Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks, is stepping down from his lofty position to pursue a “range of options.” This he told his employees in a memorandum, which is code for political pundits to experience a collective euphoric episode, gasping “what’s that mean?” As potent as a double jolt of java spiked with Chicory Root, an unencumbered Schultz is an absolute thrilling possibility for the Democratic Party.
Schultz, a left coast Democrat who was an active and vocal supporter of Mrs. Clinton, is an outspoken detractor of President Trump. Earlier this year, he accused the president of “creating episodic chaos every day.” Trump retorted with “maybe we should boycott Starbucks.”
And yes, his name is now being bandied about as a contender for president in 2020 against Trump and the Republicans. Heck, he’s better than anyone else coming up through leftist boot camp so far, but does he have the right stuff to woo America blue again?
The Schultz Brand
Unless one has been in a coma for 25 years, it’s safe to assume Americans have heard of Starbucks. Akin to the CVS drugstore chain, they are on most every corner in major metropolitan areas, and appeal to a clientele that wishes to pay too much for a plain cup of joe. What consumer doesn’t want to get their hands on the special swirly touches of foam created by a barista who clearly knows how to operate a cappuccino machine, then sink into a comfy chair to hang with other hipsters under the dulcet tones of chick music?
That’s the brand that Schultz created: a gathering place in the neighborhood.
He has proven his model of globalization, taking the small chain of 11 stores in Seattle in 1987 and creating a global juggernaut with 28,000 coffee houses in 77 countries. And he credits his father for his success, saying he “wanted to build the company that my father never got to work for.” A company that balanced profit with conscience, one Schultz believed could elevate humanity through employee benefits and profit sharing for full and part time employees.
Will America Buy It?
Where does Schultz stand on the issues in today’s America? Besides trashing our president, does he have a message for the electorate? He has made statements in business interviews that might label him a centrist, a liberal, or a fiscal conservative. In an interview with Time, he seemed most animated when discussing entitlement spending, the national debt, and growth. Like a good businessman might, he emphatically stated, “There’s no for-profit business in the world that could sustain itself or survive with $20 trillion in debt. And we can’t keep pushing this. … It’s just not responsible.”
And in the same interview, without skipping a beat, he added:
“We’re here in a sense talking about climate change, but all of this is related to the leadership that we need, the centrist approach we need, the understanding that science is real and a fiscal responsibility to once and for all address the fact that we can’t rob future generations.”
Schultz seems to be ordering his ideology off the a la carte menu.
Americans overwhelmingly rushed to the polls in 2016 in a last-ditch effort to save this country from Socialism and a global one world order style of governing. America first is not a slogan; it’s lifestyle. And it was hard fought and won with the election of President Trump. It’s unlikely that those desires will vanish in two short years, regardless of presidential opponents – even Schultz. It might be wise to keep a steady watch on the former coffee mogul, but dethroning Trump will be a mighty Venti order, with or without the foam.