Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz finally realized he has no hope of becoming president

Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz finally realized he has no hope of becoming president

Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who had considered mounting a White House bid as a "centrist independent," announced on Friday that he will not run for president.

"My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered, but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time," Schultz said in a letter posted Friday to his website.

Schultz announced in January that he was weighing a presidential bid as an independent. Though he described himself at the time as a "lifelong Democrat," he said he is "not in anyway in bed with a party."

"We're living at a most fragile time — not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged every single day in revenge politics," he said at the time.

Schultz's Oval Office ambitions were widely criticized by Democrats, social media users and political observers who expressed concern that a third-party candidacy would help President Donald Trump secure a second term in the White House.

"Howard, I like your coffee, but please don't do this," Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., begged Schultz on Twitter. "You're not going to win. You're just going to make it easier for @realDonaldTrump to win."

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, who is running for president in 2020, argued that a Schultz candidacy would "provide Donald Trump with the best hope of getting re-elected," because he could siphon off votes from the Democratic nominee. Castro said he did not think "that would be in the best interest of our country."

Trump, for his part, alleged on Twitter that Schultz "doesn't have the 'guts' to run for President!"

In response to the backlash and criticisms that followed the news of his presidential ambitions, Schultz penned an op-ed in an effort to persuade voters that a third-party candidacy would "resonate."

In his letter Friday, Schultz acknowledged concerns from Democrats who were worried that a third-party candidate would help Trump win a second term, writing that "not enough people today are willing to consider backing an independent candidate, because they fear doing so might lead to re-electing a uniquely dangerous incumbent president."

He also noted his recovery from a back injury in April that led to three back surgeries and hindered him from "continuing his travels and engaging with people to the degree that is necessary."

In June, the former Starbucks CEO announced that he would be taking a "detour" from exploring a presidential campaign as he recovered from back surgery.

Instead of running for president, Schultz said Friday that he plans to "spend this election cycle and the years ahead supporting bold and creative initiatives to transform our system and address the disparity of opportunity that plagues our nation."

Meanwhile, the money Schultz would have allocated to a campaign "will instead be used to invest in people, organizations and ideas that promote honesty, civility and results in our politics, and that move the country beyond two-party gridlock."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.