Howard Schultz, And Independents Vs. Centrists In America: They're Not The Same

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This message comes from on points sponsor, indeed, if you're hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes, set up screener questions then zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started at indeed dot com slash NPR podcast. From WVU are Boston and NPR. I'm Meghna chucker birdie, and this is on point former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is a very good businessman, and he could soon be a rather significant presidential candidate Schultz roiled the partisan and punditry classes last week when he announced that he's considering a presidential run as an independent, but who exactly what he swayed listen to how Scholz tangled with MSNBC contributor, Mike barnicle yesterday in the news of people. Register is independent and yet they still tilt one way or the other despite their registration is independent. They'll still till. Plus they've never had a choice. They have not really know who who's who's Ross Perot. No, no. I'm a legitimate person. Well for the record Ross Perot was a legitimate candidate. And in nineteen ninety two Perot not only made it to the debate stage as an independent he was on the ballot in all fifty states in the ended up taking almost nineteen percent of the popular vote that year the year. Bill Clinton won against a sitting president. But in that clip barnacle is pestering Schultz about something deeper about the myth of the truly independent voter that most of them are partisans in disguise. So if that's the case what impact coulda Scholtz run have in twenty twenty this hour on point reaction to Howard Schultz and the truth about independent voters, and you can join us do you identify as an independent voter. And what does it mean to you? What do you make of Howard Schultz as potential run for president? Join us anytime on radio dot org or on Twitter and Facebook at on point radio. So we're gonna talk about the political implications of Howard Schulz's consideration for a White House run here. But I want to dig into this idea of who are independent voters in America. So joining us I from Washington is Lee Druckman, he's a senior fellow in the political reform program at new America, a non-partisan think tank and he's written extensively about independent voters in America. Druckman welcome to on point great to be with you. I should also say you're author of the forthcoming book. Breaking the two party doom loop the case for multi-party democracy in America. Now, you know, Mr. Druckman, if I can say if there's anything that the two thousand sixteen election taught us is that no one should presume anything in the early days of a campaign. So I just want to put that out there. But let's talk a little bit about what we know about Howard Schultz. So far first of all he's a he's a longtime Democrats even though he's probably considering he is considering a run as an independent now. And he's also very concerned about the national debt. I mean, for example, I'm going to play a bit of tape here. This is Scholtz on MSNBC's morning. Joe yesterday saying that both Democrats and Republicans have been reckless with the nation's economy, the Democrats and Republicans under the last twenty years on both parties have been complicit in a in creating twenty one and a half trillion dollar debt that is a reckless immoral abandonment of leadership so lead Rotman. Men Schultz's being described right now as a fiscally conservative socially liberal K potential candidate who is his constituency in America. It's people who sit in boardrooms with Howard Schultz read the Acela train with Howard Schultz, not that many people beyond that. So so sort of the punditry in the in the Bill, and the millionaire billionaire classes. Yeah, basically. Yeah, they'll they'll they might want somebody like Howard shelter though. They might also care whether Trump is president or not and might not what spoilt the election by voting for him. Well, let's talk about this a little bit more because in your research. I'm looking at this graphic that you've created of the 2016 electorate, and it's there's two dimensions of it. Right. There's there's this sort of political social identity from from conservative to liberal on one axis, and then the neck economic dimension about being very conservative on economic issues are very liberal, and there's one particular quadrant. This of this graph that's like virtually empty, and that is the the the socially liberal, fiscally conservative quadrant here. So I mean, how few people are we talking about here that's about four percent of the electorate count. So so not not very many people. Not not enough to elect a president. Okay. So then why is there the persistence of this belief amongst as you're saying, you know, financially or politically powerful people or pundits that there's this giant constituency of Americans who who are really concerned about these things. Well, because they talked to each other, and they're really concerned about these things. So they think well everybody I talked to must be really concerned about these things, but they don't get out of their bubbles very much and talk to people who don't ride the Acela train. Okay. So then who are the independence in America? Well, okay. So we got about forty percent of people who say they're independent, which is a nice thing for people to say that they are because they like thinking that. Well, I I don't belong to any party. I think for myself, but most people tend to vote for one party or the other. I mean, if you wanna talk about true independence, people who really don't feel like like they like either party. That's maybe five to ten percent most. But most. People like to say, they're independent because it sounds nice. But they don't really vote like independence. They consistently vote for either Democrats are consistently vote for Republicans. Okay. So so there's just a smaller fraction