Is President Schultz in America’s future?
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks from 1986-2000 and 2008-2017, as well as its executive chairman since then, announced his stepping down on Monday.
Schultz has had rumors of a presidential run surrounding his name for years, and he has even hinted at his interest in the position. While he hasn’t deliberately stated his decision, he has reported that he will weigh his options and determine a way he can best give back to the community. When asked about a potential public office role, he admitted that it would be in consideration.
The now executive emeritus has voiced his political opinions, especially in the most recent election. He publicly endorsed candidate Hillary Clinton for president in the 2016 election, and he has even criticized multiple actions by President Donald Trump. Primarily, he criticized Trump’s statements about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when the president said that the violence was due to both sides.
Even recently, Schultz has touched upon political issues within his own company. After police arrested two black men in a Starbucks store for not ordering anything, the company changed its store policy. Now, any customer can come into a store and lounge without purchasing a beverage or food item.
Additionally, because of the incident, the coffee giant closed 8,000 stores last Tuesday for a racial bias training among 175,000 employees. The effectiveness of the training is unclear at this point, as the training occurred just a week ago, but Schultz has shown with this training and previous statements that he believes these issues need to be addressed.
Is Schultz qualified to run and/or be president?
In a 2020 candidacy poll by Morning Consult from Last June, Howard Schultz scored a 21% favorability rating among Democratic voters. This was lower than ten other candidates (with Joe Biden at the top with 74% favorability). In fact, surprisingly, only 55% of voters knew of Howard Schultz.
Thus, even with his financial plus-side over other candidates, he does not have enough popularity among the general public. However, President Donald Trump was in a similar boat – when he announced his candidacy, many people thought it was a public relations stunt. Very few people took him seriously, as he was a businessman and not a politician. However, now he is the Head of State, beating formidable opponent Hillary Clinton.
Starbucks employees are unconvinced about his legitimacy as a candidate as well. Although both corporate workers and baristas believe Schultz is an impeccable leader, they question his ability to win the election. They do not believe he will be able to be a partisan representative that represents his constituency. Schultz would likely need to abandon some opinions and beliefs to better reach his voters.
Nothing is set in stone, as Schultz has not announced his candidacy. However, the race will be exciting if Schultz does decide to win. Maybe he will be able to pull off a similar feat to Donald Trump but on the opposite side of the aisle.
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