Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz Considering Independent Run For President

Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz is considering an independent run for the Presidency. This would likely be good news for President Trump.

Starbucks founder Howard Schultz is once again talking about running for President, and drawing some attention from the man currently in the White House:

Howard Schultz, the former chief executive of Starbucks and a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” said Sunday he was preparing to run for president as an independent and had already begun the groundwork required to be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Mr. Schultz, in an interview with The New York Times, said he planned to crisscross the country for the next three months as part of a book tour before deciding whether to enter the race to challenge President Trump in 2020. A billionaire, Mr. Schultz would face a difficult road despite his considerable wealth: Few independent candidates have mounted successful challenges for the White House.

“We have a broken political system with both parties basically in business to preserve their own ideology without a recognition and responsibility to represent the interests of the American people,” Mr. Schultz said in the interview.

“Republicans and Democrats alike — who no longer see themselves as part of the far extreme of the far right and the far left — are looking for a home,” he added. “The word ‘independent,’ for me, is simply a designation on the ballot.”

Mr. Schultz was also featured in a segment on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night ahead of the publication of his new book, “From the Ground Up,” in which he criticized President Trump as “not qualified to be the president.”

Mr. Trump, writing on Twitter Monday morning, said Mr. Schultz didn’t have the “guts” to run for president and needled him over their past association. “I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!” the president wrote.

The possibility of Mr. Schultz’s candidacy as an independent has drawn condemnation from Democrats, who said that an independent run would split the vote on Election Day 2020 and hand Mr. Trump a second term.

“I have two words for Howard Schultz on a potential run for president as an independent: Just don’t,” Tina Podlodowski, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party of Washington, said last week as speculation mounted about Mr. Schultz’s plans.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, said on Twitter, “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.”

Mr. Schultz said he was well aware of the criticism, but said it was misplaced.

“I am certainly prepared for the cynics and the naysayers to come out and say this cannot be done,” he said. “I don’t agree with them. I think it’s un-American to say it can’t be done. I’m not doing this to be a spoiler.”

Asked if he would consider changing his mind and run as a Democrat, he said, “I feel if I ran as a Democrat I would have to be disingenuous and say things that I don’t believe because the party has shifted so far to the left.”

“When I hear people espousing free government-paid college, free government-paid health care and a free government job for everyone — on top of a $21 trillion debt — the question is, how are we paying for all this and not bankrupting the country?” Mr. Schultz said.

“It’s as big of a false narrative as the wall,” he added. “Doesn’t someone have to speak the truth about what we can afford while maintaining a deep level of compassion and empathy for the American people?”

Mr. Schultz, who grew up in the public housing projects in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, became a billionaire by building Starbucks from seven stores in Seattle into a global coffee chain with over 350,000 employees. He was known as a progressive corporate leader, offering full health benefits for full- and part-time employees and their domestic partners, and Starbucks became the first privately owned American company to include part-time workers in its stock-option program.

With an estimated net worth of $3.3 billion, Mr. Schultz, 65, is one of several billionaires who had been mentioned as possible presidential contenders.

Schultz isn’t the only billionaire who has openly talked about running for President next year. Tom Steyer, who spent the better part of the last two years fundraising for Democrats and lobbying for President Trump’s impeachment at least briefly considered running for President before deciding against it. Additionally, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is openly considering the idea of running for the Democratic nomination, something that he has apparently been considering far more seriously than he did in the past. The difference between these two men and Schultz, though, is that Schultz is apparently committed to the idea of running as an independent, apparently convinced despite all the available evidence to the contrary that this would somehow be a viable path to the Presidency.

In reality, even assuming Schultz was determined to use his fortune to finance a campaign and that he was able to mount some kind of Perot-style campaign next year, the most likely outcome would be that the best he could do would be to shift the anti-Trump vote away from Democrats in sufficient number to allow the President to once again win an election in the Electoral College even though he would likely lose the electoral college vote to whomever the Democratic nominee. While Schultz has every right to run however he pleases, he ought to consider the impact that his candidacy would have if he truly believes, as he seems to imply, that the current President is a danger to our political system. I’ve endorsed and voted for, third-party candidates in the past, but as I explained in my post the day before the 2016 election, in the end, there will only be two choices for President. Indeed, if one takes the three states that gave the President his Electoral College victory — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — the 132,476 that Green Party candidate Jill Stein received from those three states alone was nearly double the 77,741 votes that separated the President and Hillary Clinton in those three states. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, meanwhile received 425,525 votes in those three states, although it’s likely that many of the people who voted for Johnson were disaffected Republicans and conservatives who would not have been inclined to vote for any Democrat, least of all Clinton. Nonetheless, the vote totals for these two candidates comprised nearly one-fifth of the total votes cast in all three states combined. Had Clinton won those states alone, she would have eked out a narrow (278-260) win in the Electoral College. If the same thing happens again, then Schultz could go down along with Stein, H. Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader, as third-party candidates who did little but cause trouble for one party while having no realistic chance of winning the election.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Economics and Business, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    He’s just a smarter Trump, another narcissist billionaire with a head full of platitudes his toadies have told him are brilliant. We’ve had two years of amateur hour, no more dilettantes.

