Are Democrats Too Worried About Howard Schultz?

Umm… Yes.

First, Institutional Democrats overestimate the importance of the Independent/Third Party Vote. They did it with John Anderson, they did it with Ross Perot, they did it with Ralph Nader, and they did it with Jill Stein. Blaming your failures on Third Parties, Gerrymandering, and Foreign Interference are simply excuses for under performance and unpopular policy. Don’t get me wrong, Gerrymandering, and Foreign Interference are real problems, crimes actually, and should be addressed. Third Party Candidates are mostly an annoyance unless they are tapping into a popular agenda that the Party is ignoring.

More importantly there is no such animal as a swing voting “Centrist” Independent. People who are registered Independent are overwhelmingly (80%+) simply disaffected from their Party of choice because of hypocrisy, corruption, and cronyism. If you can get them to the polls they will reliably follow their inclinations.

Among this universe Democrats hold a 2 to 1 advantage (if you could call it that). The reason Democrats lose elections is that this pool of potential voters is scorned and despised by Candidates and the Institutional Party. Is it any wonder they go Third Party or, more often, don’t turn out at all?

Big Tent Republicans with a ‘(D)’ may be content to ignore their constituents in favor of their contributors because they are primarily Greedheads who mouth mere words about “Social Justice” while practicing Identity Politics of division, but their money amplified messaging is falling on deafer and deafer ears.

The concept that Howard Schultz, another bungling Billionaire running on a Platform of No Labels Status Quo Centrism, is any threat against a Democrat that believes in and articulates the Principles of the Party is a chimera of craven cowardice. The only need he serves is as a Fig Leaf for Republicans who pretend they’re not Racists, simply Greedheads. They’re a Minority of a Minority- why do we need them? To win Elections? Time after time we have proven that sufficiently motivated Independents who are not and never have been “Centrists” (the largest Party by the way) can make them appear the insignificant statistical blip they are, almost a rounding error.

Give them the truth Harry. They’ll think it’s hell.

Address at the National Convention Banquet of the Americans for Democratic Action, May 17, 1952

Now the time has rolled around again when you folks have the problem of trying to pick and choose a candidate to support. You are not the only ones who have that problem, and I assure you I am fully aware that it can be a very perplexing problem indeed.

But we are lucky in having a number of good presidential candidates in the field, and some of them are here tonight. I am sure that the ADA will find a candidate who expresses in his philosophy and in his record the things that this organization stands for. Obviously, such a man would have to be a Democrat.

Because this is an election year, I would like to talk to you a little bit about politics.

The first thing I will say about the Republican Party, believe it or not, is an expression of gratitude. I want to thank them for the way they help the Democrats win elections. Under the liberal policies of the Democratic administration, our country has grown strong and prosperous. And this has been true for such a long time now that people tend to forget what things were like under the Republicans. They criticize the mistakes the Democrats make, but they take for granted all the benefits we have brought them. Every 4 years it begins to look as if the people had forgotten what a Republican administration would mean to the country. And the Republicans go around convincing themselves that they cannot possibly lose the presidential election. I have heard it happen 4 times.

But it is just at this point, when things look darkest for the Democrats, that you can count on the Republicans to do something that will save the day–that is, it will save the day for us. You can always count on the Republicans, in an election year, to remind the people of what the Republican Party really stands for. You can always count on them to make it perfectly clear before the campaign is over that the Republican Party is the party of big business, and that they would like to turn the country back to the big corporations and the big bankers in New York to run it as they see fit. They are just not going to do it.

Just leave them alone, and the Republicans will manage to scare the daylights out of the farmer and the wage earner and the average American citizen. They always do that.

I had the best time I ever had in my life going up and down this country, telling the people the truth, and when they found out what the truth was, you know what they did. And I am here to say to you that when a man in politics, if he is a leader. has the right ideas, the people are willing to listen to what he has to say. It is a matter of salesmanship.

And that’s the reason the pollsters are wrong, whenever you have a candidate who will go out and say what is good for the people–they will believe him; but they go down the street and meet the first three or four people, and ask them who you are for and why you are for him. “Oh,” they say, “I’m for this fellow. Of course some article in the paper said this or that about him.” And they don’t know anything about them, really. That is really what makes leadership in politics. You have got to go out and sell yourself, and what you stand for. And we are going to get a candidate like that, and he is going to win.

Now, the Republicans in 1948, in that 80th Congress of theirs, they went after organized labor with their Taft-Hartley law. They went after all wage earners by their attacks on the social security program. They went after the farmer by tampering with price supports and by failing to provide grain storage.

