Five Ways Howard Schultz Is Embarrassing Himself Right Now

Howard Schultz
Mr. Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman of Starbucks Corporation, speaks after receiving the Distinguished Business Leadership Award, during the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2018. The awards also recognized former U.S. President George W. Bush, U.S. Army Gen. U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe; and Ms. Gloria Estefan, Grammy Award-Winning Singer; for embodying the pillars of the transatlantic relationship for their achievement in the fields of politics, military, business, humanitarian, and artistic leadership. (DoD Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. James K. McCann)

Former coffee mogul Howard Schultz wants to take a stab at the presidency. The announcement triggered a wave of immediate criticism that has not let up since. And as the former CEO of Starbucks, Schultz found himself the butt of many coffee-based insults as well.

Unfortunately for Schultz, every single thing he counts as an asset is actually … not. Here are five ways he’s embarrassing himself right now.

1. Schultz is a Billionaire

Schultz seems to think that being a billionaire is an asset, but if two years have taught us anything, it’s that Americans share a belief in equality. Even if many do not practice the belief identically, it still rubs most Americans the wrong way to have silver-spoon oligarchs shout at them about the way the country should be. Furthermore, America already has an (allegedly) billionaire president, and his approval numbers have been sub-optimal since day one.

2. He’s a Centrist

Schultz’s big idea is that in the age of political polarization, of which Donald Trump is an extreme manifestation, the American people desperately crave the center. They want the reasonable option that is not too extreme on either side.

However, when neo-Nazis killed a woman in Charlottesville, President Trump gave this example of a centrist position:

“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

In the face of hate groups murdering citizens, would that be the kind of response to expect from centrist President Schultz? Schultz is flat-out wrong if he thinks Americans pine for the middle, because the Trump presidency has drawn starker lines than ever before. Either you believe locking children in cages is ok, or you don’t. Either you excuse virulent, neo-Nazi violence, or you don’t. The middle isn’t there.

3. Starbucks Discrimination

Does Howard Schultz think that Americans, particularly non-white Americans, have forgotten about discrimination at his establishments? If he really wants to be president and is not just bored, he will need to prepare an answer, not just for discrimination, but for various types of it.

On ageism:

Against transgender people:

Against black people:

Schultz is going to have to have compelling reasons that Americans should trust that he would or could fight against that kind of discrimination when in control of the country if he couldn’t do it in control of his own company, a smaller and inherently more manageable structure.

4. Climate Change

As the deleterious effects of climate change become more readily apparent, it is gaining steam as a hot-button issue. Contrary to previous years, where mentioning and believing in climate change was enough, voters worried about the planet’s future want specific plans now as well.

This is not good terrain for Schultz, as 90.9 WBUR points out:

“As climate change and environmental pollution take center stage, Starbucks produces 1 percent of the world’s 6 billion disposable cups each year. The company only recently committed to sustainable and ethical sourcing for its coffee, and it does it through a $500 million bond that is backed by Morgan Stanley, one of the main companies caught up in the 2008 financial crisis.”

5. Having Literally No Support

As for who will be supporting Schultz in 2020, we don’t have clear answers. What we do know is that his campaign has resorted to polling without Schutz’s name, angling for higher numbers based on an individual’s conception of what “generic-indy” means to them.

Some poked fun at Schultz for continuing despite this glaring handicap.

In short, America needs someone to challenge the president in 2020, but it is collectively unsure about why a “centrist” billionaire coffee mogul with a questionable history on workers’ rights and discrimination, and actually no support would think they were that person.

Feature image provided via Flickr by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff