The Democrats are in a funny position. They all assume that 2020 is the year to run as a Democrat, believing Trump to be doomed. Their triumphalism may be premature, but they are not without reason for hope. The Democrats believe that 2020 is theirs because they believe that the Republican party has gone mad, an opportunity that Democrats have decided to make the most of by . . . going just as bonkers themselves. Self-proclaimed socialists are the Democratic headliners of 2019, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren, who boasted that she “created much of the intellectual foundation” for Occupy Wall Street. Reasonably sane figures with respectable executive résumés are, for the moment, spat at. The soul of the Democratic party in 2019 is in Brooklyn, but few Democrats seem eager to line up behind the former mayor of New York City. Michael Bloomberg may be an up-and-down-the-line progressive on most of the sensitive cultural issues — abortion rights, gun control, etc. — but he is an old white guy in a party that regards old white guys as a cancer, a billionaire in a party whose leading light insists that it is “immoral for billionaires to exist,” and something less than a Trotskyite on economic questions. Bloomberg is a bloodless creature of cash-flow statements and balance sheets.
All of the above also applies to Howard Schultz, who is only a little behind Bloomberg in the years and the billions (eleven years and . . . oh, $44 billion or so). Schultz, like Bloomberg, is on cultural issues where the Democrats are, but he is not culturally where they are, which at the moment is somewhere in the leafy suburbs of Pyongyang. All that balanced-budget stuff, efficiency, sobriety, good government — so Nineties. It’s as though he got his policy agenda at the Gap.
If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the Democrats’ answer to Trump, then Howard Schultz is their John Kasich.