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  2. Kylopod says:

    This is the single most alarming bit of political news I have heard in some time. I mentioned it the other day. I don’t think many Dems fully grasp the trouble they could be in if he runs.

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  3. Slugger says:

    Strongly agree with Mr. Reynolds. Let’s acknowledge that good governance isn’t just something that just happens but requires a set of skills, talents, experience, and judgement that no one is born with. Experience in other fields can be very helpful, and general intelligence is always a good thing; however, good politics like good surgery, good poker playing, and good writing are advanced by practice. You can do a decent job as mayor of Wasilla, a town of a few thousand with the local Safeway as the biggest institution, with no previous experience, but POTUS is a biger deal.

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  4. Kathy says:

    I don’t like what I’m about to say, but it is important:

    Dennison showed the only realistic way for an outsider to win the EC is to get a nomination from one of the two big parties. End of story.

    Independent runs are largely about vanity, or perhaps being the spoiler. Not about winning the presidency.

  5. Kylopod says:

    @Slugger: I’m going to push back on this slightly, as I don’t think Trump is really proof of anything as to whether “experience” is needed to be a good president. His problem isn’t inexperience, it’s that he’s a fundamentally stupid and incompetent human being whose performance in every job he’s ever held in his life has been a trainwreck. He has survived by a mixture of inherited privilege and a certain basic talent for grifting and media domination. He is literally incapable of doing a job well in any respect other than lying and cheating his way through it. (Even there, he’s hardly exceptional; he is essentially a two-bit con artist with a lot of money, exposure, and delusions of grandeur.) He’ll never learn, because he’s unteachable by his very nature. He’s been on the job two years and has learned nothing. If he’d come to office with a real political job under his belt (say, Governor of NY), I’d fully expect him to be just as much of a disaster as he currently is.

    Of course running a business doesn’t prepare a person for the job of running the country. And I’ve certainly never clamored for such a candidate. At the same time, though, I don’t think we can totally rule out the possibility that a businessperson with no political experience can succeed if they take the job seriously and take the time to learn what they have to do. At the very least, it’s an open question. Trump isn’t a good test case because he’s a lousy businessman and a moron. And if Schultz wants to demonstrate he does have what it takes, he isn’t exactly filling us with confidence in his obliviousness to how the electoral system works, as Jonathan Chait noted.

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  6. DrDaveT says:

    “I feel if I ran as a Democrat I would have to be disingenuous and say things that I don’t believe because the party has shifted so far to the left.”

    Still waiting for one of these bothsiders to cite an actual instance of a Democratic Party position that is “far left”. Healthcare for everyone? Non-regressive personal income tax rates? Treating brown people equally? Equal pay for women? Treating sexual harassment as a crime? Trying to mitigate the ongoing disaster our great-grandchildren will experience due to global climate change? Fixing immigration policy in a way that embraces legal immigration as a net positive?

    Which of those is “too far to the left”?

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    He’s purely a spoiler on an ego trip and his mission is not to stop Trump but to stop Elizabeth Warren and her wealth tax. It’s just another iteration of a self-dealing greed pig out for validation en route to protecting his privilege.

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  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Which of those is “too far to the left”?

    Any policy that threatens his billions of course.

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  9. CSK says:

    He’s making the mistake a lot of Ph.D.s do: thinking that because they know a great deal about the Icelandic sagas or the Tudor dynasty, they know all there is to know about everything.

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  10. Scott F. says:

    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…

    I feel if I ran as a Democrat I would have to be disingenuous and say things that I don’t believe because the party has shifted so far to the left.

    Two quotes from the 60 Minutes interview that tell you everything you need to know about Howard Schultz. He questions Trump’s qualifications to be President without questioning his own. He claims the Democrats have already shifted to the extreme left based on policy positions that haven’t come even close to being translated into laws.

