Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday in a message to his email list that warned that “what is at risk is democracy itself,” CNBC reports.
“Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz formally abandoned his pursuit of an independent campaign for president Friday, telling his supporters in a letter that he found it tougher than he expected to capture the attention of moderate voters and that he didn’t want to risk reelecting President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
“Schultz’s decision, after spending months away from public life because of health issues, will come as a relief to Democratic leaders, who feared an independent candidacy by a self-funded billionaire would hobble their eventual nominee. Despite growing frustration with the country’s politics, his aborted run serves as a cautionary tale about the resiliency of the country’s two-party political system.”
Washington Post: “It’s hard to think of a less compelling thing to be right now than a centrist. Precisely because of the permanent crisis that afflicts Trump’s Washington, Schultz’s pox-on-both-houses sanctimony can feel not just inadequate but slightly nauseating.”
“But there was another, arguably more serious, problem with Schultz’s version of centrism: It does the opposite of what it claims to do. A politics intended to appeal to a wide middle of the country has, in the hands of someone like Schultz, come to mean an incredibly narrow thing: fiscally conservative, socially liberal, open borders on trade and immigration, restrictive on gun rights, hawkish on foreign policy, and not crazy about raising taxes.”
“‘Centrism,’ in other words, has become a byword for the politics of the business elite. Defined left to right, on an x-axis, it may approximate the center of the political spectrum. But on a y-axis that represents socioeconomic status, it sits at the very top.”
Jeff Greenfield: “The dream Schultz thought he could hitch his ambitions to—the idea that Americans want an “independent” alternative to partisan nonsense, either from a new, third party or an apolitical outsider—seems every once in a while like it could become solid. The attraction of successful, commanding figure from outside the tawdry business of politics has been with us at least since Henry Ford was touted as a potential chief executive in 1916. Schultz even seemed like the kind of guy who could project a similar appeal, a proud billionaire capitalist whose stores are regarded as places of inclusion and tolerance.”
“But as his colossally inept candidacy demonstrated, America’s interest in a nonpartisan leader is paper-thin—and the more divided we are, the less likely we are to seek out the proverbial dead armadillo in the middle of the road. Historically, Schultz-like figures do best when the parties are much closer than they are right now.”
“Howard Schultz, who has previously said he is considering running for president as a centrist independent, will not campaign this summer after undergoing three separate back surgeries,” Axios reports.
The HuffPost notes Schultz also made “significant cuts” to his team. He announced that he “was letting everyone go except those in senior leadership positions, adding he would not make a decision about running for president until after Labor Day.”
Daily Beast: “When former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz first declared that he was entertaining the idea of running for president, he was ubiquitous on the political scene, sitting for interviews with major outlets, appearing at buzzy conferences, and making various stops for a book tour across the country in which he’d persistently tease his White House ambitions.”
“But in the past two weeks, Schultz has largely disappeared, leaving the impression that the presidential campaign he was flirting with won’t actually come to fruition.”
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Fox News announced Tuesday it will host a town hall with former Starbucks CEO and potential 2020 presidential candidate Howard Schultz, The Hill reports.
Intelligencer: “Anyone who thought, or hoped, that the flood of horror in response to Howard Schultz’s independent presidential exploration would deter him might want to sit down for this. Because the former Starbucks chairman and his band of true believers are convinced — and getting more unblinkingly convinced by the day — that the anger is conveniently packaged proof that they’re paving the right path.”
Howard Schultz apologized to two Democratic candidates after claiming he had spent more time with the military than anyone else in the 2020 field, Politico reports.
Said Schultz: “I apologize to Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard who served our country honorably. In that moment I made something that should unite us all, about me. I made a mistake and I apologize.”
“Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has recruited at least three veteran House Republican staffers and consultants to join his presidential campaign-in-waiting, bringing on seasoned and well-connected GOP operatives who know their way around the very political apparatus helping to reelect President Trump in 2020,” The Hill reports.
“The retired Starbucks CEO cited the former New York mayor’s announcement as validation for his theory that the ideological gulf between the two major parties will be so wide in 2020 that an independent candidate like him just might be able to prevail.”
Said Schultz: “The Democrats are pushing an agenda that is extremely so far left that, in my mind, it’s very close to a socialistic agenda. You saw today that one of the great mayors in modern history … decided not to run for president. He looked at the Democratic platform and realized that, as a centrist, he probably could not get the nomination.”
Twitter suspended a number of accounts supporting Howard Schultz for violating the social media giant’s fake accounts policies, NBC News reports.
Within days of Schultz’s announcement, Twitter “was home to fan accounts that seemed to span every demographic, praising the coffee executive’s possible campaign and vowing support. Along with general anonymous fan accounts, profiles claiming to represent moderates, Republicans, men, women and white and black voters all jumped on the billionaire’s bandwagon.”
“But, as many Twitter users suspected, some of Schultz’s fan accounts were not the grassroots supporters they claimed to be.”
“Even after facing public criticism over his spotty voting record, Howard Schultz failed to vote in this month’s Seattle school-levy election,” the Seattle Times reports.
“King County Elections records show a postage-paid ballot for the Feb. 12 special election was mailed to the billionaire former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate on Jan. 23, but never returned.”
“The no-show was in line with Schultz’s pattern of ignoring many elections over the decades, even while urging increased civic and political involvement by Americans.”
Howard Schultz pledged in a letter to supporters that he is committed to making sure an independent run for president would do “nothing to re-elect Donald Trump,” Axios reports.
Said Schultz: “As I’m sure you’ve seen, there have been some skeptical and even downright angry comments from party activists and inside-the-Beltway pundits in the press and on social media. Others have expressed genuine fears that an independent candidate could help re-elect President Trump.”
He added: “I hear and respect this overriding concern, and have repeatedly promised that I will not be a spoiler. I am committed to ensuring that I will do nothing to re-elect Donald Trump. I mean it.”
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said that he “would be willing to abandon his presidential ambitions midstream if Democrats nominate a centrist who makes it too difficult for him to win as an independent candidate,” the Washington Post reports.
Aaron Blake: “At the start of the town hall CNN gave Howard Schultz on Tuesday night, anchor Poppy Harlow promised, ‘We’re going to talk about all the issues, because that’s what this is about.'”
“Unfortunately, Schultz spent the next hour studiously avoiding taking a position on much of anything.”
“The former Starbucks CEO and potential independent presidential candidate’s performance was almost a caricature of an independent candidate trying to say nothing except that the two major parties were doing it wrong. Harlow, to her great credit, repeatedly noted that he was skirting the questions and not talking about his own proposals.”
First Read: “There is definitely an opening for someone who brings a fresh perspective to American politics, as well as someone who takes on both political parties. But, folks, this isn’t it…”