then you're saying that of voters who irregularly willing to cross party lines. Yeah. I would say that. That's true. Now, the fact that forty percent of people do register as independence does tell us. Something people are are indeed frustrated with with the lack of choices in our party system. But most people think one party is better in one party is worse alternatives. Interesting now to get back for a second to the the Howard Schultz model of fiscally conservative socially liberal. And as you're saying that sort of the Acela corridor crowd you're talking about here. It does seem to me from your research that you're implying that he he's basically the polar opposite of what actually is potentially a large group of of voters who were who were quite significant in the two thousand sixteen election. That's the socially conservative fiscally liberal crowd. Yeah. So we call those populous it's probably about my by by my estimate about twenty nine percent of the electorate, which is people who are a little bit little bit right of center on immigration social issues, some a little bit more writers center, but like think government should help people, and maybe tax the rich little more and support Medicare, and and healthcare and social security. My most people think these are pretty important things for government to do. And one reason Trump may have probably one in in two thousand sixteen is is because he he spoke to these voters, and he tried to differentiate himself from other Republican candidates by saying that he was going to protect Medicare and social security now turn out that as president. He has done has has moved considerably to the right from where he was as a candidate. But he spoke to two very very popular issues. And there are a lot of voters out there who who. Who want government to help them out? But you know, might be a little uncomfortable with with too much immigration and might hold some traditional religious values. Okay. So how is it? Then that we should be defining or thinking about what an independent voter is in America versus what you know. A a politically centrist American might be. Well, these are quite loaded terms. You know, I mean, I mean, I guess a true independent, if you if you want to be specific about it would be somebody who really doesn't care or doesn't see any difference between the two parties and kind of goes back and forth between them and again. That's maybe five percent of the electorate at most. You know, a centrist is probably somebody who's in the middle of of the distribution on both of the important political questions economic, and social, and, you know, th there's not that many people like that either. I mean, a lot of people are are cross pressured, and maybe liberal on the people who who don't feel well represented by the two parties are are mostly people who are liberal on economic issues and conservative on social issues. So maybe you could argue that that's the center, but but the true center, I think it's it's actually pretty small, and again, we also have to keep in mind that there are a lot of people who will tell pollsters that they're sort of in the middle or if they're moderate. But that's again because it's a nice label in the way that independent is a nice label. You know, people say well, a moderate, I'm independent. Well, those are also a lot of people who don't pay that close attention to politics. I mean, frankly, you know, we're we're the weird people in the country who like have have thought through all the issues and really have strong opinions most people now they're busy living their lives. And you know, they trust party to more or less represent them. But, you know, poster estimate battery of questions most people if they haven't thought about it they'll kind of pick the middle answer, although say, well, not liberal not conservative. I guess a moderate then not a I don't feel strongly about being a democrat or being a Republican. I guess I'm an independent. So that's why we see high numbers for people identifying as moderate or independent interesting. Well, Michelle Goldberg in a New York Times is site. She cites some research from from the Pew Research Center, showing that over the past two decades, self identified independents have actually grown more ideologically polarized. Not more. Moderate and she points out that America has two independent senators and one of them is Bernie Sanders. Interesting, but I wanna play a little bit more more tape here from from Howard Schultz and his interview on CBS is sixty minutes, of course, after Scholtz announced that he was considering a presidential run. He got a lot of heat from from Democrats saying that his run may may help reelect President Donald Trump into that Scholtz told Scott Pelley on sixty minutes that if he did decide to run he would be representing all Americans of all parties. Do you worry that you're going to siphon votes away from the Democrats and thereby ensure that President Trump has a second term? I want to see the American people win. I wanna see America win. I don't care if you're democrat independent. Libertarian Republican bring me your ideas, and I will be an independent person who will embrace those ideas because I am not in any way. In bed with a party Howard Schultz on sixty minutes on Sunday, Lee, Druckman isn't the fundamental problem here not so much who or what is an independent in America right now. But the winner take all system that we have here that privileges. Our two party system. I well, certainly we we have a a winner-take-all electoral system in in which you get a plurality of the votes you win at all. And I think that that is a significant problem because it creates a political system where you have two sides that are both competing to be the majority party and win. When they're in government, and they will enact policies within our majority. And then you have a an opposition party. That is just playing obstructionism. They're trying to knock the the the party in power out. And we