Donald Trump was having a horrible month. Then Howard Schultz gave him a chance to flex his inner Biff.
Trump hopes, hopes, hopes Schultz runs for president.
And so President Biff did what his role model, the ruling oaf in “Back to the Future,” did to Marty McFly: called him chicken.
Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, “doesn’t have the guts to run for president,” he tweeted.
That should do it, Biff.
Judging by Trump’s horrible approval ratings – cumulatively now in the 30s – the only way he could be re-elected would be to have a semi-legit candidate siphon off a sliver of votes in what might otherwise go to the Democrat in key swing states.
A viable independent candidate? The last one to get so much as a single electoral vote was George Wallace in 1968 with four southern states’ worth of 46.
Ross Perot? Zero. John Anderson. Zero. Ralph Nader. Zero. Jill Stein. Zero. Gary Johnson. Zero.
What did each accomplish? Well, Nader voters in 2000 helped George Bush, a man antithetical to everything they were about.
Howard Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, doesn’t like the apparent leftward-ness of the Dem field.
Why doesn’t he offer himself in that field as an alternative to the lefties? Democrats support candidates with a range of beliefs.
Instead, he contemplates holding himself up as the hope of squishy centrists or flighty progressives, a means of flushing away their votes while a minority of voters returns Biff to office.
Schultz reportedly is aghast at the blowback relative to his burst of idealism backed by billions. Good. He is absolutely entitled to dispose of all those billions in a nationwide campaign that will net him nothing, but he needs to know that third-party math is Biff’s best hope.
Michael Bloomberg, who also pondered a third-party candidacy but now is considering offering his centrism as a Democratic candidate, pointedly asserted that a third-party victory is beyond possibility, if no reason other than the Electoral College. Of this there is no doubt whatsoever.
But let’s face it. This is about voters, not Howard Schultz. Someone else, like Stein, will offer himself or herself as a nonviable alternative to the only two we know to be viable
So, I’d like to ask Howard Schultz, the voter – not the maybe candidate – this one question: Considering which of two candidates you and we all know will win in 2020, the Democrat or Donald Trump, which do you want populating the Supreme Court?
Ask that of anyone who considers voting “third party,” or lodging a “protest vote,” or opting to “vote for nobody” due to the fact that none of the two viable candidacies meets the desired definition of ideological purity.
Which side do you want populating any of our federal courts? Where you stand on reproductive rights? What about LGBTQ rights? What about corporations flexing their muscle and lording it over workers (and lawmakers)? What about unchecked gun violence? What about merciless immigration policies?
All come before the courts, particularly the Supreme Court.
Conservatives have shown that they will hold their noses and dwell in the latrine tank long enough to vote for a person who is certifiably corrupt and is bereft of a moral compass if that person will appoint the judges they crave.
Some think of Trump voters as dumb, but voting with an eye on the courts is smart.
It’s the way every progressive or centrist voter should look at the “choice between two evils.” What philosophy do you wish the courts to reflect?
I tire of the spiels, “There’s not a lick of difference between them,” and “They’re both corrupt.”
There was a time when the two parties were similarly business-driven and it was basically an anti-Red contest of “Who can top this?”
No more. Never in the last half century have the two parties been so different.
As for Biff, if you’re alarmed by him, know that he wants you to flush away your disgust in 2020.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.