Howard Schultz recently announced he was stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks, prompting the beltway media to pontificate about a potential 2020 presidential campaign.
The Starbucks mogul may be seen by some Democrats as their own version of Trump — a billionaire business mogul who has been outspoken on climate change, calls for civility and respect in Washington, and is welcoming toward refugees, hiring 10,000 of them at Starbucks locations around the world. According to the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, Schultz is considering “public service” after his tenure at the coffee chain ends.
Breaking News: Howard Schultz will leave @Starbucks at end of month. End of era. Says he will consider “public service” among options. Speculation will mount about 2020. I’m going on @CNBC NOW to discuss. Read my story here: https://t.co/gvoSuwWP0y
— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) June 4, 2018
However, Schultz’s platform is more than a little problematic for working class Americans, given that Schultz, who has a net worth of $2.7 billion — making him nearly as wealthy as Donald Trump — appears to subscribe to the same mindset as House Speaker Paul Ryan when it comes to earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare. Schultz hinted to TIME that he would want to run government like a business (despite the government operating in the interest of the public good, not to make a profit for shareholders).
[I]n his interview with TIME, [Schultz] seemed most animated by a fiscally conservative position — reducing the national debt. To deal with that issue, Schultz called for a “centrist approach” to address entitlement spending and said the U.S. need to reach 4% growth.
“There’s no for-profit business in the world that could sustain itself or survive with $20 trillion in debt,” he said. “And we can’t keep pushing this. … It’s just not responsible.”
While a potential 2020 run is just speculation at this point, Schultz is doing all the typical things potential presidential candidates do, like go on obligatory road trips to listen to regular Americans tell “uplifting, truthful stories” and visit cities devastated by natural and man-made disasters (Houston and Charlottesville) to “talk to people.”
Other Democrats that would potentially have to compete with Schultz, should he decide to run and do so as a Democrat, could include former Vice President Joe Biden along with Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Kamala Harris (D-California), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who caucuses with Democrats.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.