Why Are People Really Mad About The Former Starbucks CEO Potentially Running For President?

We’ve received a sneak peak into what the future presidential bid will look like after multiple politicians launched their exploratory committees over the last few weeks. Now, Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, announced that he will consider running for president as an independent candidate in 2020. 

Schultz pondered the idea of running as an independent on Sunday via Twitter. The retired Starbucks CEO wrote: “I love our country, and I am seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent.” According to The New York Times, an independent candidate doesn’t affiliate themselves with a political party, and thus, Schultz would have some freedom to build his own stances on issues. 

Schultz explained in an interview with The Times his frustration with the Democratic and Republican parties and why he decided to identify as an independent. 

“We have a broken political system with both parties basically in business to preserve their own ideology without a recognition and responsibility to represent the interests of the American people,” Schultz said. “Republicans and Democrats alike—who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left—are looking for a home...The word ‘independent,’ for me, is simply a designation on the ballot.” 

In an interview with CBS News’ 60 minutes on Sunday, he said that he thought of himself as a “lifelong Democrat.” Schultz then said he now believes that people need more options to ensure that their views are well-represented.

But the announcement has come under fire from fellow independetns, Democrats, and even President Donald Trump. 

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, who has revealed interest in a presidential run, told The New York Times that “there is no way an independent can win.” He wrote on Twitter on Monday that he had considered to run for president as an independent in 2016, but decided against it. Bloomberg thought his run would split the left-leaning vote, and Schultz’s run could now get the president re-elected. 

“Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the Electoral College system, there is no way an independent can win,” Bloomberg tweeted. “In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the president. That’s a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can’t afford to run it now.”

USA Today reported that Schultz’s possible presidential campaign have made Democrats worried for similar reasons. They’re concerned that an independent candidate could split the vote and ensure that the Republican candidate would win. 

The fear is definitely legitimate, especially since one person on Twitter reportedly heard Trump say that he sees Schultz as an asset to his 2020 campaign. 

The president also tweeted on Monday that Schultz wouldn’t have the “guts” to launch a presidential campaign. 

As Vox reports, it’s just not smart for billionaires to consider a presidential campaign as they’re skills don’t transfer over to the job. The publication notes that the concerns of the people aren’t areas that they’re familiar with. A potential focal point for Schultz campaign is the debt and the deficit, which is far from what Americans want per the polls. The economy, health care, terrorism, and jobs are major priorities right now.  

The Brookings Institute mentioned in a 2010 piece that it’s not too uncommon for independent candidates to win congressional races because they’re often between the “extremes” of the political parties. Though, as The Times recognized, an independent rarely becomes a presidential contender. Vox also pointed out that it’s unlikely for independent candidates to win. 

It’s uncertain whether Schultz will move forward with his presidential aspirations and officially declare his bid for the 2020 race.