have a political system that is designed to require compromise. It's it's fundamentally anti majoritarian system, and we have majoritarian party electoral system on top of that. And that's a problem. Well, Ledra is a senior fellow at the political reform program at new America, a non-partisan think tank. He's also author of the forthcoming book, breaking the two party doom loop Lee stand by here for just a moment. We are talking about reaction to Howard Schultz saying he's considering a presidential run as an independent and exactly cool. And what a truly independent voter in America is today we come back. We'll hear a lot more about how a Scholtz run might influence the twenty twenty election. This is on point. This message comes from an points sponsor, indeed when it comes to hiring. You don't have time to waste you need help getting to your shortlist of qualified candidates fast with indeed post a job in minutes. Set up screener questions then zero in on qualified candidates. And when you need to hire fast, accelerate your results with sponsor jobs. New users can try for free when you sign up at indeed dot com slash NPR, podcast, terms, conditions, and quality standards apply. Whether it's athlete protests, the Muslim travel ban gun violence, school reform or just the music. That's giving you life right now race is the subtexts to so much of the American story on coats, which we make that subtext text. You can listen to us on NPR one or wherever you get your podcasts. This is on point a mega chucker bardy. We're talking this hour about reaction to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz saying that he's considering a presidential run as an independent enroll. So questioning what a true independent in America is right now whether or not they are actually the almost forty percent of the electorate as they are registered or act a much smaller number. We're joined today by Lee Druckman, he is a senior fellow in the political reform program at new America, a non-partisan think tank and joining us now also from Washington is David Frum. He's a staff writer at the Atlantic. Former speech writer for President George W Bush Bush, I should say, and he has recently written about Howard Schultz in the Atlanta, we have a link to that at on point radio dot org. David fromm, welcome to the program. Thank you so much. It's great to have you also with us is near a tendon. She's with us from Washington as well. She's president and CEO of the center for American progress served both in the Obama and Clinton administrations was top advisor to. Lary Clinton during Hillary Clinton's twenty sixteen presidential run near at hand. And welcome to you as well. Thank you for having me. Okay. So David fromm. Let me start with you. You're writing that Howard Schultz is just the thing that the democrat Democratic Party needs to save it from itself. Why? Yes. Well, imagine if Tony Perkins or some other evangelical leader of announced this week that he was planning a twenty twenty run on a real no fool and bring back. God honest to goodness pro-life, no compromises with the gay rights agenda, independent candidacy, I think a lot of the people were upset about Howard Schultz would be very inwardly happy. I mean, they might deplore inwardly they'd be happy because they would recognize this candidate is drawing votes from Donald Trump's coalition. The reason that so many Democrats and liberals are upset about the Howard Schultz prospect is they recognize that Schulz will draw from the democratic coalition not enormous numbers of people. But even fleas figure is correct that it's four percent. Four points is the difference in Hillary Clinton winning and losing. So they recognize that this is coming from them. Why are they able to this challenge? And the answer is because right now, the Democrats are running a left her than thou competition should the maximum tax rate. Be raced fifty percent or seventy percent or seventy five percent, how big should the wealth tax be. If you leave the country should be allowed to take your wealth with you Medicare for all, you know, how John and forgetting that one of the reasons the Democrats did so well in two thousand eighteen is in a lot of people who normally vote Republican, but could not stomach Donald Trump in a lot of places like suburban Houston in the suburbs of Philadelphia. They held their noses and voted for the other party in order to put a check on a rogue president. What Howard Schultz is doing is reminding Democrats, those people exist and they're important. They're not a majority at all. And they're not a plurality, but they are necessary to the anti-trump coalition or anyway, it's highly risky to run an anti-trump coalition without them. And the Democrats right now are engaged in building anti coalition Trump coalition without suburban moderates. Well, so as you right in your ear Atlantic piece, you you say that that President Trump will be beaten not by his fiercest enemies, but by his softest supporters. I mean to that point we've got a comment coming in here on our website from some unnamed honesty who says that Schultz is offered genuine criticism of some of the damaging awful left wing ideas being proposed by democratic presidential hopefuls and honesty mentions. Those high marginal tax rates wealth tax accept Medicare for all its cetera. So let's hear listen a little bit more from Schultz himself criticizing democratic presidential contender. Kamala. Harris Senator come come Harris is Medicare for all healthcare plan. This was Scholtz on. CBS this morning on Tuesday Senator Harrison saying she wants to abolish the insurance industry. That's that's not correct. That's not American. What's next? What industry are we going to Bali next the coffee industry, Nina tendon, re- react to that? And this idea that David from putting out there that this could actually be a boon to the Democrats. I mean, I think that while I have great respect for David everything. He said seemed utterly wrong to me. The argument for