Now, I agree that he is not an especially appealing candidate. If he doesn't run at all, I don't think we'll be missing anything. This rather snarky article summarizes it pretty well. But if he did run as an independent, I think he'd be much more likely to hurt Trump than to help him.
When Trump got elected, he was very unpopular. He got a lot of votes from people who didn't like him - but also didn't like Clinton. That was a very large chunk of the vote, people who disliked both candidates, and Trump won that group by a large margnin, which is one of the things he depended on to be able to squeak by and get narrowly elected.
We hear a lot about Trump's approval rating being in the 40s, and recently dipping into the high 30s in several polls due to the shutdown. But more importantly, disapproval of Trump (which is not just everyone who doesn't approve, since there are always some people who are neutral or undecided) has been above 50% for two years.
It seems very very likely that Trump disapproval will stay above 50% through the rest of his term; to win, Trump will once again need to depend on people who disapprove of him choosing to vote for him. An independent candidate like Schultz, one who is portrayed as running as an independent primarily because he doesn't like Democrats proposing to raise taxes, is probably exactly the alternative that dissafected conservatives would go for. People who don't like Trump but are inclined to vote for him despite that, because they can't see themselves voting for a Democrat or don't like the Democratic candidate, are pretty much the only group I can see Schultz appealing to in any numbers. If he gets any significant number of votes, I bet it'd be mostly from them.
Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post ( comments on DW)