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Hysteria over Schultz possibly running is ludicrous

By S.E. Cupp, Tribune Content Agency on

Over the past couple of weeks, it's fair to say Democrats have seemed, well, overly caffeinated.

Howard Schultz, the billionaire former CEO of Starbucks, made the left apoplectic after floating the idea that he is seriously considering running for president as an independent.

Since embarking on his media tour, Democrats from all corners have come out to torpedo the political newcomer, and self-proclaimed lifelong Democrat.

With visions of Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and Jill Stein dancing maniacally in their heads, no doubt, Dems likely fear that Schultz will take votes away from their party nominee in 2020. That's usually the way a third-party candidacy goes: They don't just appeal to first-time voters, they cut into another party's pie as well.

Just ask Hillary Clinton, if you can get her to stop seething. In her book, "What Happened," the 2016 Democratic nominee said Stein "wouldn't be worth mentioning" if not for the important votes she got in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Clinton blamed a "small but significant number of left-wing voters" who "may well have thrown the election to Trump."

The Democrats' reaction to Schultz, though, doesn't just reveal their angst over what could have been in 2016 (and indeed in 2000), or their paranoia over what should be in 2020. It's illustrative of a larger problem both parties are facing: Voters are sick of them, and they know it.

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Faith in most American institutions is down, but. in particular, voters don't believe our two-party system is working.

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 57 percent of Americans say our two parties do such a poor job that a third party is needed. Only 38 percent say the two parties do an adequate job. That's almost the mirror opposite of what the results were in 2003, when Gallup first started polling the question and 56 percent said the two-party system was good enough and 40 percent disagreed.

It's not surprising, then, that we're decreasingly aligning with the far left and right. In a Pew poll from 2018, Americans on average put themselves near the midpoint on an ideological scale. If 0 is "very liberal" and 10 is "very conservative," most put themselves at around a 5.

Naturally, the parties' response to this disaffection is to quite literally force American voters into picking one or the other -- and, typically, to drag their candidates further to the extremes during their primaries.

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