    As Michael says, Schultz is just another billionaire spouting his “truthiness.” If he’s really smarter than Trump (low bar, I know), he might be more dangerous.

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  11. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Any policy that threatens his billions of course.

    You’re giving him a lot of credit there — most billionaires haven’t yet grasped that the Democrats are better for their long-term wealth than the GOP is, these days. Schulz is a lifelong Democrat. That said, equating the positions of individual Democrats with actual legislation enacted (or Supreme Court justices appointed) by the other party is typically a Fox News Bubble kind of category error. Which, again, is why I’d love to hear him name a specific Democratic platform plank that he found to be too far to the left.

  12. Franklin says:

    Please note that he is not actually the ‘founder’ of Starbucks. He did transform it into what it is known for.

    Having said that, I dislike coffee and therefore I’m not particularly impressed by Mr. Schultz’s success in this one category.

  13. Alex H says:

    President Obama did a decent job as Chief Executive being only a 1 term Senator. Lincoln also comes to mind. At the end of the day it’s all about skills and temperament for any job, the Presidency included. There are multiple ways to learns the skills but the right temperament is innate. President Trump has neither the skills nor the temperament and zero inclination to learn or change.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    No, just no.

    ps your coffee tastes like boiled donkey piss

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  15. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Here’s how I see the experience needed to be president, in no particular order:

    1) Political experience.
    2) Legislative experience.
    3) Domestic policy experience.
    4) Foreign policy experience.
    5) Executive experience.

    Number 2 doesn’t mean having served in a legislative body, though that helps a lot, but understanding how the legislative process works. Not just nominally, but the inside process of legislative politics within and between the parties.

    Running a business does provide executive experience. But the objectives in business are not the same objectives as in politics.

    IMO, foreign policy experience is more relevant now than it was during the Cold War. Not just in avoiding costly missteps like Bush the younger did in Iraq or Obama did in Libya, but because the economies of many countries are increasingly intertwined, and this includes state-controlled or state-dominated industries or whole economies (see China).

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    A few thoughts:

    Trump, for one, knows exactly how this would play out, which explains his attempts to goad him into running.

    Look, I get hating on Starbucks is a thing (after all, nothing shows how sophisticated you are like despising something popular) but the reality is that it is a fairly progressive employer which has gone well beyond the norm for a counter based fast food operation (and, bottom line, that’s what Starbucks is). And that is a reflection of his values.

    There is an easy way to tell if a third party attempt reflects a real desire to change the status quo or as an exercise in ego gratification: does it start off at the presidential level and, if so, is the person bankrolling it the Presidential candidate? If the answer to those questions are “yes” than it is eqo stroking.

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    This guy must really have liked his tax cut, if he’s going to go through all this trouble just to make sure Dennison get’s re-elected.

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  18. Mister Bluster says:

    I spent a fair amount of time working the telephone exchanges in the hills and dales of southwest Missouri 25 years ago. Rolla, Salem, Lebanon and the City of Ozark to name a few. After running US Route 60 from Springfield to Sikeston before it was a 4 lane road all the way and choking down whatever mud the truck stops had to offer back then I can appreciate how you know what boiled donkey piss tastes like.

  19. al Ameda says:

    Howard Schultz could save everyone the trouble if he’d just write a check to the Trump Re-Election Campaign, and sit this one out.

  20. al Ameda says:

    Howard Schultz could save everyone the trouble if he’d just write a check to the Trump Re-Election Campaign, and sit this one out.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: There’s always an element of a Rorschach test in these discussions. If you believe experience is important, you’ll attribute a president’s performance to their relative experience or lack of it. But to me, if you look at past presidents, there doesn’t appear to be any clear correlation between their level of experience and how well they did as president. People often talk about “executive experience” and suggest that the governorship is the closest analogue to the presidency. But W. and Carter were governors, whereas Lincoln and Truman weren’t.

    And how do Eisenhower and Wilson fit into the discussion? Ike never held elected office, but it’s become part of conventional thinking that being a general is sufficient preparation for the presidency (and it’s been part of what was behind the push for candidates like Colin Powell and Wesley Clark). The case of Wilson is even more anomalous, as he had been governor of NJ for two years, but his main background was as an academic scholar of political science and president of Princeton. He knew the political world in an out–but at a theoretical, not real-world, level.

    Lincoln and Obama are considered to have been relatively inexperienced compared with other candidates, yet they had spent decades in the political world at some level.

