Schultz paving the way for Trump’s reelection

Riley Garland

After the fight over the government shutdown, it’s no surprise that President Trump’s disapproval rating is reaching new heights. According to a Quinnipiac poll on Tuesday, he has an overall disapproval of 19 points. On Wednesday, various polls in Michigan placed Trump against different possible Democratic nominees, ranging from former-Vice President Joe Biden to Senator Bernie Sanders. The results: Trump lost in every poll.

Perhaps these polls should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the polling for the 2016 election was clearly miscalculated. However, there is a growing discontent within the base centered around Trump’s inability to fulfill his biggest campaign promise—building the wall. Ann Coulter, an early fervent Trump supporter, has begun regularly berating the President on Twitter. On Jan. 25, after news broke of the government shutdown ending, Coulter tweeted, “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”

As 2020 nears, things aren’t looking very good for Republicans. Yet, a new glimmer of hope may help secure another four years for Trump. Howard Schultz, an NMU alumnus and former CEO of Starbucks, has been mulling over a 2020 presidential bid—as an independent. In a recent interview with CNBC, he said, “It concerns me that so many voices in the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, ‘How are we going to pay for these things,’ in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don’t think that’s realistic.”

Schultz can be best described as a centrist, old-school Democrat. It’s the same cloth that Bill Clinton was cut from, who was able to rally blue collar workers and the old Democratic base. Schultz is correct in his assertion that the Democratic Party is moving further and further left, leaving behind a large portion of the base that doesn’t subscribe to radical socialism. Many old Democrats feel disaffected, which I believe played a major role in Trump’s election to office. Rust Belt states filled with people concerned about the economy and their jobs flocked to Trump’s side. People like my grandfather, who had voted straight blue in every presidential election his entire life, left the Democratic Party and voted for Donald Trump in 2016. He expressed the same reasoning Schultz lays out.

Running as an independent allows people like my grandfather to find a happy medium between radical leftism and conservatism, something that a huge swath of the population would find comforting. It’s also going to be detrimental to Democrats. Yes, Schultz will pull back some of the blue collar folks who voted for Trump in 2016, but he’s going to pull far more votes from the Democratic Party. People who hate Trump and have been struggling to stomach the radicalism in their own ranks are going to move into Schultz’s camp, fragmenting the already ideologically-divided party. Blue collar workers and social justice activists will part ways, cutting each of their chances of winning in half.

A similar situation occurred back in 1912. When Theodore Roosevelt failed to secure the Republican nomination, he created the Progressive Party (nicknamed the “Bull Moose Party”) and ran for president. This fragmented the Republicans, which allowed Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic nominee, to win with only 42 percent of the vote.

If Trump wants to win, this presidential play by Schultz is the best thing he could ask for. Until Democrats get their act together and make a return to the principles that used to win them elections, they should expect to weather another four years of Trump. “Resistance” doesn’t earn results.