David Frum position is Michael Bloomberg running in the democratic primary with range of moderate views, and the idea that in fact, David's argument is essentially that Howard Schultz will reelect will relax Donald Trump. I taking away crucial voters in the Democratic Party party voters they need. So I think from is actually making the argument that many Democrats Americans moderate. Let's feel which is that don't Trump is really an existential threat to democracy, and anyone who helps reelect him is has is problematic and not not actually being a an American patriot from from my perspective. And so I'd say I think the idea that the Democratic Party will not have robust primary debate that is one that actually engages ideas from both moderates and liberals and even some on the left is wrong. There are a number of people who are planning to run in the Democratic Party. Perhaps Michael boom, Bloomberg perhaps Joe Biden, but I think there will be a healthy debate. And just to remind everybody the reason why House Democrats won the house is because there were healthy debates in primaries throughout the country. And in swing districts liberal. Voters voted for moderate candidates who could win those districts. So the idea that the Democratic Party is only Sanders party is I think an argument people are using to justify a Howard chills candidacy, and I think there's very little actual evidence to show that that's right. Okay. So did from going to come back to you and Drummond in just a second. But but near ten and I want to ask you specifically about a lot of people have criticized Scholtz for saying that even raising the concept of Medicare for all is unamerican. I mean, I in a sense that that's dance can be read as as pretty extreme of pretty extreme criticism of an idea that's gaining traction. I mean back in the day when social security was first suggested that was considered, you know, unamerican two. But now, it's one of those sacrosanct benefits that that Americans will not let go of an shouldn't. I mean, every industrialized country has has universal health care. So I think the idea that it's un-american to believe in universal health care is is is I mean, my view basically laughable, but they're very there are a lot of different ways to get universal health care. There are a number of senators who've supported a single payer version they've supported a public option they've supported Medicare as choice for everyone. That's still maintains the employer-based cover employer based system. So people wouldn't lose their coverage. I would really urge people to think through the fact that a notion of universal coverage is one that is seems pretty American to the vast majority of the public, and there are a variety of ways to get there. There's not just one path. In fact, Senator Warren other senators have talked about multiple paths to get there. So I think the. I think this is a kind of a straw man argument that Howard Schultz is using to justify his run. Okay. So David from what's your response to that? Well, I I don't think in the end how it shows we'll draw votes from Donald Trump because I don't think he'll be on the ballot. I think this ideal will burn itself out pretty quickly because he will discover there isn't a constituency for him. But the service he will provide in the interim is this one of my favorite political anecdotes told by Karen Hughes who was a communications advisor to President Bush, and she was on holiday on some beach and saw one of those advertising planes, pulling slogan behind and the slogan said something like Jill come back. I am visible without you, Jack. And she thought bad message Jack too much about you not enough about her. I think that's one of the things that tends to happen. Among intense political partisans, they talk themselves and the Democratic Party is right now having a conversation with itself, but how far does it go indirection of doing all the things that's ever dreamed of doing it faces a pretty weaken competent? So that's natural temptation. What Schultz has just done is reminded them. Who's actually went to decide the election of twenty twenty. And they are people who Democrats are not only not talking to but talking about in very derivative ways that they echoing Democrats are gonna have to compete in America's affluent, educated suburbs. That's not they're going to have to turn out. Of course, they're cork road. And there have to deliver a high turnout among African Americans one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost in twenty sixteen was because although African Americans voted massively inter favorite. They didn't come out in the numbers. They had come out for. Twelve and two thousand eight by the way, she they they didn't come up for her in the numbers of came up for John Kerry in two thousand and four so that mobilizing block voters is going to be important. But what happens in the conversation is the kind of real committed ideological left of the Democratic Party. Does the talking and forgets that suburban moderates are going to do the voting but David from on that point though. I question your dismissing of the fact that that Scholtz, you know, if he is to run that that he wouldn't peel away some key Republican voters, or or or at least a significant critical mass of them again to quote your line that he could be beaten the president could be beaten by his softest supporters. I mean, just listen to what Howard Schultz himself said on Tuesday to CBS this morning because he actually sees his candidacy is potential candidacy as providing a home for some Republicans from publicans have a choice between a far left liberal progressive candidate on a democ-. Critic side or President Trump President Trump is gonna get reelected if I can get in the race. And I only need fifteen percent to be on the debate stage. I will provide the Republicans where the choice that they do that. They do not have David from. I mean, we're focusing on the impact that this could have on the Democratic