“Single digits.” That’s my reflex response any time a prospective candidate tells me he (or she) is running as an Independent, or No Party Affiliation, or as a member of a new party that nobody ever heard of or ever will. And that was my instant response when Howard Schultz announced (hinted at) his desire to become the 46th President of the United States of America as an Independent.
On the day of that announcement I decided that his quixotic approach to politics would be this month’s post. Therefore, the first thing I did was buy and read Howard’s new political coming out autobiography: “From the Ground Up.”
Here is what I learned:
First off, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, Howard Schultz is the founder and fabulously successful entrepreneur behind Starbucks. And Starbucks is a massively successful international brand. Even those of us who aren’t coffee drinkers can appreciate the quality of the Starbucks brand.
Second, the Howard Schultz story is a classic feel-good American success story. Indeed, his story and mine are so similar it’s a little scary.
We were both born in Brooklyn. (I’m about eight years older than Howard). We’re Jewish. He’s an up-from-the-projects entrepreneur. I’m an up-from-the-Crown-Heights-walkup entrepreneur. (He wound up with more zeroes for his net worth). We both had “challenging” families. And we both had difficulties bonding with our fathers. One major difference: He was born, and remains, a Democrat.
I was supposed to be a Democrat like my parents and three siblings but they clearly forgot to put the Kool-Aid in my bottle. By the time I was old enough to understand, I was never going to be a Democrat.
Howard is still a Democrat but thinks his party has gone too far left. Go figure.
More about Howard. He’s a good guy. He loves America and says it out loud. He’s proud of his own success. He loves his company, his product, and his employees. He lacks malice and is full of compassion. He’s an American success story and we should all be proud of him and see him as a role model.
Howard Schultz will not be elected president in November 2020. Why? Aside from his “Single Digit” destiny, he has a major political flaw: He refuses to learn the business.
Like most politicians, he thinks announcing one’s candidacy makes you an instant politico, a true expert. Howard made this mistake before. (He’s very honest about that in his book). He became a sports franchise owner (lead partner) without learning the sports franchise business. He bought the Seattle Supersonics, a National Basketball Association team. It was a financial mess when he bought it and he made it worse. He turned it into the Oklahoma City Thunder. He lost money, prestige, and one of his city’s proudest crown jewels. Well, he knows very little about politics as well.
Remember the old (circa 1225) saying: “Neither time nor tide waits for no man"? We politicos have an updated version: “Neither time nor tide nor office waits for no man.”
Poor Howard. His time came and went and he never knew it. (It was just as true for Chris Christie in 2012 and Jeb Bush in 2008).
Why do I say that? Because Howard Schultz’ brand is jobs and economic growth. He will talk about GDP growth, more jobs for minorities, more opportunity, and less regulation; all the agenda items Hillary and Bernie forgot about in 2016. And what has happened to those agenda items since? They have all been solved. GDP growth at 4 percent. Check. Business freed from onerous regulations. Check. Black, Hispanic and women's unemployment at all time lows. Check, check, and check.
So that leaves only Trump bashing. And, frankly, that’s not who Howard is. He’s not Mr. Negativity. He already takes pot shots at President Trump from time to time. They’re feeble. He should leave the mud slinging to the pros: Bernie, Elizabeth, Kirsten, Cory, AOC, etc. You get the idea.
I know what you’re thinking. Why doesn’t he just become a Republican and join people who admire his skills and success? As we say in Brooklyn: FUHGEDDABOUTIT! It doesn’t work that way. Kosher Kool-Aid is irreversible. But don’t feel bad for Howard. He’s still a good guy. He’s still a billionaire. And he’s no longer proud to be a Democrat. It’s a start.
And while I doubt Howard will ever see this post I still have some advice I would like to share: Don’t do it. Don’t go from being the highly respected Mr. Coffee to the political laughingstock of Mr. Single Digits.
And don’t make yourself a target for the whacko Left. They’ll chew you up and spit you out. They’ll go full tilt Trump on you. President Trump relishes the fight. You won’t. There are many mountains to climb in this world. Find yours.
Sid Dinerstein is a former chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. He founded JBS Associates, a 600-person financial service company, and currently combines politics and business with Niger Innis in Inclusive Elections LLC, a firm that brings urban electorate voters to the GOP. He is the author of "Adults Only: For Those Who Love Their Country More Than Their Party." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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