‘Centrist’ does not mean ‘not a far-right extremist’

It is incredible how much attention that billionaire former CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz has got for his vanity project of running as an independent for president. He portrays himself as a ‘centrist’, the label that politicians like to adopt. These right-wing oligarchs like to use that term vaguely, to mean anyone who is not a far-right lunatic. Surely any normal definition of centrism would have some resemblance to supporting positions that the majority of people favor, such as Medicare for All, higher marginal tax rates on income and wealth, and living wages? He is vocally opposed to such measures..

It is interesting that because he is wealthy, the media does not treat him the way that they would a progressive newcomer to politics who is not a billionaire, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez points out.

Schultz is so deluded that he was surprised by the hostile reception he got from the Democratic party and is supposedly reconsidering running, after getting his 15 minutes of fame. I feel bad about even contributing this little bit of attention to him.

Seth Meyers blasts Schultz for thinking he should be president.


  1. John Morales says

    Technically, ‘Centrist’ does indeed mean ‘not a far-right extremist’; they are non-overlapping sets.

  2. KG says

    John Morales@1,

    No, “centrist” implies “not a far-right extremist”, but it does not mean that, because there are many ways of not being a centrist other than being a far-right extremist..

  3. says

    The Overton Window is so far to the right that not only can this Reagan Republican say he’s a “centrist” with a straight face, he used to support the Democratic Party before some members started talking about making people like him slightly less super rich.

  4. file thirteen says

    @Tabby #4

    Far-right billionaires only describe themselves as “centrist” as an undisguised effort to keep the Overton window as far right as possible.

  5. John Morales says

    file thirteen, you are imputing motive, but not convincingly. It may be he genuinely believes himself to be centrist.

    To be fair, since you began with “Far-right billionaires”, you may not be referring to the subject at hand, but merely be making a claim about far-right billionaires in general, unlike Mano’s own “These right-wing oligarchs”, which explicitly asserts Mano considers him to be such.

    The appellation is only apposite if, in fact, he is one of the people actually running the government — a rather speculative claim, IMO.

    KG @, ‘mean’ is polysemous, and entailment/implication is one of the primary meanings.

    So, yes, and not “no”.

    (You might as well have written: “No, “dog” implies “not a cactus”, but it does not mean that, because there are many ways of not being a dog other than being a cactus.”)

  6. KG says

    John Morales@6,

    And I would have been right, if the preceding conversation had taken a parallel course to this one. Since the meaning of “mean” Mano meant (that not being a far right extremist is not sufficient to make one a centrist) was clear from context, your quibble@1 was without merit.

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