Party. But but are Republicans to be concerned about it? If they want to see President Trump reelected, I don't I don't think. So I spent a lot of the first half Howard Schultz said in that comment is absolute right. If the choices between a far left democrat and President Trump President Trump will probably win that's the salutory lesson that Howard Schultz is pounding home right now. The Democrats don't go to the left. If after the second. Oh, look, I I spent a large part of my pre Trump Korea writing. But how there is among the people write checks, the Republican party that there is this vast constituency out there that wants to see more immigration, less healthcare. And as we said in the very first segment, that's not the most under represe-. Representative from the American public doesn't want to see more healthcare unless immigration and Donald Trump figured that out or into blundered into maybe didn't figure it out in two thousand fifteen and that's why he saw off a lot of people who were better at the game. Jeb Jeb Bush was a two-term governor of one country's most important states, really good at politics, and a very smart guy, and with with clear views, and he basically except on maybe the life issue, basically was in Howard Schultz is corner. And he could not win a Republican nomination. I I don't think I think she'll find that the people he's talking to are already sufficiently repelled by Donald Trump to open to a democratic message. If the democratic message is not too frightening. I see so then so that, but then that limits shelters potential constituency as we were talking about at the very beginning of the show lead. Druckman you've been waiting patiently here. Let me bring you bring you back in what's your response to what you're hearing from David Nira. Well. I think I I think David's right that that Scholtz will actually fade away pretty quickly. I think he's a he's a he's a hot Cup of coffee right now. But he leaves that cost. A while it gets. And then it gets it gets cold. But he I mean, he he's interesting to talk to to talk about because he he does raise some of these issues about what what direction the Democratic Party is headed and look the Democrats have a broad coalition, and you know, right now that coalition is really unified against Donald Trump. And I think almost whoever the Democrats nominate Democrats will unify around because a lot of people really really don't like Donald Trump and wanna see him out of office. And that's a powerful force. And. Who whoever becomes president? There's also a congress. There's also a Senate which Democrats may take back, but will still require sixty votes to pass any policy. So I yeah. Given our system of checks and balances, I don't see, you know, a a major move to the far left coming out of Washington. Okay. So near your quick thought on that. Because I want to go to some callers if I could but go ahead Nira. Absolutely. I think that things that people are are are missing in this conversation as the actual attitude of democratic primary voters again just took to the polls in twenty eighteen. And I in fact, think electability and the ability to put together a big coalition to beat Donald Trump will be central issue and as central as any any policy debate. And and that's why I think that this notion that Howard shelters running because there's only one possible democrat and feel that will likely have. Joe Biden in it as well as possibly Michael Bloomberg is just belied by basic facts is it is it possible though that Howard Scholtz or any other viable independent that makes it through to the general election that really the affected. They might have is animating voters who sat it out last time because that they are still a massive constituency who was who wasn't heard from well. Well, I I guess I would just say that if you looked at what happened in twenty eighteen when we had the highest turnout of any midterm and a hundred years, I think that that will be very engaged in twenty twenty. And there's really no indication that people will sit it out in the same way they have before. So oh, go ahead. I think I may a lot of voters who who sat it out in two thousand sixteen. I mean, they're just sort of fed up with politics in general, and and they're they're sort of anti system and Michael Howard Schultz is not exactly gonna excite those those voters. I mean, what what somebody Tucker Carlson like might excite those voters. But in independent candidacies, independent canes can work and have worked in the past in American history under two conditions either. You have an issue that the two big parties. Don't wanna talk about both parties are committed to the gold standard other a lot of people are suffering from deflation, and they they're looking for someone who will talk about a non gold standard kind of money or they alcohol is an issue in the two parties don't wanna talk about it. And there's a constituency for someone who does want to talk about alcohol, that's where third party candidate parties succeeded an independence of succeeded when the person is such an enormous personality that they're bigger than the party system, a teddy Roosevelt or a Ross Perot? And they're so exciting that people want them the problem with Schultz is he's not an exciting person. And he doesn't have a message his ideas that he Howard Schultz is so self evidently smarter than everybody else. And he said what I won't be is the guy in the room. Everybody bring me their ideas, and I will pick the best ideas. So why you? I mean, you're pretty smart, obviously, greatest Starbucks. That's good. But you're not the smartest person in America. And why why should you be the one who picks and chooses from the menu of the infinite number of options. He doesn't have a mess. I mean, I my own hypothesis for how how should candidacy could have one is if in fact, he would not only me he were Mr. Medicare for all say, you know, used to be that in America. You couldn't get a decent Cup of coffee anywhere now. Thanks