This year they are at it again. The Republicans think they have been so successful with their campaign of smears and character assassination that they have the Democrats on the run. And they just can’t restrain themselves enough to hide their true colors until after the election. They are too impatient. First one way and then another they are giving themselves away. Take this steel dispute.

I am not going to talk about constitutional issues here tonight; they are before the Supreme Court. I just want to bring out a few facts about the economics of this dispute in the steel industry.

The Republican leaders could have taken a calm, judicious attitude and weighed both sides and decided where the merits lie. But that is not the way the Republican leaders act; it never is–thank goodness.

They rushed into the fray at once. They took it up in Congress, and they made speeches up and down the Nation. They demanded four or five new investigations. They threatened to wreck price control, and they’re doing their best to do it. And what is the purpose of all this? The purpose is to preserve high profits for the steel companies and prevent wage increases for the steelworkers.

That shows exactly where the Old Guard stands. It shows that their hearts lie with the corporations and not with the working people. It proves that the old Republican leopard hasn’t changed a single spot. It ought to serve as a big, glaring danger sign to the voters of this country of what to expect if they turn the administration of the country over to the Republicans who are now in control of that party.

The main body of the Republican leaders are doing just what they do every election year. They are making it good and plain to the American people that so far as domestic policies are concerned, the Republican Party is the party of reaction and the party of special privilege–just as I proved in 1948, and the people believed me; and they will yet.

(J)ust a few weeks ago. Senator Wiley, the ranking Republican Member of the foreign Relations Committee in the Senate, made a speech to the newspaper editors on April 19. I had a press conference for those editors, and had more fun than I have had in a long time. He said there was a great deal in our international relations of which every American could be proud. He said that the Republican Party should not engage in unjustified criticism of our foreign policy, but should play a constructive role. And he asked us all to remember that, and I quote Senator Wiley verbatim, “We are first and last of that breed called Americans.”

It was a good speech, and it was an honest one.

Well, what happened? … They sneered at him, they jeered at him, they distorted his words, they cross-questioned him. They gave him to understand that this was an election year, and that it was the duty of every Republican to attack the foreign policy of his country. They made it clear that first and last, when it came to foreign policy, they were of that breed called Republicans, and Senator Wiley ought to be likewise. In other words, they are Republicans before they are Americans.

And there wasn’t a single Republican who got up on his feet and said Senator Wiley was right.

Nobody ought to be in doubt, now. That was the Republican answer to the latest plea, from one of their own members, for a bipartisan foreign policy. That was their answer to a fellow Republican who dared to stand up and say that our country is doing a good thing when it cooperates with other countries, in Europe and in the far East, to hold back aggression.

Isolationism is not dead. Far from it. Even if the Republicans get a presidential candidate with a good record in foreign affairs, he will not be able to drown out the raucous isolationist outcries of the rest of the party. And that prospect is beginning to scare the voters–and it ought to scare them.

Now, we can always rely on the Republicans to help us in an election year, but we can’t count on them to do the whole job for us. We have got to go out and do some of it ourselves, if we expect to win.

The first rule in my book is that we have to stick by the liberal principles of the Democratic Party. We are not going to get anywhere by trimming or appeasing. And we don’t need to try it.

The record the Democratic Party has made in the last 20 years is the greatest political asset any party ever had in the history of the world. We would be foolish to throw it away. There is nothing our enemies would like better and nothing that would do more to help them win an election.

I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the Fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and Fair Deal really are–when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people–then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

We are getting a lot of suggestions to the effect that we ought to water down our platform and abandon parts of our program. These, my friends, are Trojan horse suggestions. I have been in politics for over 30 years, and I know what I am talking about, and I believe I know something about the business. One thing I am sure of: never, never throw away a winning program. This is so elementary that I suspect the people handing out this advice are not really well-wishers of the Democratic Party.

More than that, I don’t believe they have the best interests of the American people at heart. There is something more important involved in our program than simply the success of a political party.

The rights and the welfare of millions of Americans are involved in the pledges made in the Democratic platform of 1948 and in the program of this administration. And those rights and interests must not be betrayed.

We stand for better education, better health, greater opportunities for all. We stand for fair play and decency, for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the cherished principle that a man is innocent until he is proved guilty.

Taken together, these principles are the articles of the liberal faith. I am sure that the liberal faith is the political faith of the great majority of Americans. It sometimes happens that circumstances of time and place combine to deny its expression. But the faith is there, and the reactionaries can never hope to have any but temporary advantage in this country.

That is why the Fair Deal program will not be weakened by compromise. That is why the Democratic Party will nominate a liberal for President. – Harry Truman