The Billionaire Behind Starbucks Might Run For Prez And Everyone Hates It

The former CEO of Starbucks says he’s contemplating an independent run for president of the United States in the 2020 election, and basically everyone is bloody furious at him for even suggesting it – including a heckler who called him an “egotistical, billionaire asshole” at his first press event after the announcement.

Howard Schultz, who took the cafe chain to immense success in the 1980s, announced over the long weekend that he is “seriously considering running for president.” The 65-year-old added he’d dodge Republican or Democratic selection processes if he were to run, instead opting to go it alone on a centrist platform.

With a net worth of AUD $4.7 billion, the bloke could realistically bankroll his own campaign. CBS reports Schultz has already acquired the services of some political operatives behind the White House election campaigns of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, lending him some considerable firepower.

His non-zero chance at launching a centrist campaign has figures on both side of American politics pissed off.

It comes down to America’s first-past-the-post electoral system, which asks voters to make one and only one choice on their ballot papers. The candidate with the most votes at the end of the count wins.

That’s markedly different to Australia‘s preferential voting system, which permits a glittering array of minor parties in state and federal parliaments. Where a popular independent might have a shot at entering parliament here, strong independent campaigns which ultimately fall short of victory in US elections are seen to just steal votes from both major parties.

So, Democrats and everyone even tangentially invested in not re-electing President Donald Trump in 2020 are worried someone like Schultz could weaken their chances – even though Schultz has stated his strong opposition to Trump.

Schultz’ speaking engagement today at a Barnes And Noble in New York City was interrupted by a heckler with that precise concern, who told him in no uncertain terms his campaign would shave votes off the Democrat’s attempt to kick Trump out of the White House.

Oh, the same heckler also told Schultz to go back to getting ratioed on Twitter, which is perhaps the most scathing internet-class insult that can be bestowed on a would-be centrist politician.

Right-wing also folks have also paid attention to Schultz, including Trump himself. In a tweet, Trump goaded Schultz into running, seemingly safe in the knowledge he’d peel off more Democratic voters than rusted-on MAGA chuds.

Make no mistake: Schultz is hardly a progressive candidate (as if a billionaire ever could be), and his views on things like universal health care cast him in contrast with other rumoured 2020 Democratic contenders like Senator Bernie Sanders. 

He might just rock up and make things more contentious for everyone – and there’s a genuine fear his arrival with a campaign could wind up helping Trump anyway.