Henry Olsen: Howard Schultz’s Base Is ‘Four Percent of the Electorate’

Starbucks' Executive Chairman, Howard Schultz delivers a speech during the openning ceremony of the 'Seeds & Chips, the Global Food Innovation Summit' in Milan on May 7, 2018.
Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Henry Olsen, author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism, said former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz’s political base is “four percent of the electorate.”

He offered his analysis in a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.

Olsen said, “What we know Schultz wants to do is appeal to that person who exists a lot in Manhattan and in Washington, but doesn’t exist much in the country: the socially liberal and economically moderate. There’s an article today in the Washington Post that refers to a study coming from an author on a project that I direct … pointing to a four-way analysis of the electorate.”


Olsen explained, “Socially liberal and economically moderate conservative voters were four percent of the electorate in 2016. Four percent. That’s going to shock people like Howard Schultz because everybody he knows is like that. But the fact is, they’re very important in groups with money. They’re very unimportant in the general electorate, and the Schultz constituency needs to expand beyond that, and so far I don’t think he’s going to be able to, and that means he’ll be more of an afterthought than a splinter.”

Olsen considered Schultz’s possible impact on 2020’s presidential election should the Starbucks figurehead launch a presidential campaign.

“The question is, does [Howard Schultz] have a chance of winning the presidency?” asked Olsen. “His chance of winning the presidency is pretty darn slim. It depends on a mill of America that is dramatically unhappy with the few choices or … it requires the Democratic Cuomo-voter — the person who’s generally liberal but not a wild-eyed progressive — to say, ‘I’m going to leave the nominee of the party that I’m generally happy with to back this guy and take a chance that together we can do something that has never been done: Elect an independent.’”

Olsen added, “I don’t think that’s going to happen, and then that means that he goes back to being a fringe candidate, and the question is whether a man with his wealth sitting two weeks out in October will even go ahead with the campaign. It’s not entirely implausible that he would reach that point and say, ‘Well, you know, I opposed Trump four years ago and I’m not going to win, so get behind this person I’ve spent the last four months excoriating because the alternative is worse.’”

Olsen assessed, “That’s where the libertarian constituency is. It’s educated. It’s vocal. It’s wealthy. And it’s tiny.”

Olsen stated, “The median voter in America is somebody who either dropped out of college or got an [associate in arts] degree. The median voter in America is somebody who lives in the suburbs or the exurbs and goes to church or some service a couple of times a year. Does that sound like the stereotypical Starbucks drinker?”

Olsen concluded, “[Howard Schultz] is in this world where the people he sells to and the people who talk to him are far, far removed from the experiences of the people who actually elect the presidency of the United States.”

Schultz recently announced his consideration of a 2020 presidential run.

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

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