Would Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Make a Good President?

February 1, 2019


Word is that former CEO of Starbucks coffee Howard Schultz is considering a 2020 presidential run. 


The businessman last served as the coffee company's CEO in 2000, then acted as an executive chair to the company from 2017-18. He also previously owned the Seattle SuperSonics and formed the investment firm Maveron.  In 2016, Forbes listed Schultz as the 232nd richest person in the United States. As of April 2017,  it is reported that he has a net worth of $3.1 billion which places him firmly in the top 1% of wage earners. 


Though Schultz didn't found the Starbucks company, he is responsible for creating the brand we know today. Using several stages of venture capital, he acquired competing stores and expanded the brand both domestically and internationally. Donald Trump was denounced for his admission that he received a 'small loan' from his father to start his business, so perhaps liberal voters will more favorably view Schultz' fund raising efforts for Starbucks - though we don't see much of a difference. 


During his tenure as CEO, Starbucks was known for offering high wages to its workforce and healthcare benefit packages that included domestic partners and same sex partners. He was also an advocate of Aids Research and received an award in 2017 from the NAACP. This was before the controversial news story where two black men were arrested and thrown out of a Starbucks store. His record of supporting gay rights and same sex marriage is very likely to win over liberal voters. He did endorse Hilary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Run.  


Schultz has previously described himself as a socially liberal 'deficit hawk', stating that we should go after entitlements and that that the national debt is "the greatest threat domestically to the country". He also recently commented on the Affordable Healthcare Act believing that it should be left in place and refined and that Medicare For All is "not American."


Schultz believes in comprehensive tax reform, though opposed a proposal by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's that would have affected rich men like himself. It would raise the marginal tax rate on income over $10 million to 70%. Schultz stated that it was "punitive" and contrary to the American Dream. He does support enhanced border security but has voiced opposition to the border wall. 

Though Schultz has yet to offer any real platform or policy suggestions, we believe he would mostly be a left leaning moderate candidate. He would appeal to liberals as an alternative to the more outspoken and controversial socialist based candidates like Bernie Sanders. Without knowing his stance on abortion it's hard to say how far left he swings, but abortion could be the make or break topic for any moderate since everyone seems to favor a non-committal stance on 'border reform'. 


We believe Schultz would get a good share of liberal votes, mostly from older voters who were on the fence and still voted for Donald Trump. It's also hard to deny the social appeal of the former Starbucks CEO, and he would likely receive at least a small part of millennial votes based on that brand recognition. We will hold off on passing full judgment until we know more on his political stances, but right now we see Howard Schultz as a Donald Trump in liberal disguise - which just may be what's needed to cause a shake up in the Democratic Platform. Reminiscent of Mitt Romney, a liberal in most causes, who convinced the right that he was a thinking man's alternative to the further left Barack Obama. It didn't work, and in today's political climate where voters cast a ballot on a single socially charged issue - Schultz may have to decide to swing one way or another to garner any real support from the left or right. 


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