In 2016, celebrity and businessman Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. During the election process, he found himself running against a diverse array of candidates that consisted of mostly career politicians (with the exception of one neurosurgeon).
The election of non-career politicians isn’t altogether new, however. One of the best examples of this would be Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Reagan, who took office in 1981, was a well-known Hollywood actor, and was even the president of the Screen Actors Guild for a brief time.
Beyond this, in the 1940s, Reagan even collaborated with the FBI to root out communist influencers within Hollywood. No presidency is necessarily “typical.” This being said, in hindsight, some presidencies withstand the test of time better than others. Ronald Reagan, despite any controversies, held a uniquely effective eight years because Reagan himself was unique.
So then if the election of non-career politicians is nothing new, why am I writing about this? I think that because of the radical events of the 2016 election, the United States will begin to see a new normal.
I think that we will begin to see more individuals like Donald Trump and other non-career politicians become more prominent in future political races. Why do I think this? Starbucks.
Howard Schultz is an American businessman. Schultz was formerly a member of the board of directors at Square, Inc., and has been featured in Forbes magazine.
Howard Schultz, however, is widely known for his work with Starbucks.
From 1886 to 2000, Schultz was the chairman and CEO of Starbucks, as well as from 2008 to 2017. In 2017, he stepped down as CEO of the company and took up the role of executive chairman (which he eventually retired from in 2018).
After slowly departing from his career with Starbucks, Schultz began to hint at a potential political campaign. Would the former Starbucks CEO even have a shot in the 2020 election?
Although Schultz’s political affiliation has been Democratic until 2019, he now claims to be an independent. Due to the results of the 2016 election, it can be inferred that our country has once again grown tired of career politicians.
Because of our increasingly connected social lives (via social media and internet progression), The United States is currently a violently divided country. Yes, Donald Trump took office partially because of his former career in business. He also took office because of his unrelenting Republican campaign.
Whether you like him or not, Trump had a brilliantly simple campaign. In the end, all he had to do was remove his filter, and throw money at whatever he chose to say. Some people call it pandering, others call it representation.
Howard Schultz however, is a potential independent candidate. I think this will be his greatest strength.
In a country as divided as ours, a lack of political affiliation can seem like a refreshing and hopeful option. On the other hand, because of the 2016 election, I think our country is becoming more and more aware that policy is what matters in the long run.
Republican is not equivalent to conservative, and Democrat is not equivalent to liberal. This will be the eventual downfall of our binary political system.
Thomas is a staff writer here at the Crimson. He writes his weekly column, Tommy’s Music Corner, where he dives into the local music scene.