University of Denver
Politics /30 Jan 2019
and 01.30.19

The Howard Schultz Dilemma

If you think there will be a Starbucks on the Moon before Howard Schultz becomes President of the United States, you are already in deep trouble.

Thus, your objection to a Schultz presidential candidacy in 2020 isn’t a question of his competency although there is a valid point to be made that Shultz, like Trump, has never served in government. Running a multi-national corporation, which Shultz has done well, and running the United States government are vastly different enterprises and the latter is much more nuanced and complicated.

A Question of Competency

There are some Democrats and Republicans who are concerned about Shultz’s siphoning off votes that would otherwise be cast for one of the two major parties.

If the Democratic or Republican candidate for President can’t beat Donald Trump, who can?

How Schultz Could Win

“I have met so many people who feel frustrated and ignored because the party they once proudly embraced now embraces extreme ideologies and revenge politics over sensible solutions and collaborative problem-solving. Polarization and divisiveness among Republicans and Democrats are spoiling the potential of our country, making it possible for a new choice to emerge.” – Howard Schultz, USA Today

The Starbucks logo is ubiquitous, their coffee is delicious, and Howard Schultz built their niche market into a billion-dollar brand.

Howard Schultz is everything Donald Trump is not. Schultz is a self-made billionaire with a genteel demeanor and a statesmanesque air. He also has the sort of socially liberal, fiscally conservative ideals a great many moderate Republicans would embrace wholeheartedly.

He also lacks most of the far-leftist socialist platforms that alienates moderate Democratic voters and Independent voters alike but is a strong proponent of marriage equality, equal rights, and other cherished progressive ideals.

Starbucks actually walks the walk instead of just talking the talk, committing decades ago to fair wages, employee stock ownership, tuition reimbursement and a supportive work environment that gets consistently high marks from liberal elites for corporate progressiveness.

Will moderate Democratic voters prefer the appeal of a candidate who is both well-intentioned and competent, although not experienced as noted earlier, to enact his goals and support his ideas? Maybe.

The Power of the Independent Vote

42% of American voters identify as an Independent. Many voters who register as Republicans and Democrats only do so in order to vote in primary elections in their districts, and aren’t entirely off the table as potential independent voters either.

If there are enough self-identified independent voters, and there are, a well-run campaign and a crack media team might be enough to mobilize the vote.

It could also attract moderate Republicans, who like the direction the economy is going but don’t like Trump. Moderate Democrats, who worry about the hard leftist policies could also find Schultz appealing.

Will people like and support Howard Schultz? Only time will tell.

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