Free Minds & Free Markets

Will Howard Schultz Really Run as a Libertarian? Don't Bet on it.

Billionaire seeks ballot access, political party seeks cash, both hate the national debt...but Schultz is far more interventionist at home and abroad than, say, Bill Weld.

||| YouTubeYouTubeThe Washington Examiner today has a piece headlined "Why Howard Schultz could go Libertarian," in which officials from America's third largest political party basically wave their hands in the direction of the billionaire maybe-sorta presidential candidate and say "Over here!"

"Mr. Schultz describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, so I kindly encourage Mr. Schultz to look at our platform, as that title goes hand in hand with what the Libertarian Party stands for," Florida L.P. Chair Marcos Miralles told the Examiner. Added California L.P. Chair Mimi Robson: "He's definitely a fiscal conservative and he appears to be generally for civil liberties and individual rights—so yeah, those are all things in line with the Libertarian Party." (Robson also added some wait-and-see caveats.)

Both sides in this equation obviously have something the other covets—the Libertarian Party has probable 2020 ballot access in 50 states; Schultz has a personal fortune and the professed willingness to spend up to a half-billion dollars of it on a presidential campaign. (The 2016 L.P. ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, for comparison, raised $13 million; and the party's annual budget is just a fraction of that.)

So are there wedding bells in the future for these non-duopolists? Only if party members who barely tolerated having Bill Weld represent them as a vice presidential pick will cede the top slot to a less-experienced lifelong Democrat who is far less libertarian.

Start with foreign policy. Schultz has criticized President Donald Trump's plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Schultz adviser Steve Schmidt (the 2008 presidential campaign manager of uber-hawk John McCain, and before that an adviser to Dick Cheney) explained on the WordsMatter podcast last week that Schultz "thought that Trump's decision announcing the decision precipitously was a mistake," adding: "I think if you go back to his speech at the Atlantic Council, what he talked about was the importance of alliances, the connection within that alliance of free peoples, the idea that America is the indispensable nation in the world that if the U.S. steps back that vacuum will be filled with actors that are not benevolent, not benign, so I think he stayed in that speech well within the boundaries of what we would recognize as a foreign policy that James Baker would be deeply comfortable with."

Good luck selling that foreign policy vision to the Libertarian National Convention in 2020. Bill Weld, on the other hand, was saying as recently as four months ago stuff like, "I don't understand why there are troops in Afghanistan. I'm not sure I understand why all those troops are there in Korea."

The Second Amendment, too, could prove an obstacle to Schultz-L.P. coupling. Whereas Weld is still (inaccurately, in my view) tarred as a "gun-grabber" (despite arguing repeatedly that "anyone who says, 'We have to do something about gun ownership, including AR-15s,' is just going to be dead meat, because their position doesn't make any sense"), Schultz just goes right there: "Seventy percent of the American people want the kind of policy legislation that takes the guns of war out of the American peoples' neighborhoods."

As Libertarian National Chair Nicholas Sarwark diplomatically tells the Examiner, "Schultz seems to hold some libertarian positions on issues like marriage equality and reducing the national debt....On the other side, his position on gun control would probably be very unpopular with libertarians."

Schultz, unlike most Libertarians, thinks the Affordable Care Act "was the right thing to do." He called the Trump/Republican corporate tax cuts "wrong and irrational." The trial balloon phase is still only now taking flight—he'll be doing a CNN town hall tonight—but Schultz is already a significant distance away from the L.P. before fielding many questions about drug policy, or corporate welfare, or the Federal Reserve.

There is one key factor that makes such speculation mostly academic at this point: the calendar. Even though presidential campaign season is well upon us, Libertarians choose their nominee 15 months from now. Like Weld playing footsie with a GOP primary challenge to Donald Trump, Schultz has every material reason at the moment to stay indy—it maximizes Democratic nervousness, and therefore media attention. No Libertarian will be included in polls any time soon.

Howard Schultz has ample time to see if there's really a market in these polarized, emotionally charged times for a centrist independent talking about debt. If that project fizzles on the launch pad, there's still time to bone up on the Non-Aggression Principle, though internal patience for situational Libertarians might well be wearing thin.

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  • Crusty Juggler||

    Schultz > Klobuchar > Brown > Booker > Warren > Kamala imho

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    That's quite a visual, Crusty.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    So your first choice is a white male and your last choice is a woman of color. Can you see how problematic that looks?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Fuck cops, yo.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    How do you know what metric Crusty used? May be he was expressing how problematic each candidate is. You jump to conclusions too easily, because you are racist.

  • Fats of Fury||

    That list should be in circular form, so the guy in the end gets it too.