    Bill Clinton came to office with more than a decades-worth executive experience, yet his first two years in the White House were a mess, compared to the smooth record of achievements in Obama’s first two years–and yet both still faced an electoral bloodbath in their first midterm. What is there to conclude from that? Clinton enjoyed his best years after the GOP took over Congress, whereas with Obama the opposite was true. But really, is that a reflection of their relative experience or simply the circumstances? During the Clinton years that was when the GOP began its path of being radically obstructionist and spending much of their time waging war against the Democratic president–yet it wasn’t in any way to the same degree as it would become under Obama. It wasn’t Obama’s lack of executive experience that made John Boehner refuse to bring immigration reform up for a vote after it passed by a wide margin in the Senate. It takes two to tango, and Obama’s becoming a legislative lame duck after 2010 is almost entirely on the GOP’s head. Nobody, not even the ghost of FDR or LBJ, could have broken through in such a situation.

    The problem as I see it is that there’s nothing like the office of the presidency, and so there’s nothing that prepares a candidate for it except by being president. That’s why even someone with tremendous accomplishments in their past can make a terrible president (think Hoover) and why someone with a thin, modest record might turn out fine.

    Much of what defines a president today is the party platform they run on (I’d say that’s at least 75% of what determines results) and how much power they have in Congress for getting that agenda through; beyond that, a lot comes down to character and judgment.

  22. Argon says:

    Peet’s coffee is better.

  23. Teve says:

    Schultz thinks a living wage is Too Far Left, while his employees’ labor enriches him several thousand dollars per hour.

    And if you followed his ham-handed attempt a year or two ago to get his employees to strike up meaningful discussions with customers about racism during their 2-minute daily interaction, you’ll get the sense that in many ways he’s just an idiot.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: Saw an article years ago, may have been Halberstam, but I haven’t found it again. Following one of those conventions where historians vote on a best presidents list, the author looked at what the good presidents had in common. He settled on two things as critical. The first was political experience, not executive, political. They had learned in local politics how to get along, get by, let everyone have a piece of the pie, compromise, and get things done. The second was a good knowledge of history, not necessarily at a professional level, but at least a serious amateur level. Seemed to give them some perspective.

    One could argue Eisenhower didn’t have political experience, but the upper reaches of the military are very political. And his job hadn’t been to fight battles, but to keep Montgomery, Bradley, Patton, Roosevelt, and Churchill pulling together.

  25. Teve says:

    @CSK: I don’t know if this is a common delusion among people with phds, but it’s definitely a thing, typically called Engineer’s Disease.

    See Also: the Salem Hypothesis.

  26. Teve says:

    President Obama did a decent job as Chief Executive being only a 1 term Senator. Lincoln also comes to mind. At the end of the day it’s all about skills and temperament for any job, the Presidency included. There are multiple ways to learns the skills but the right temperament is innate. President Trump has neither the skills nor the temperament and zero inclination to learn or change.

    I’m co-signing every bit of this.

  27. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    The second was a good knowledge of history, not necessarily at a professional level, but at least a serious amateur level.

    I’m halfway there!

    Of course, this was determined by historians.

    And there are like literally a great many history podcasters who could beat me.

    Oh, well. it was a nice half minute 🙂

  28. just nutha says:

    @DrDaveT:

    When I hear people espousing free government-paid college, free government-paid health care and a free government job for everyone — on top of a $21 trillion debt — the question is, how are we paying for all this and not bankrupting the country?” Mr. Schultz said.

    See? He told us what the problems with the Democratic left are; the problem is that these are simply the boilerplate bs that passes for critical thinking about the issues on the right.

    And if he really believes that he can really win as an independent, his judgement isn’t any better than that burnt coffee he sells.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    beyond that, a lot comes down to character and judgment.

    That might be the most important, especially judgment.

    I’d add a willingness to seriously entertain other people’s ideas, as well as to question their own ideas and opinions.

    I came across a meme the other day which said “People don’t want to hear your opinion. They want to hear their opinion coming out of your mouth.”

