Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is the latest influential force in Democratic politics who is revolting against former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s prospective presidential bid, insisting that an independent run unintentionally would help President Trump win another four years in office.
“No one in America should give Donald Trump a helping hand to become re-elected as president of the United States,” Inslee told CBS News. “The devastation that that man could cause is profound and well-known.”
“Do not help Donald Trump. That’s inexcusable,” he added.
No third party or independent candidate has won more than 5 percent of the popular vote since Ross Perot in 1996.
Inslee said he urged Schultz to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination if he decides to run for president, instead of potentially spoiling the race.
“So we’re hopeful that Mr. Schultz listens to this chorus across the nation and has a legacy that is a good one for his business leadership,” Inslee said.
He added: “Don’t have a legacy of re-electing Donald Trump. That’d be a sad result.”
Schultz, in an interview with Fox News, fired back Wednesday at Democrats who are fuming over the possibility he could launch an independent presidential bid.
“I think the Democrats need a little bit less caffeine right now,” Schultz said to Dana Perino on “The Daily Briefing.”
“I think they’ve over-rotated completely because it’s very possible that if I run for president as a centrist independent that more lifelong Republicans will come my way than Democrats. So I think the whole thing is just an overreaction in 24 hours,” he added.
Inslee is among the politicians trying to carve out a place for a centrist in a party that’s been moving to the left. In that group are Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A Gallup survey this month found that 51 percent of Democrats identify as liberal; that’s the highest percentage on record. But last month, Gallup found that 54 percent of Democrats want their party to be more moderate, while 41 percent want it to move left.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.