  • Tionico||

    with regard to that list: hopefully they'll ALL get it in the end.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    I'd vote for the actual Sgt.Shultz and his running-mate Colonel Hogan, before voted for any of those ass-clowns.

  • SIV||

    If Schultz is in favor of child labor, repealing the Civil Rights Act, price-gouging during natural disasters, legalizing heroin and cockfighting he has my vote.

  • Juice||

    What about price gouging on heroin during a childfighting disaster?

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    How can you regulate something that is illegal?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Yeah, that's gonna be a no from me, dawg.

  • Billy Bones||

    At least we know where Randy Jackson stands. LMAO.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    He's probably better than de Blasio or Occasional-Cortex.

  • Billy Bones||

    Or John McAfee. Nothing will shed our moniker of "A Party of Kooks" until we stop letting the Kooks try to run our party.

  • Eddy||

    It's Kooks vs. Sellouts, and like Tom Petty said, I can't decide which is worse.

    Actually I can. Bring on the whale-diddlers!

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    "Schultz seems to hold some libertarian positions on issues like marriage equality and reducing the national debt....On the other side, his position on gun control would probably be very unpopular with libertarians."

    This illustrates that some libertarians are not only gun fetishists, but they also have terrible priorities. Clearly marriage equality is a much more pressing issue than their precious "Second Amendment."

    Regardless, Schultz should only run if he's guaranteed to take more votes from the Republican than he takes from the Democrat.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    Really? Marriage Equality is a more pressing issue than surrendering the Right of Self-defense? Really. What percentage of the population is gay and looking to get hitched? Now what percentage of the population owns guns and would like to keep them?

    You sir are too stupid to be here. You must work for the LP or something?

  • dangfitz||

    I'd call them equally important, but I take your point: Looking at the 2nd Amendment as an obstacle to get around rather than as an ideal to which we should return is a disqualification for the LP Nomination for anything, never mind top of the ticket.

  • Tionico||

    marriage "equality" has been foisted upon us by some crooked and perverse 'judges", at least two of whom SHOULD have recused themselves, being quite obviously predisposed on the issue. The INDIVIDUAL right to arms is being seriously threatened by more corrupt and perverse "judges" who also should have recused themselves because of THEIR predisposition.

    Marriage "equality" is nowhere mentioned as a FEderal responsibility in the Constitution, let alone a "right". Thus FedGov CANNOT speak to it lawfully. The RIGHT to bear arms is specifically named as ours by birth, a d recognised as accruing to ALL "the people" dwelling in the land, then further declaring that NO INFRINGEMENT of any sort, from any source, for any reason, shall accrue against that right.

    If YOU want to marry who/whatever, you don't need the picece of paper to prove it, just go ahead and move right on in. But your RIGHT to arms is the ONLY thing that has any hope of protecting you if others decide "naughty naughty mustn't do.... don't forget, if it took the corrupt Supreme Court scribbing on a piece of paper to "give" you that "right", a different collection of lawmakers in black nighties can always take it away. Not so that Second Article you hate so much. It IS ours, given by the same God who made us and gave us life and set us here on this dirtball. They can "repeal" it but that's no more than noise.

  • Nardz||

    Gays have a right to shotgun weddings too, you know

  • Nuwanda||

    "This illustrates that some libertarians are not only gun fetishists..."

    But that's actually what big tent libertarianism is. Just look at all Reason comments sections and you'll find many weird fetishes from Socialists claiming they have a pro-freedom ideology to weed heads who don't give a shit what the government does as long as they can smoke their joint in peace.

    Schultz is the perfect fit.

  • David Emami||

    Funny, I know at least one gay person who, based on his political postings, would probably be significantly angrier at the government trying to take away his guns than at the government refusing to give official sanction to his relationship.

    While different people have different priorities on their rights, the principle that makes most sense to me is "those rights are more important which can be used to defend or advance rights." You can use guns (or speech, or writing, or voting) to defend your right to have sex or smoke pot. You can't defend your right to speak or own guns by smoking pot or having sex.

  • Man from Earth||

    I would definitely say that is highly unlikely considering Shultz's policies and his past as a left of centre candidate. I doubt any of Trump's base will even consider him.
    I honestly don't think Trump needs any help to beat any of the shoddy candidates who have already announced for the Dems, but Shultz will certainly split the Dem voters.

    Not to repeat the mistakes made in 2016, but Trump is far more likely to win in 2020 than any of these declared. He has an excellent record on the economy and Rasmussen have now put Trump's popularity at 52% admittedly, this is an outlier poll, but Rasmussen as usually reasonably accurate. I suspect the next few polls to come out will put Trump in the high 40s, especially after the STOU speech.
    During the primaries, I suspect the Dems will eat each other to get the nomination. It will be a bloodbath and Trump will be able to just sit back and enjoy the show.
    Absolutely none of these candidates have any scruples or integrity and I expect them all to run a real dirty campaign.
    Someone pass me the popcorn.

