By Ty’rique Sims, Special to the AFRO
Recently, Howard Schultz announced he will be stepping down as the Executive Chairman of Starbucks. Schultz’s name has been linked to becoming a non-political candidate for the upcoming 2020 presidential election. For a man who has downplayed his interest in running for president, he has recently padded his resume with political work.
Schultz has traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to learn about immigration concerns, studied the epidemic of opioids and had meetings across the country to discuss police shootings – while revealing plans of releasing a book in 2019 about his philosophy on running a socially responsible company. Schultz has in many ways been preparing far longer than the other non-politician candidates for a potential run. Born in Brooklyn to an impoverished family, he built Starbucks into a $78 billion company with more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries.
Sure, Democrats may prefer someone with political experience, fearing another disastrous administration like the current one but people like Schultz who have the same vision as many Democrats should be taken into consideration – despite the lack of experience.
If there was one thing President Trump did well it was influencing numerous public figures with zero political experience to run for the highest office in the land. Democrats have explored the possibility of finding a non-politician to compete with Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in 2020. There is a opportunity for an outsider to take over the party and challenge Trump, the problem has been finding the right person to do it – particularly in a party whose voters lean towards someone with government experience.
The potential 2020 candidates already include an enormous amount of traditional politicians, from mayors to governors to senators. The political outsiders who have entertained candidacies include some household names in the corporate world – Disney chief Bob Iger, mogul Oprah Winfrey and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg. But as of right now each of them have decided to put their run for office to the side.
Currently, the only remaining brand-name business leaders besides Schultz known to be actively considering a run are the liberal financier Tom Steyer, who is traveling the country to build a grass-roots effort to impeach Trump, and the celebrity entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who has taken few steps to build inroads in the Democratic Party, after saying last year he would rather run as a Republican or an independent.
Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and a star of the investment show “Shark Tank,” said that he has been focused on policy development, including plans to repair the country’s health care system.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University in April found a clear split among voters in Maryland over whether they preferred to elect a governor who has experience in politics or one who is new to politics. Republicans preferred someone new to politics 47 percent to 38 percent. Democrats, said they preferred experience by a margin of 75 percent to 17 percent.
“The issues that we face in terms of the dysfunction and the polarization in the government is really based on a systemic problem of ideology,” Schultz said on a CNBC appearance. “And I think we need a very different view of how the government and how the country should be run.”
Ty’rique Sims is an intern in the Baltimore office of the AFRO American Newspapers. He is a junior at Morgan State University majoring in journalism.