Billionaire Starbucks founder Howard Schultz has new spin for critics who are alarmed by the likelihood that his independent presidential candidacy will “spoil” the election, and return Donald Trump to the presidency against popular will.
“How can you spoil a system that is already broken?” he asked Poppy Harlow during a CNN town hall even Tuesday night. One way to spoil a broken democratic system is to make it even less democratic than it already is. And that, rather than reforming the campaign-finance system or the electoral college or the redistricting process, is exactly what Schultz is angling to do.
A new analysis conducted by Katie Connolly and Joel Benenson of the Benenson Strategy Group, and provided to Crooked Media, demonstrates conclusively that the only person a Howard Schultz candidacy can elect to the presidency is Donald Trump.
The analysis is the most thorough yet conducted by polling experts, and the most generous to Schultz as well. It nevertheless shows that in a three-person race, an independent candidate like him has no viable path to 270 electoral votes, which is the minimum required to win the presidency. Realistically, an independent candidate can only help one major-party candidate or the other reach 270 electoral votes, or it can throw the outcome of the election to the House of Representatives. In either scenario, in a close race, Schultz would help re-elect president Trump.
Connolly and Benenson envision two scenarios, both of which assume that particularly partisan states are certain locks for Democrats and Republicans. As a baseline, it awards Democrats and Republicans electoral votes from the states that have voted for their candidates in five consecutive presidential elections, typically by margins of 10 points or more. (To be extra generous to Schultz, the analysis throws Texas into the tossup category, even though it has been very reliably Republican.)
This baseline scenario still leaves only 268 electoral votes up for grabs in battleground states. In other words, even if Schultz were to run the table and win every single battleground, no candidate would win 270 electoral votes, and, under the rules set forth in the Constitution, the House of Representatives would have to pick the next president.
But those rules don’t hand the decision to the full House, which Democrats currently control. Instead it allocates one vote to each state delegation, so the party that controls more state delegations, rather than the party with the most overall members, would determine the winner. California gets one vote, as does Wyoming, and every state in between. Thanks to its small-state advantage, the GOP would thus have the power to select the winner despite lacking a majority, and you’re delusional if you think they’d listen to the will of the people and hand the presidency to Schultz—let alone the Democratic nominee.
In a likelier scenario, Schultz would win few if any electoral votes, and would simply siphon net votes away from one candidate or the other in battleground states. And here, too, a generous interpretation of Schultz’s effect on a relatively close race has him handing Trump victory in enough states that Democrats would otherwise have won to give him over 270 electoral votes.
Schultz reiterated on Tuesday that “if the numbers don’t add up, I will not run for president, because I will not do anything, whatsoever, to re-elect Donald Trump.” The numbers don’t, and can’t add up, so we look forward to his heavy-hearted announcement that he is suspending his candidacy.
Read the full analysis below.
Howard Schultz No Path to 270 by on Scribd