Howard Schultz, Former CEO of Starbucks, Announces that He Wants to “Run as a Centrist Independent” in the 2020 presidential election


Howard Schultz

Jessica Polito

On January 27th, 2019, another American announced that they’re running in the 2020 presidential election. This new candidate is Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. Though he has no formal experience in the political world, Schultz proclaimed in an interview with 60 Minutes, that “I will run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system.”

Schultz’s announcement sparked public interest, as the two-party system has been in place for decades. Independent candidates are notorious for having little to no chance of winning, and often get accused of stealing votes from the democratic or republican candidates. Schultz notes that he “sees extremes on both sides,” and thus doesn’t want to run as a democrat, which is how he previously identified. One senior, Kyle Garneau, feels that “it’s only going to steal votes from the democrats and create problems for them.” Despite that many feel the same as Garneau, Schultz is insistent that a centrist is what America needs right now. “Both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people, and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics,” Schultz explains. As an independent, he believes that he will be more capable of attending to the public. Schultz proudly told Americans in his interview, “bring me your ideas, and I will be an independent person who will embrace those ideas.”

As another candidate with no formal political experience, many question whether Schultz is qualified to be president. As the former Starbucks CEO, he has lots of experience in managing a company and growing his business. Though he is immensely wealthy right now, he wasn’t born into a position of power. Growing up in a poor family, Schultz had to work hard to buy his business and build it into the empire it is today. That empire made him rich, and he has said that he will use his own money to fund a campaign that has already begun to assemble. As junior, Sara Wills explains, “it is much more difficult for independents to raise money and earn media coverage than a Democratic or Republican candidate.” As a rich individual, Schultz should not have to deal with that problem, which may set him apart from prior unsuccessful independent candidates.

Aside from money, candidates in the current political climate must prepare for questions about hot-button topics such as immigration, national debt, healthcare, and more. While candidates sometimes struggle to answer those questions, Schultz answered them with no hesitation in his interview. He insists that running his business taught him the importance of input. “In order to make great decisions about complex problems, I have to recruit and attract people who are smarter than me, more experienced, more skilled, and we’ve gotta create an understanding that we need a creative debate in the room to make these kind of decisions,” he stated. With confidence and distinct acknowledgement of his flaws, many see Schultz as a unique candidate for the 2020 election. Early on in the interview, he casually mentions that he wants to win because “I want to see the American people win, I want to see America win.” Though the election is still over a year and a half away, Schultz is starting to spread his message and begin the long battle for commander in chief.