Highway to Hell: A Milkshake Duck for the road

This week, Melissa is taking a serious look at Kamala Harris and Howard Schultz, two brand name political players if there ever were any...


I ended last week’s coverage summarizing the candidates that have announced they are running for 2020. I ended that list with Kamala Harris and the line, “It looks like Kamala is going to be pushed as the frontrunner by the Democratic establishment and media and we will have a replay of a divided left in the primary.” I could not have gotten closer to the truth if I tried; however, in this run for POTUS the source of division is coming from the burnt-coffee billionaire, Howard Schultz.

Watching her run unfold from the beginning, it is obvious to me that Sen. Harris is using the Hillary Clinton blueprint, because nothing works best like something that has failed twice. She has picked up a few former staffers from Hillary’s campaign and she has started the “look at me, I am a real down to earth person” PR campaign.

However, none of that really makes much of a difference at the end of the day, especially since Senator Harris’ former work as a prosecutor was where most of her criticism and uncertainty was placed.

To get ahead of the narrative before the real primary battle begins, Kamala and team set up an all-out media blitz. Op-eds, poignant statements on social media, a rally in Oakland, and an early televised town hall on CNN shortly followed her official announcement. The town hall; however, was one that most discerning voters were interested in observing. It was going to be a chance for her to answer to her decisions made as a prosecutor, and to see where she stood on progressive policies.

The day of the town hall, as the country was finishing its second or third cup of coffee, we were got another wake-up call from former Starbucks. CEO, Howard Schultz. Schultz, with a cup full of confidence, announced he was considering running for President as a centrist independent, whatever TF that is supposed to mean. Imagine after watching the Trump presidency in all its disastrous glory, Schultz felt that the only thing that could save the country from an egotistical billionaire was a “socially responsible” egotistical billionaire. He was immediately met with the best form of a “hell f’n no” you can ever receive on Twitter – the infamous ratio.

If it was not initially clear what Schultz’s idea of a centrist independent, he soon painted that picture for us the day after Sen. Harris’ CNN Town Hall special. Harris did not do much to absolve her problematic past with those who are advocates of real criminal justice reform, but she did score one unexpected high note when she stated her support for Medicare For All and abolishing the private insurance system. That struck a nerve for many people, especially centrist. Especially independent centrist who are corporate billionaires.

Howard Schultz, who until now, had no stated platform, was put off by the idea of abolishing private insurance companies. He made his way through morning TV circuit claiming it is un-American and unaffordable. He is not ignoring the proposals to tax the wealthy to pay for it, he is purposely out to stop them from happening. Whether intentional or not, he caused a very real and telling moment of the real progressive intentions of Kamala Harris.

Her campaign team quickly walked back her statements on Medicare For All. They said she is supportive of an incremental approach to the inclusive coverage and that she has not ruled out plans that include the option to keep private insurance. That is vastly different from what she said on CNN.

Was it Schultz’s reaction to her position?

I don’t know.

However, it is not a good look to change a populous position after a billionaire came out against it. Harris committed the campaign policy version of a Milkshake Duck. I wonder how many more times this will happen while we are giving the billionaire class an underserving platform? How many versions of the Milkshake Duck are we going to get – Soy-Lo-Cal Milkshake Duck Frappuccino, Flat White Milkshake Duck, Milkshake Duck Chai Tea Latte?

I predict we will get many, and I predict we will find another right around the corner.

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Melissa Garriga is a political communications specialist from Mississippi. She writes about politics and culture, and likes to add fuel to the fire of the country's incipient class war.