Foreground: Former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz. Background: The blue-black expanse of the cosmos. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
Columnist

Good news, everyone!

I have thought this all through very carefully, and I have decided what potential independent presidential candidate Howard Schultz should do.

He should go to space.

There are so many other things to do than mount a centrist bid for commander in chief when you are a billionaire with money burning a hole in your pocket. You can do what Bill Gates does and spend millions of dollars on your weird personal grudge against malaria. Or you can start SpaceX or Virgin Galactic, or you can buy a newspaper so its writers will have to say “Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post” every time they mention you, which may not seem that consequential, but trust me, it really wears on the writer!

I understand that this strange thing happens to each billionaire in his time. He, the billionaire, looks over his works and feels incomplete.

“Sure,” he says to himself, “I have created a weird expensive car made of promises/a website where you can order any book but the entire industry of reading and publishing is a little bit destroyed/a dubious organization I use to take money from those who do not know better in exchange for useless degrees and equally dubious meat products. I have insulted rescue cave divers in strange terms/forced mayors across the country to fight to the death for my amusement/beseeched Vladimir Putin to become my best friend on Twitter. You will never guess what I managed to pay in taxes. But — is that all there is? Surely this cannot be all life holds!”

There are two responses to this, one healthy and the other unhealthy. One is to go to space. And the other is to run for president.

I fear Schultz is taking the latter course. Now he is in the process of messaging, workshopping things like “Contemplate Starbucks and glimpse all Schultz has wrought! The tasteful wood things, the employee benefits, the cake pops! And now vaguely apply that to America. He won’t tell us what he’s going to do, but he doesn’t think the deficit is good! We can probably patch it together from context clues! Surely, there is nothing wrong with America that Howard Schultz is not well equipped to fix?"

But going to space will satisfy the primary urge that motivates runs for president: the desire to spend vast amounts of money on something not useful. But, unlike running for president, it combines all the fun of wasting money on something not immediately helpful to anyone with all the fun of not accidentally contributing to a second term for Donald Trump! Schultz has said it is time to rise above the party system. Well, how better to rise above the party system than to climb aboard a spaceship and hover at least 62 miles above the Earth, probably even farther?

Schultz has complained of the rancorous partisan atmosphere. Well, in space there is no atmosphere at all.

He has said that his favorite Republican president in the last 50 years is Ronald Reagan because he never took off his jacket in the Oval Office. In space, you cannot remove any item of outerwear or you will instantly perish.

Like Davos, space is a rarefied milieu inaccessible to people without independent wealth where you cannot hear the majority of people saying they do not think your ideas are good.

(He has said he doesn’t want to deal in the hypothetical of what he would do if elected president. And why should he have to? In space, you can speak all you like and no one can tell if you have answered a question or not. In space, if you fail to answer the question, it is not embarrassing for you, as sound does not travel.)

For Schultz’s candidacy to make sense, an enormous contingent of people — a silent majority, if you will — would have to exist that, as far as we can tell, simply does not! Well, just so, in space, there is dark matter, something we have long been theorizing exists in order for our calculations to make sense, so Schultz would feel right at home.

Yet! He continues to say he feels a void that is waiting to be filled by his candidacy. What bigger void is there than space! What better place for a third-party candidate than … space? Go to space, Howard! Go to space!

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