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Assault on America, Day 37: Every four years people talk 3rd party… will it happen this time?

Howard Schultz
Everyone knows when an active volcano's about to erupt the underground seismic activity in the vicinity intensifies. Tremors indicate something (lava) is moving below the surface and it’s a bad sign for anything situated near the crater/mouth.

Luckily, eruptions don’t happen very often -- and if they did there’d be a lot fewer people to tell about them.

The same could be said (they don’t happen very often) about successful independent runs for the presidency. And by successful we’re talking candidates who generate enough interest, enthusiasm and votes to have a noticeable effect on an election’s outcome. Ross Perot (in 1992 and ’96) was the only non-Republican or Democrat in modern times to legitimately impact a presidential race.

Next year could be different as former Starbucks CEO (and billionaire) Howard Schultz recently mentioned he’s giving serious thought to running against President Donald Trump. But instead of joining the certain-to-be overcrowded Democrat field the liberal designer coffee mogul is promising/threatening to go it alone, finance his campaign as he goes along and hope to impress the fiscally responsible but socially progressive so-called “middle” of the country. You know, the kind of folks who love hanging out at Starbucks but still demand a free latte now and then.

A big deal? Probably not to Trump. But there are signs Democrats are nervous about Schultz. Naomi Lim reported at the Washington Examiner, “… Howard Schultz's internal polling shows he may have enough support to take part in general election presidential debates as an independent candidate.

“Schultz earns about 17 percent of the vote when matched up against President Trump and either Sens. Kamala Harris of California or Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as the hypothetical Democratic nominee, NBC News reported Sunday, citing the internal research. Trump generates 33 percent support in both three-way races, while 32 percent of respondents said they would vote for both Harris or Warren.”

Lim further reported the threshold for qualifying (for an independent candidate) in 2016 was to appear on enough state ballots to potentially mathematically secure a winning electoral vote total (270 for civics dropouts) and minimum polling support of fifteen percent in five national surveys. That’s it… if someone had done it, he or she would’ve earned a place on stage opposite Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Can’t you imagine Hillary and Donald ganging up on the poor soul?

Of course, no independent candidate got close to meeting the 2016 criteria despite Trump’s supposed near-universal unpopularity (according to the media) and a less than warm reception from the Republican establishment. Jeb Bush, John McCain, George W. Bush, John Kasich and a host of other wishy-washy RINO-types made no attempt to disguise their contempt for the outsider Trump, yet the grassroots didn’t care about the man’s personal bugaboos.

Here’s thinking they won’t mind Trump late next year either. Even if Schultz runs and dumps a hundred million or so of his own perk-bucks into data lists, seasoned campaign professional advisers, polling outfits and TV infomercials (remember Ross Perot’s infamous charts?), when push comes to shove he’d have a heck of a time meeting the fifteen percent barrier much less conjuring up the organization to place him on state ballots.

Political parties are virtually impregnable to outsiders for a reason. On staff are teams of lawyers who handle the formal filing requirements in every state and jurisdiction, then there’re the state and local party operations that dial it down in non-election cycles, lying dormant only to be activated whenever needed. Kind of like lava flowing just below the surface, it doesn’t take much for district groups to spring to life, commence gathering signatures and knocking on doors.

Campaign work ain’t much fun though -- that’s why the establishment pays a lot of dough to do the dirty work. An independent bid therefore starts at a tremendous disadvantage from day one -- and we’re not even talking about organization alone.

Further, Schultz isn’t exactly a household name, unless you’re referring to Charles M. Schulz, the late legendary cartoonist famous for his “Peanuts” strip. Howard Schultz isn’t even as well-recognized as Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy. How could he hope to compete?

Aside from Schultz’s lack of fame, Democrats vying for the shrinking slice of “moderate” party voters would tear him to shreds. Lim’s article quoted likely 2020 Democrat contender Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown as calling the coffee-touting titan “an idiot” for thinking about a run. If Democrats are already targeting Schultz on their threat radars and going out of their way to paste labels on him, just imagine what it will be like next year when the party nominee’s in place and they’re going around the country begging people to forget about their absurd abortion and “no money for a wall” immigration positions and ask for support.

Besides, doesn’t the media insist Trump is the name-caller?

Nevertheless, a lot of smart and respectable people take Schultz seriously (PJ Media’s Roger L. Simon is one of them), arguing Trump’s favorable ratings weigh down his reelection chances and Democrats have traveled so far outside the mainstream there’s room for a third-party independent bid. The prospective Democrat nominee (right now it looks like Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, but it’s still way early) will no doubt offer a truckload of goodies and politically correct SJW (social justice warrior) crypto-fascism to impress the Antifa crowd.

It won’t be easy. Moderates are in short supply in today’s Democrat party and there’s no reason to think they’ll gain a foothold in the near future, especially since Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s so adamant against reasonable persuasion on immigration. Any Democrat who hopes to succeed next year will sound a lot like Bernie Sanders did in 2016 and look more palatable to the Democrats’ appearance-fixated and gender-obsessed base.

Trump would love for Schultz to run. But might he have some intra-party competition of his own? Senator Mitt Romney (feels strange to say that) has only been in Washington for a month yet already he’s raising money… for what…reelection?

Byron York wrote at the Washington Examiner, “There's been speculation that Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee, will challenge President Trump in 2020 ever since Romney announced he would run for senator from his adopted state of Utah. Now, the just-elected Sen. Romney is holding a fundraiser — for ‘Team Mitt’ — that is stoking speculation anew.

“The fundraiser is to be held in suburban Virginia on Feb. 13. The invitation came from several Team Mitt co-chairs, the most notable among them being Paul Ryan, the recently departed speaker of the House and 2012 Romney running mate, and his wife Janna. Other co-chairs are Dominion Resources CEO Tom Farrell; Washington lobbyist Marcus Faust; Republican politico and former George H.W. Bush aide Bobbie Kilberg and her husband, Washington lawyer Bill Kilberg; and government contracting executive Richard Montoni and his wife, Andrea.

“The invitation asks for donations from $250 to the top-allowed $10,400.”

Of course “Team Mitt” organizers deny the money’s intended for a primary challenge, but lock these people in a room for an hour and you won’t hear a single iota of truth from any of them. Establishment Republicans never warmed up to Trump three years ago… why would they now?

Romney will not be content to be a lowly junior senator either. His ego is far too wide and his available opportunity window (he’ll be 77 in 2024) is much too narrow. For Mitt it’s now or never…and don’t bet the house on the never side.

It doesn’t take placing an ear to the ground to claim Trump’s potentially vulnerable (especially if the wall isn’t built) and there’s something amiss down below. It’s premature to view Howard Schultz as a true challenger to the two parties, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him try.

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