Starbucks tycoon roasted over 2020 plan

Starbucks tycoon roasted over 2020 plan

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Schultz Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some Democrats have suggested a Starbucks boycott if Mr Schultz runs

Former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz has angered Democrats by considering an independent campaign for president in 2020.

They are condemning the billionaire’s idea as a “vanity project” that would only help President Donald Trump.

Political strategists say such a third-party candidacy would divide the left, taking votes from the president’s yet-to-be nominated Democratic challenger.

Mr Schultz said he would run as a centrist.

Why the outcry?

Neera Tanden, president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress and confidante of failed 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, tweeted: “Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting.

“If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win.”

Michael Bloomberg, another billionaire who previously considered an independent bid, released a statement criticising Mr Schultz’s decision without specifically naming him.

  • Ex-Starbucks boss ponders presidential bid

He said: “The great likelihood is that an independent run would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President.

“That’s a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can’t afford to run it now.”

Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to Barack Obama, tweeted: “This half-baked idea… will pose an existential threat to a Democrat in what will likely be 2020 race decided by a few votes in a handful of states.”

Jennifer Palmieri, a former campaign adviser to Mrs Clinton, tweeted: “Pfeiffer speaks the truth.”

Larry Sabato, who directs the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, tweeted that Mr Schultz’s slogan “might as well be, ‘Re-elect Trump'”.

The Republican president himself appeared to goad Mr Schultz into launching a bid, saying the businessman “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run”.