  • SIV||

    Whereas Weld is still (inaccurately, in my view) tarred as a "gun-grabber"

    "The five-shot rifle, that's a standard military rifle; the problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon, and those are independent criminal offenses," Weld said. "That is when they become, essentially, a weapon of mass destruction. The problem with handguns probably is even worse than the problem of the AR15."
  • JWatts||

    ". "That is when they become, essentially, a weapon of mass destruction. "

    The man was an idiot.

  • Eddy||


    "Hello, I'm still here!" /Weld

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    Yeah, Imbouta pull the pin outta my clipazine and blow this fuck thing to the ground!

  • Tionico||

    Yeah, THAT is why I had no interest in throwing MY vote his way.

    eedjit doan no much bout GUNNNNZZ

    That "five shot rifle, that's a standard military rifle".. the most recent US military rifle that was five round is the 1903 Springfield bolt action, chambered in the venerable .30/06 cartridge. The number "1903" is the year the design was completed. Should tell ya something about it. Milions of them were "bringbacks" from Europe after the FIRST German War..Most common post-war deer/elk/bear/moose rifle up until maybe the 1970's or even later. OLD tech. Acccurate.. my Uncle was a sniper in the Second German War.. he could hit the ring at 1000 yards with his.

    You CANNOT "attach a clip to it", as the magazine was a fixed well below the action, no dropout door. Hand feed the five rounds from the top, no other option.

    if you "remove the pin" it CAN NOT FIRE, the only "pin" in there is the firing pin.

    He mentions the AR 15, that is not, never was, nor ever will be a "military weapon". Yes, it resembles the M 4 military infantry rifle of the VIetNam era. But so does GM's Hummer resemble the amazing HumVee. And the cheap imitatioin camo clothing so popular these days the military BDU's. And the silly boxy products of the Chrysler Corporation resemble the WW II era and later Jeep. Or the VOlksvagen "Thing" resemble the WW II era Kubelwagen.

  • Tionico||

    Nor can an AR 15 be "easily converted" to a fully automatic or a select fire rifle..
    Truth be known, the venerable M 1 Garand is probably the most deadly small arms category weapon ever developed. Eight rounds, clip loaded VERY quickly, VERY accurate, often out to 1000 yards, at which point the M 4/AR 15 round has buried itself a long time ago. Semiautomatic, cannot be made full auto. But shot placement fixes that.
    Then we have his lewd comment about handguns... NOT fit to be president, or hold any OTHER pulic office.
    What about that oath he'd have to swear to uphold/defend the COnstitution? Swear that oath then don't keep it, felony level perjury. No guns, no public office.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    So, if accurate, Weld can charitably be described as a Moron.

  • Robert||

    If he wants it, he has the Demo nom in the bag. All those left extremists & more to come will knock each other off in the primaries, while as the only moderate in the race he'll win enough delegates to have what's perceived as unbeatable momentum before the field is winnowed. If there were a nationwide primary to apportion delegates at the con, he'd have no shot, but going state by state he's a shoo-in.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Only Reason staff are fooled that Schultz is a "Libertarian".

    Of course, they were fooled about Bill Weld too.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    Careful! Lest we be accused of being purests do purity tests.

    Even though out purity test amounts to a single question : Is this candidate a Libertarian in any reasonable way?

  • SIV||

    They're not fooled. They're not libertarians.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Schultz had libertarian tendencies, but he also has statist tendencies. But mostly, we have very little idea what government polices he support. For that reason, he won't get the libertarian nomination unless he bones up on libertarianism and publicly supports libertarian policies.

    You can't be a fiscal conservative and be for socialized medicine. And you can't be socially liberal and support gun control.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "but Schultz is far more interventionist at home and abroad than, say, Bill Weld."

    Fuck Bill Weld.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||


    And if thats what we think of Bill Weld, they you know the response we have for Shultz.

    Basically, Fuck Bill Weld with Shultz tied to a stick.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Austin Peterson impostor, Bill Weld more libertarian than A-M*A*S*H and Randal put together.

  • Ray McKigney||

    Will Howard Schultz Really Run as a Libertarian?

    What, are you kidding?

  • JWatts||

    No, they are probably completely serious.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    I've about had it.

    If the LP doens't think it can win an election running a Libertarian, then what is the fucking point. Close shop and go home. Shit or get off the pot. Put up or shut up. Call or fold. Am I making myself clear?

