Countless progressives and opponents of President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE across America feel contempt and disgust toward the potential presidential candidacy of Howard Schultz, which will only help re-elect Trump.
The only good news about the Schultz move is that it was begun, not coincidentally, at exactly the same time Schultz released a book and begins a book tour to attract readers.
Perhaps when his book tour is finished, Schultz will decide he has better things to do than become the arch enemy of every American progressive, many of whom comprise a major part of the Starbucks customer base.
The first days of this destructive venture by Schultz have included attacks against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Schultz did not stop at disagreeing with the policies proposed by Warren, Harris and Ocasio-Cortez. A Google search for the words “Schultz un-American” will provide examples of times that Schultz has used these words to describe progressive policies championed by Warren, Harris, Ocasio-Cortez and a very long list of leading progressive voices.
Consider the pure politics of a Schultz presidential campaign. Trump is unelectable in 2020 because of his stratospheric unpopularity unless a third-party candidate such as Schultz takes away enough votes from anti-Trump voters to re-elect the most unpopular president in American history.
Recall that if Jill Stein had not been on the ballot in 2016, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE would have almost certainly won electoral votes in key states and the plagues of the Trump presidency would not be infecting America today.
Similarly, if Ralph Nader had not been on the ballot in the 2000 campaign, Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreTrump's election fraud claims pose risks for GOP in midterms Don't 'misunderestimate' George W. Bush Why the pro-choice movement must go on the offensive MORE would have almost certainly carried Florida and been elected president. There would have been no Iraq War. There would probably be a liberal majority on the Supreme Court.
The politics of a Schultz candidacy are real, clear and decisive. A Schultz candidacy would offer the greatest single hope for those seeking to re-elect Trump. For Schultz to suggest otherwise is, at best, the height of political ignorance and delusion.
When Schultz attacks Warren’s proposal for a small wealth tax of 2 percent on those with assets above $50 million and a small wealth tax of 3 percent on those with assets above $1 billion, he is wrong on the policy and wrong on the politics.
Schultz claims that Warren’s proposal could never become law. He is wrong. If a Democratic president offered this plan to a Democratic House and Senate, it would almost certainly pass and become law.
When Schultz attacked the "Medicare for all" plan offered by Harris, and at first called it un-American, he was attacking a single-payer health-care plan that has been enacted, in one form or another, by virtually every democratic nation across the globe.
Advocates of single-payer health care, myself included, have supported different forms of single-payer health care and Medicare for all. I support a universal Medicare buy-in, where every citizen could make the choice of enrolling in Medicare and paying a Medicare premium as all recipients of Medicare do.
I do not go as far as Ocasio-Cortez when she proposes a 70-percent tax rate on wealthy Americans. I prefer Warren’s wealth tax. But the Ocasio-Cortez plan is totally legitimate, worthy of serious debate and the high tax rate she proposes has been in effect during earlier periods of American history.
Schultz is slandering progressives when he uses words such as “un-American” to describe any of these proposals. He is personally attacking leading American progressives. He is insulting and demeaning every progressive citizen who supports these plans.
He is ridiculing and insulting the many Americans who would not describe themselves as progressive but also support these plans. He is helping to re-elect Donald Trump and wrongfully working to legitimize the arguments Trump and the right make against Democrats and progressives.
Speaking as one progressive, amending some famous words from Patrick Henry, I do not know what course others may take, but if Schultz runs for president, I will stand in front of a Starbucks store, cut my Starbucks gold card in half and buy my beverages elsewhere.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.