Chuck Todd: Dems, Stop Sh*tting Yourselves!
Women Democrats are killing it lately. Senator Kamala Harris kicked off her presidential campaign this week with a kickass rally followed by a kickass town hall. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's also running for president, dropped some bold, progressive tax policy on our asses. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is just slaying in general. Yet Chuck Todd wants to talk about Howard Schultz. The former Starbucks CEO is considering a presidential run. He has no chance in hell because he's not a viable candidate. He's actually just mayonnaise that somehow freed itself from its container and turned up on "The View."
However, Todd thinks, without evidence, that Democrats are "freaking out" over a Schultz candidacy. He chastised Democrats for "overreacting" to Schultz in his "First Read" briefing from "Meet the Press."
TODD: The protester who heckled former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at his book event Monday night in New York City summed up how Democrats are greeting his potential third-party White House bid.
That was a random heckler, not a drunken Chuck Schumer. Todd is the one who's "overreacting." No one is "scared" of Howard Schultz. Just like no one thinks Todd's goatee is cool. People would just prefer that Donald Trump not win again and kill us all. Dr. Jill Stein screwed us in 2016, and she doesn't own even one overpriced coffee shop. Still, what if people were "freaking out" over the announcement that a billionaire businessman with no political experience was running for president? Don't we have ample precedent for alarm? No one took Trump's candidacy seriously at the beginning and look where that got us.
Todd wasn't done being silly.
TODD: Are Democrats worried that their nominating process won't produce a nominee that can win over both progressives and independents? Is it possible that the threat of Schultz running as an independent makes them nominate someone who's, well, more pragmatic and able to win over independent voters?
"Independents" are a political euphemism for white voters, and in a post Trump era, it especially means embarrassed Republicans who feel kinda bad about baby jails and transgender military bans but are not personally affected by them. They aren't pissed off, and it was pissed off voters who fueled the blue wave. "Pragmatic" is also a term pundits like Todd only apply to Democrats. Is there anything "pragmatic" about raving bigot Mike Pence?
Todd later invited some objective political analysts onto his show to discuss the imaginary "Dem blockback" against the Schultz non-phenomenon. There was Ron Fournier, who has long pushed for a third party presidential candidate because he apparently wants to keep electing Republicans forever. He argues that Democrats "look weak" even taking a position against Schultz. To borrow from Sam Spade, are Democrats just supposed to sit around and let Schultz "stick them up" at the ballot box? Should they not comment on Schultz's vanity campaign until a few days after his inauguration?
Todd also chatted with former Obama staffer Bill Burton, who is now inexplicably Schultz's top aide and communications strategist. By the way, white men aren't fooling anyone when they've happily worked for male Democrats but suddenly defect to the random campaigns of rich white dudes after multiple women Democrats announce their intentions. Burton shared all the rock-solid reasons Schultz would prove a great president: He "loves his family," "wants better outcomes," "thinks there's a better way," and he's "thinking differently." These slogans might all look good on a coffee mug but they aren't actual policies.
Schultz's "big idea," according to Burton, is that "politics is broken." Although that is a fair way to describe any industry that has a Mitch McConnell, Burton doesn't bother to tell us how Schultz will fix these "broken" politics. It's not an $11,000
Clover machine. The notion that all DC needs is one reasonable man, a fully caffeinated Jimmy Stewart, is absurdly naive, certainly more so than any policy proposal from Ocasio-Cortez. She's a woman, though, so she gets a pat on the head. Schultz is actually taken seriously.
Conservative Alfonso Aguilar claimed Schultz is responding to "the move of many Democratic politicians and leadership to the extreme left." He'd have a point if there actually existed an "extreme left" other than in his imagination. The majority of Americans support the policies these crazy women Democrats are promoting. According to a recent Hill-Harris poll, 59 percent of Americans agree with Ocasio-Cortez's call to raise the highest tax rate to 70 percent. Voters in a Fox News poll backed Warren's "eat-the-rich" tax 70 to 24 percent. Schultz might claim "Americans don't want" these things, but he's lying. This is why he's actually a Republican and not a "centrist independent."
TODD: What should scare Democrats more than Schultz right now is that there's the OPENING for someone with a less partisan, more independent message — especially when both parties are underwater in our latest NBC/WSJ poll.
This is just nonsense. First place, not all Democrats are Ocasio-Cortez. There's a big tent, and it includes Kyrsten Sinema who ran as an independent voice for Arizona and won Jeff Flake's former Senate seat. Todd could invite her on "Meet the Press" but he prefers to enable the GOP's narrative that the Democrats are all a bunch of radical commies.
All that's radical about Democrats right now is how diverse they are. Steve King expressed his horror over this fact in an overtly bigoted way. The Schultz campaign with its warnings against "extremism" is just more subtle.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).