  • Nardz||

    BET or fold.
    Calling everything down and never making a move is the surest way to go bust.
    It's what the LP has been doing for at least the last 5 years

  • Nardz||

    *raise, rather than bet, would be the proper term

  • Hank Phillips||

    Transparently clueless about the law-changing power of spoiler votes. Does Sonny Boy imagine the Communist Party elected 2/3 of Congress and passed it manifesto as the 16th Amendment? The commie-sockpuppet party got 9% of the vote in 1892 and looters went apeshit to do their bidding. An income tax was tacked onto the tariff, the economy collapsed, La Suprema had to strike it down or there wouldn't be banks to cash their paychecks. Then pre-Hitler socialists whined they wuz backstabbed, Teedy Rosenfeld's looters backed the tax and your home is theirs if you're not quick about paying their taxes. Since the LP formed, Dixiecrat and Comstock bans on birth control, the draft, blue laws, Sunday baseball bans, plant leaf prohibition... all these crappy laws were crushed by Libertarian spoiler votes. We elect freedom and defeat politicians.

  • creech||

    One should remember that the 47 year slogan of the LP - socially liberal and fiscally conservative - meant something very different back then when the Party was founded and the major parties might have resembled that remark.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That slogan was invented by a non-libertarian hippie candidate in Austin Texas named Max Nofziger. Vote with the conservatives and party with the liberals was his version. After debates, Max leaned into the camera and asked voters to "listen closely to what my opponents are saying about each other, and remember that on election day." The guy got elected and to this day runs on cut taxes and spending platforms. The Kleptocracy, on the other hand, has used the Nixon subsidies and IRS to slit our throats since 1971.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    A marriage made in Heaven.

  • Palatki||

    Not a clue.

  • Tionico||

    Schultz is NOT a true libertarian.

    Back when he was the effective head honcho at the sign of the green mer-person, he issued a fatwa about "personal weapons" in his places. It became known that we were NOT to carry our lawfully possessed personal defensive weapons into his places. Not openly, not concealed.

    Of course, he did not take the care to follow state laws for such things in most places. Most states REQUIRE that signs made to very specific design, content, colour, etc, be positioned in specified places in relation to the entrances of the stores. Unless those regs are complied with, the request to not be armed in there becomes a non-enforceable preference. No criminal charge can be brought. And I haev NEVER seen the correct signs posted at any of the green mer-persons stores. So on the rare occasions I HAVE entered one of their places (I recall two such occurrences in the past eight years) I simply carry on regardless.

    BUT since this is his expressed will, he is no libertarian. That is MY choice to enter his premises armed, or otherwise. Or, as is almost always the case, to simply NOT enter at all, with/without my carry gun.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Now that the Libertarian hockey stick vote is clearly visible, the Kleptocracy HAS to infiltrate us with looters, whack jobs, warriors for the babies and foreign agents to make us look bad. The alternative is for voters to compare and see THEM as bad--no jobs, no boodle, no platform bullying. Look at the idiotic planks and resolutions just now injected by Tokyo Rose and the Libertarian National Commit-mes. Since Bill Weld helped us fit that logistics substitution curve, the kid gloves have come off and the Kleptocracy is out for blood!

  • Lawn Darts||

    That ain't how it works where I live. Any private business is free to put up any stupid sign they want, and you are free to ignore it. On the off chance that the proprietors noticed you were carrying a concealed weapon (and how would they?) they can ask you to leave. If you refuse, you are then guilty of trespassing... nothing more.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Brave New Books in Austin hosted Timothy Leary visits back in the day. The store owner recently offered discounts to customers packing heat and local looters pressured the landlord to not renew their lease. Conclusion? Darts don't live in Austin.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    Schultz could spend $50 million convincing independents who think like him that they are Libertarians and should join the party. He could triple the size of the party in 6 months and 2/3 of the total membership would be his admirers.

    If you think he can't be the nominee you are underestimating what deep pockets can do.

    Just remember, Trump was never a Republican until he got it in his head that he wanted to be President.

  • Robert Crim||

    Libertarianism is NOT centrism (though ideally, a Libertarian candidate would raid voters from left and right). Nor are Schultz's policy preferences consistent with Libertarian values. You cannot be for socialized medicine or gun-grabbing headliners and call yourself a libertarian (and I assume that it is libertarians who primarily populate the Libertarian Party).

    If Schultz wants to support the Libertarians in 2020, before we let him run off with the nomination, let me suggest that we tap him for a small part of the hundreds of millions he says he would spend on himself. There are ways for him to support paying down the national debt without running up a big debt of his own.

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    Sounds ,,,,,,like a DemocRat plant.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • dangfitz||

    ...and Mia Love as the VP candidate. Why have any Libertarians on the ticket?


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