in 2020. If his base stays small and his unpopularity stays that high, Trump will not win reelection.

But if a centrist independent like yourself enters the race, Trump’s chances soar — even with sky-high unpopularity. A centrist independent would drain Democratic support far more than Republican support. While Trump’s base will stick with him no matter what, some of the Never Trump Republicans, independents, and moderate Democrats that the Democratic nominee needs to beat Trump in key swing states may be attracted instead to a candidate like yourself.

And let’s be clear: You would have no chance of actually winning the presidency. You would be unlikely to win a single state. Even though many Americans are fed up with the two major parties, as you appear to be, there is little chance you gain enough support as an independent to come within striking distance of electoral victory against two major party candidates.

You say you don’t like Trump. So I don’t know why you would even entertain the possibility of giving Trump the biggest favor he could hope for: a three way race, the best chance he has at a second term.

I don’t know what your motive is for publicly mulling a presidential bid. Maybe you want attention, or maybe you genuinely believe America needs an independent candidate. But whatever you motive is for considering running for president as an independent, you would be putting the country at great risk of a second term of Trump if you actually ran.

So, Mr. Schultz, stop and consider the consequences of an independent centrist bid for the presidency. Stop and think about what is best for the country. If you want to run for the Democratic or Republican 2020 presidential nominations, then do it — the more the merrier. But please, please, do not run in the 2020 general election as an centrist independent. We can not risk four more years of President Donald Trump.

Jacob Denninger if a Freshman in the College and prospective government major from Massachusetts.

Max Magid