A jolt of caffeine catapulted the already charged 2020 presidential race to a new level after news broke that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was considering making a play for the presidency - as an independent.
Backlash from both sides began soon after the billionaire business mogul revealed his hand in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, prompted by the threat his candidacy could pose to the success of either party’s nominee.
The onslaught of criticism points to a bigger problem: not Schultz, or any candidate for that matter, but a system that vilifies competition. As Unite America’s Nick Troiano and Charles Wheelan argue in an op-ed for The Washington Post, candidates like Schultz can raise important issues whether or not they win, and by keeping them out of the dialogue, we only limit the scope of our national conversation.
“If Schultz commits to running only to win, then the worst-case scenario is him spending the next 21 months elevating our political discourse, talking honestly about the issues we face and bringing our country together. In a competitive three-way contest, no longer can each candidate simply wage zero-sum warfare against the other; they must stand for something and earn each American’s vote.”
At the same time, the threat that a three-way race poses for vote-splitting and minority winners is very real, evidenced by several such splits in the 2018 midterms. Rather than cast out such a candidate, we should reconsider how the system spoils elections by limiting candidates and voters alike. Ranked choice voting offers an easy, effective alternative, welcoming all viewpoints and voices to compete for the support of a majority of voters.
Read the op-ed here.