to me. Even get a great Cup of coffee at a reasonable price just about everywhere because my ruthless control the prices in my understanding of global so Vikings, and that's just what I'm gonna do to American healthcare. If he went running on that that would be a message that people might listen to let me let me sit at the table and pick from the options kind of message is that it's early days yet, though, I keep reminding myself that people were sort of dismissing Donald Trump when he first came down that golden escalator. I mean, we've got some comments coming here online third way forward says because of our highly flawed winner, take all plurality democracy. Our system tends towards two parties in this. Third parties in general elections can only function as spoilers that lead to winners who only reflect the preferences of a minority of voters. So we're talking about reaction to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, saying he may run as an independent for the twenty twenty presidential election and exactly who are the independent voters in America today. David Frum is with us Lee Druckman and also joining us, and so is near a tendon by all three of you. We'll be right back. This is on point. Hey, it's a fear. Izenberg from ask me another. If you're craving nerdy trivia or celebrity interviews, we've got you covered with house musician Jonathan Coulton and the sharpest contestants in public radio. Don't miss NPR's. Our of puzzles or games and trivia. This is on point Meghna chocolate Bharti. We're talking this hour about reaction to Starbucks. Ceo former CEO I should say Howard Schultz and his contemplation of making a run for the White House in two thousand twenty as an independent enroll so trying to dig into exactly who and what a truly independent voter in America is today. I'm joined today by David fromm. He's staff writer at the Atlantic league. Druckman is also with us is a senior fellow in the political reform program at new America, a non-partisan think tank and near tendon joins us as well. She's president and CEO of the center for American progress. And I just want to play a little bit of tape of the reaction that Howard Schultz got in New York City when he was at a Barnes and noble on Monday to promote his new book as he's doing now as he's also talking about maybe making a run for for president. So here he is at the Barnes and noble getting interrupted. Millionaire. Billionaire elite. So booing there against a heckler who was interrupting Howard Schultz. You know on the other hand, we got some comments coming in online. GPS six to thirty four says the general concept works for me referring to what Howard Schultz is talking about Jay PX to thirty four says, I don't ride the Acela with him kind of like Charlie Baker for the whole country. Referring there to Massachusetts Republican governor, let's go to the phones Amelia is calling from Placetas New Mexico Emilia on the air. Hey, thank you. Yeah. So I think that David has some fundamental flaws in what he thinks of independent is hasn't as identifies independent I've been registered that way for decades. And I vote Republican democrat independent, and if I thought the socialist Representative had a better idea I'd go that way to I'm a pragmatist. I'm fiscally responsible. But I'm definitely socially humanitarian. I'm on the kind of person who has no problem saying, I'm pro-life, but I'm pro choice. I don't buy into the presumption of m- of lot of this conversation that we will always default only being to party country. He is. Amelia may just jump in here for second and forgive me for interrupting because I think Lee Druckman a who's researched American voters when we talked with him at the beginning of the conversation. He wasn't saying that voters like, you don't exist. I mean, absolutely. He wasn't saying that at all. He just says there aren't as many of them as as folks who generally call themselves independence, and that that was the issue. And I I did hear that part as a person who is thought this way for a long time. I have seen a profound increase in the numbers of people who don't want to be part of the Republican or democratic parties, and they are defaulting that way because they fear being cast aside is irrelevant that doesn't make them disappear. And it doesn't honestly make their votes here. Relevant. It means that we're going to keep you disenfranchised. So I think it's more folks are willing to say we might be three or four party country, which I would feel much better about we'll see people stepping forward and being willing to be identified. Not you know, not even claiming who they are. But saying I'm not a democrat. I'm not a repeating well Amelia, thank you. So very much for your call le-. Let me go back to you and respond to what you heard Amelia say. Yeah, I mean, I think Amelia is expressing a real frustration that a lot of people feel and with with the two parties. And that's one reason why we do see record number of people identifying as independents, people feel frustrated with with the limited choices they have. And they don't necessarily feel either party really speaks for them. But again, given a two party system. Most people do see a difference. And so they were I mean, I think the distinction between people who identify as independence and vote consistently as Democrats or Republicans, and people who are genuine independence, is that the genuine independence. Really don't see any difference between the two parties are really feel caught between them, and that's a very small number of people. But you know, again, I think it is important to recognize that there is a real. I think a lot of people like Amelia feel really frustrated with the choices on offer. And and I do think America would would be much more Representative if we had a four or five party system, I think we'd see much higher voter turnout and think we'd see a much more functional government. I think we'd see true majorities reflected in a lot more policies. I think