Would a Howard Schultz candidacy hurt the Democrats? Or Trump?

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s prospective entrance as an independent into the 2020 presidential race has raised concerns among Democrats that he may steal potential voters away from their party – but historical trends show that may not be the case.

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About 15 percent of voters are considered fiscally conservative and socially liberal, according to statistical analysis and polling site FiveThirtyEight. But rather than consistently siding with either of the major parties, it would likely be fairer to consider these individuals “swing voters.”

Voting trends among this demographic when faced with the choice of the 2016 major party candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, for example, shows a major third party contender could just as easily divide the pro-Trump coalition.

FiveThirtyEight looked at 25 different combinations of socially liberal and fiscally conservative views (i.e. supports cutting entitlements and gun control or repealing the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage) and found that, overall, this group of voters was slightly more inclined to go for Trump than Clinton.

“Among the 25 combinations of socially liberal and fiscally conservative views, Trump won the most votes 19 times, Clinton did so five times … on average between the 25 combinations, Trump won 52 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 40 percent.”

FiveThirtyEight concluded that if all of the voters had gone for a third party candidate instead of either of the major party candidates, Hillary Clinton would have won the Electoral College.

So far Schultz has come into greater conflict with Democrats as he explores a potential 2020 bid. He has criticized tax plans that call for raising rates as high as 70 percent on the wealthiest Americans, which has sparked backlash from Democratic lawmakers – like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – who have gone after him for being a billionaire.

Schultz also called Medicare-for-all proposals “not correct” and “not American.”


However, he has also been a vocal critic of President Trump and many of his policies – including on immigration and the swelling budget deficit.

It is unclear at this time whether Schultz will even launch a presidential bid. As previously reported by FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino, the former Starbucks chief is surprised by the severity of the Democratic backlash to his announcement.