Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced Sunday in a Tweet that he is ‘seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.’ Kansas saw its own self-styled centrist independent run for Governor in this last cycle in Greg Orman. University of Kansas political science professor Patrick Miller sees some parallels between the two.
“At this point, I think we’re hearing a businessman with a very generic message,” said Miller. “A lot of platitudes. A lot of pooping on the two-party system. That, to me, strikes a lot of parallels with how Mr. Orman framed himself and his candidacy throughout his entire campaign.”
When it comes to big-time successes in business branching out into politics, Miller says they often have what he calls a ‘Batman’ complex.
“They see themselves as someone who has been very successful in one arena, usually business,” said Miller. “Because of that, they think quite highly of themselves and their skills, perhaps deservedly so. I think they often make the fallacy of believing that then they can translate that into electoral politics.”
The ones who win are the ones like Donald Trump or Michael Bloomberg who realize they need a political party as a vehicle for their candidacy.
“Politics is not like selling toothpaste, cars and jeans,” said Miller. “Politics is a lot more like religion than it is selling toothpaste. I think where a lot of these candidates go wrong is that they really do see business as equivalent to politics.”
In order to win as an independent, Miller believes you have to overcome the upbringing of each side of the partisan divide and get them to choose to abandon the side they are on and not to take the other one, which is a tall task.