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Can Howard Schultz Beat Donald Trump?

Can Howard Schultz Beat Donald Trump?
Former Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, speaks during the presentation of his book "From The Ground Up" on January 28, 2019, in New York City. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:57 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Howard Schultz, 65-year-old founder and former CEO of Starbucks, and lifelong Democrat, announced to Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday that he’s “considering” challenging Donald Trump in 2020 for the American presidency — as a centrist independent:

“I will run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system. 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.”

Can Schultz beat Trump?

He has the business chops, for sure, and no personal-life baggage. Nobody can question Schultz’s success as an innovative entrepreneur, CEO, and manager of people: Now worth over $3 billion, he grew Starbucks from a single store in 1987 to almost 30,000 outlets in 77 countries in 2019.

Schultz is choosing the independent route, which has never led to victory, because he believes the endless war between Republicans and Democrats has divided the country and led to America’s near-$22 trillion in national debt, which he finds unacceptable.

Yet, unlike president Trump, who canceled the USA’s participation, Howard Schultz claims he would have stayed in the no-benefit, impossible-to-afford Paris Climate Accord.

This Paris agreement was estimated to increase electricity costs by 20 percent annually, for a family of four, kill 2.7 million jobs by 2025, and shave $2.5 trillion off America’s GDP by 2035. President Obama had pledged $3 billion and paid $1 billion of our taxes into this economic sinkhole, before Trump moved into the Oval Office — with no way to measure a change in climate.

On healthcare, every American, says Schultz, deserves the “right” to a quality version of it. He doesn’t offer any specifics, including cost, but decries as false the Democrats’ ballyhooed “free healthcare for all” scheme.

When Pelley pressed Schultz for what a “coffee entrepreneur” knows about being commander-in-chief, the former Starbucks CEO modestly cited his long history of recruiting and attracting people smarter and more experienced than he to help devise great solutions to complex problems.

Unconvincing, so far.

To become president of the United States in the current era, one must have charisma and a thick skin, the ability and willingness to fight rivals and enemies, a palpable abundance of can-do self-confidence, and a facility for connecting viscerally with voters — the key to a strong brand.

Despite being a notable, admirable business titan, Schultz has yet to exhibit the aforementioned political attributes. He comes across more as an intellectual than a brash quarterback with a plan. It’s difficult to imagine him inspiring thousands at a rally or sparring with Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, or Jim Acosta at CNN.

Soon after Schultz labeled Trump as unqualified to be president, during the “60 Minutes” interview, Trump tweeted: "Howard Schultz doesn’t have the 'guts' to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the 'smartest person.' Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!"

The Monday after the “60 Minutes” interview, Schultz was at Barnes & Noble in New York City, promoting his new biography, "From the Ground Up.” A heckler erupted: “Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical billionaire a-hole! Go back to Davos [Switzerland] with the other billionaire elite who think they know how to run the world."

This outburst is but a snippet of what Schultz can expect if he actually runs. Will his wealthy, comfy wife and family want to endure such dirty combat in their serene lives? Hard to imagine.

It’s easier to sell coffee to caffeine addicts — have you seen the long drive-thru lines at Starbucks, starting at 4 a.m.? — than to persuade angry, easily offended socialists, a growing faction in America, to embrace tax cuts, individual liberty, and border security. And, none of those caffeine addicts made latte purchases because of Howard Schultz’s name; the few who’ve heard of him probably don’t know that he’s no longer helming the corporation.

Bottom line: Howard Schultz cannot and will not beat Donald Trump in 2020, even if somehow, as an independent, he gets more votes than the Democratic nominee. In fact, it is unlikely that he will run.

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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MarcRudov
Bottom line: Howard Schultz cannot and will not beat Donald trump in 2020, even if somehow, as an independent, he gets more votes than the Democratic nominee. In fact, it is unlikely that he will run.
howard schultz, trump, presidency
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2019-57-31
Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:57 PM
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