I think we'd be a much healthier democracy, but we have to change our electoral rules to do that America has often been I it's not true that America's always been a two party system. Erica's? Hey, gradients strong strong third parties we had a greenback party. It had in in the nineteenth century. It had a socialist party in the early twentieth century in these parties would do well and in nineteen seventy six we can the United States in the nineteen seventy is came with inches of having a pro-life party at a time. When neither the Republicans, nor Democrats were have made up their minds about the abortion issue. But to have a third party. You have to have a party stands for something some important issue that has nothing represented. I think a lot of independence say, I'm dissatisfied with the subway system. Why because the subway doesn't stop in front of my house. And he said, well, why didn't you form a coalition with that other person who's unhappy because the subway doesn't stop in front of her? Well, the sudden we can't stop in front of everybody. You guys are gonna have to pick. If there's like one subway stop that. You would like to see built that doesn't exist. You and you can all be on. What that subway stock would be that will be then you have something. And so the question is what is the underrepresented issue in American politics? And I I mean, I think we can think of some, but if until people coalesce around that idea, you're not going to have a the base of a third party. You're just going to have people are dissatisfied with the two existing parties, but are not politically effective on their own well near let me bring you back in here. What do you think about that? I mean, I basically great think that challenge in America is in the United States. And I think lose making this point earlier that it's it's true. It's hard and a diverse country like ours to have reviewed represented in a two party system, but that's an electoral challenge in the United States versus Europe. Essentially, the parties are much more coalition oil, they build coalitions of people with, you know, some disparate views who can get behind a broad governing strategy and Trump to that in two thousand sixteen Democrats to that in twenty eighteen I think my concern about a Schultz candidacy is that essentially the argument he's making is one that is we'll be receptive to just the anti-trump vote. And as our as Michael Bloomberg said earlier this week he looked at this question in detail in two thousand sixteen and Saha that an indigo. Pendant run would help reelect Trump, and I have to say, I think a lot of the things Schulte said over the last couple of days, which sound very critical almost exclusively of Democrats gives you know, I think gives additional pause that this is one pretty large scale effort to that will ultimately help reelect down Trump if if he actually runs, and if he isn't planning to run than we're spending a lot of time talking when he's getting a lot of media attention for no apparent reason. You know, I'm sure a lot of listeners just now when they heard you say that they said absolutely maybe spending too much time on the so early out in the campaign, and he hasn't actually been formally entered the race yet. But Nevertheless, I think it's engaging us in some very interesting and important questions about you know, where American voters are right now. So let's go back to them. Let's go to Mike who's calling from Detroit. Michigan Mike, you're on the air. Today, I'm doing well. What's your thought? Couple of say real quickly. First and foremost, what are the problems for a third party or independent candidate is going to be the commission on mental debate. They have unfair rule the rule about fifteen percent in five national polls in order to just get onto the base station. If you're not in a debate, you will not win the presidency that is one of the key components of it. And it's and very insulted because that rate look down five percents. You were only seen one additional person Gary Gump and twenty sixteen over eliminated altogether and just focused on the constitutional eligibility and the electoral college mathematical winning. Have on that debate because included until are we in the country of you can have ten people in a primary rate, but he can only have two in general and aside from the debate person. If also when the whole political battle happened in the primary you do start to see that's not the point here. But you definitely the media favorite pick. And and here basically picking the winners in these races. You can look back, including eleven point twelve he would it was a clear medium bias against Ron all Republican primary just as right now in early. I have already seen a math ear campaign democrat occur again kind of lintel together. And it's well earning some destructive to our own democratic purchases within the Republic night. I'm going to just take it back. Thank you for your call. Don't mean to interrupt you midstream there. But a lot. Important points that you're bringing up here near attended just briefly since Mike is saying that he's already seeing the media machine gear up against certain democratic candidates. Do you do you buy that? No. So I think truly the what's happened would for example, tells the Gabbard is that there's been criticism of her past views on LGBT rights. That's what should happen in a in a primary process. I think a lot of people tend to think of media conspiracy against candidates and truly think often that there's just very little support for them. I don't think if you took a poll of of reporters that Donald Trump would have risen to the top. But yet he got a ton of coverage in the twentieth. Sixteen Republican primary, and I think that was much more driven by ratings and interest amongst Republicans. It was reinforcing limp. He was he was running. I in the primary, and he got a lot of attention. And so I think we tend to you know, too often we tend to see a media bias around issues that we just feel you know, a disagreement with. So let's go to Alex is calling from Baltimore, Maryland, Alex, you're on the air. Hello there. Hi. So I just I just kind of want to echo at some of the other. The callers have said I would consider I've been independent voter since I was eighteen and was able to vote I did go to the Democrats in two thousand eighteen just so I could vote in the primary because I guess I kind of grew up and realized at least right now, that's the only way to do it. But I'm the type of guy that would vote for a Howard Schultz, at least in theory. But I I agree that if he's going to run he should do it as a democrat. He wants to throw himself in the primary with the Democrats. I think that's a better way to go. Just because it sounds great. I mean in in the future I'd love to see more parties. More independence have a shot. But as I agree that Trump is pretty terrible. And he we need to get him out of office as soon as possible, and as of twenty twenty the only way to do it is a two in our current two party systems. Alex. Thank you for your call interesting idea there, what will come back to and just second. But let's go to David who's calling from Williamstown, Massachusetts, David you're on the air. I just wanted to call in and say that I agree with David fromm that the soft supporters the and suburban moderates will win the day. I think that I probably relate in that regard. I'm also, I'm a registered Republican. But I go back to having voted for Johnny Anderson having voted for Ralph Nader multiple times and also for Ross Perot. And I'm looking for a home I won't vote for Donald Trump. Again, I took a fly around him. And I think his behaviors outrageous in so guy like Howard Schultz. Does I I'm gonna look at everybody. But if anything I would sit it out if I had it to do over again last point, the Atlantic wrote an article about the exhaustive majority, and maybe David might wanna mention how that might factor in here. Thanks for my for listening to my comments. Thank you so much for your call David fromm since he he pointed to you twice. What do you think? Thank you. Well, th the exhausted majority are people who aren't less, hyper partisan than the rest of the country, and whose views don't fit into normal. There is something strange where in American life, where those of us who are familiar with politics understand that if you think this about abortion, you're you think that about the capital gains tax of those that that that wasn't decreed by God is not decreed by the internal logic of the argument. So people often do find themselves stranded in the way that the college has just felt that he was and near tend to let me turn back to you. Because the previous caller talked about if he would like to see Scholtz run as a democrat. What do you make of that idea? I think that's a great idea. I mean, I think that's the that. That is you know, there are many issues that I may disagree with Michael Bloomberg on there are many issues. I would agree with Michael Bloomberg on. But he if he runs he is. That he will run as a democrat. And I think that in the United States is we are currently structured where parties are coalition all if the way to deal with the situation is to enter the Democratic Party and try to expand upon the ideas. And I think the Democratic Party should be a place where moderates can run for president. We're liberals can run for president even some on the left. Good run for president. And so I, you know, and I think that the nature of Democrats right now is to actually focus on electability and who can appeal to a broad coalition including moderate suburban voters. That's how that was the purchase voters in two thousand eighteen I expect it will be the purge in twenty twenty as well. And I think the the idea that only you know, particular reviews by a single member of congress or dominating the entire democratic parties. Really just an excuse to run third party. That's not accurate in America. And. In the party. Well, let me just from back to lead Druckman here for Secondly, we've got about a minute and a half left to go here. I keep thinking about your forthcoming book about breaking the two party doom loop here an of an and I kind of share your your your disdain for this Hella crowd as you were saying earlier, but but you know, just sort of like help us help us close. This conversation is Howard Schultz, at least in contemplating a run here as an independent sort of forcing us to ask the right questions about the the two party system that we have right now. Well, he's doing two things. He's showing us how tenuous majorities are in our two party system. And how even pulling away four percent of the vote can can shift the entire state of the country. I mean, we have a two party system in which you know, one party gets fifty one percent or even less than their even forty six percent in weird plurality way that translates into a majority we have a system where actually minorities can roller Republic. Can party in in governance represents a minority of the country democrat party and governance also represents a minority of the country. So multi-party system would allow coalitions to form that that represent a real majority. But together, we have to change our electoral was we have to look at ranked choice voting we have to look at some forms of proportional representation. And those are those are big conversations in maybe we can open those conversations thanks to thanks to to Howard Schultz. Well, lead Druckman senior fellow and the political reform program at new America non-partisan think tank. Thank you so much for joining us today. A great to be with you David fromm staff writer at the Atlantic. It was great to talk with David. Thank you. So very much. Thank you. Ten president and CEO of the center for American progress pleasure to have you on the program near thank you. Thank you. I'm Meghna trucker Bardi. Meghna trucker bardy. This is on point.

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