    I’m not adding these only because it’s obvious Dennison fails in this respect, but because no one’s ideas or pinions are free of biases. hearing other people’s ideas and opinions let’s you, sometimes, see your own biases for what they are.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Argon: I’m with Mister Bluster here. I never had a cup of decent coffee in the US until I moved to New Orleans in 1991. When I moved from there to Atlanta I went searching for something drinkable only to find coffee shops were banned in the city, a remnant of the Beatnik/Hippie era. It was Starbucks that exerted influence to finally get the ban overturned. Interestingly, the first coffee shop that opened near where I lived was straight out of the beatnik era, with angsty college students reciting terrible poetry about their tormented relationships with their parents and carafes of Bunn coffee slowly turning to bitter, rancid mud on the burners. But soon we could find Starbucks and a dozen independent brewers popping up. Starbucks was far, far from the first serious coffee shop in the country but nevertheless it introduced, or caused to be introduced, decent coffee to the 90% of the country that never experienced it.

    And what does it mean to hate Starbucks anyway? They aren’t my favorite coffee shop either, but they have a couple of different blends that they cycle through. You hate every one of them?

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  31. R. Dave says:

    @DrDaveT: Still waiting for one of these bothsiders to cite an actual instance of a Democratic Party position that is “far left”. Healthcare for everyone? Non-regressive personal income tax rates? Treating brown people equally? Equal pay for women? Treating sexual harassment as a crime? Trying to mitigate the ongoing disaster our great-grandchildren will experience due to global climate change? Fixing immigration policy in a way that embraces legal immigration as a net positive?

    Those aren’t really honest statements of the Democratic position on the issues, though. The current Dem position on healthcare isn’t just “healthcare for everyone”, it’s some version of single-payer, federally managed healthcare for everyone. They don’t just want non-regressive personal income taxes , they want to make the already progressive income tax significantly more progressive than it currently is, and they advocate that position with rhetoric that is aggressively classist and to some extent anti-capitalist. Dems don’t simply want to “treat brown people equally”, they want to preserve and expand affirmative action programs, disparate impact analysis, diversity initiatives, etc. and frequently use privilege/intersectionality-based rhetoric that borders on (or even crosses into) it’s own version of racism/sexism. “Equal pay for women” is a slogan more than a policy position, and it’s one that’s stubbornly resistant to the frequent factual rebuttals. Virtually no one disagrees that “sexual harassment” should be a crime, but the issue is that the Dem base’s threshold for what should constitute criminal harassment is ever-shifting and usually wildly disconnected from what most other people think should qualify. Moreover, the Democratic policy proposals to address the issue often give short shrift to protecting civil liberties and the rights of the accused. “Mitigating global climate change” is all well and good, but the current Dem demands for a “Green New Deal” are amorphous, insanely unrealistic, and poorly targeted. And finally, “embracing immigration as a net positive” translates, in Democratic policy rhetoric as abolishing ICE, opposing E-Verify, supporting ever expanding immigration totals, opposing any merit-based immigration criteria, subverting Federal subject matter authority via sanctuary city/state actions, providing a path to citizenship for virtually all currently undocumented and temporary status immigrants, and in some cases, walking right up to the line of advocating open borders.

    And for the record, I say all of that as one of the “centrist Dems” that Schultz is apparently trying to appeal to but who will nevertheless vote for whatever Lefty wingnut the Dems nominate because none of it matters more than booting Trump to the curb.

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  32. Tyrell says:

    This is the news a lot of people have been looking for. Schultz knows how to get things done. He seems to have common sense ideas that are in tune with the average people. People are tired of the political games, contortions, soapboxing, and Vince McMahon type theatrics that both parties are engaging in.
    “tweedle dee and tweedle dum”

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  33. pissed-off Liberal Capitalist says:

    Ego.

    Billionaires have all the answers.

    Just ask them. Last week, they were all in Davos, rubbing shoulders and clucking.

    Clearly, wealth = intelligence. Right?

    After all, look how well we are doing with our current billionaire leader.

    Plutocracy Uber Alles!!!

    (… eat the rich.)

  34. Liberal Capitalist says:

    ( Please release me from moderation)

  35. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    You know what would be great, if you could bring your own coffee grounds and have your coffee made from them.

  36. just nutha says:

    @Franklin: The coffee business that is Starbucks started as a coffee jobber–basically a buyer of last resort, short lots, remnants of shipments, etc. The idea of selling these bits and pieces as individual items on the consumer market and encouraging people to “go back to the 50’s,” when lots of people bought bags of beans that they ground at the store before taking them home (saving on vacuum packing for the seller) was certainly a good marketing idea the time for which had returned. His program of dark roasting everything so that the flavor was “consistent” (i.e. burnt) was not as good but a wise compromise for someone who didn’t have an interest in learning how to actually roast coffee.

    I didn’t mention this in my earlier comment, but the “free…education, free healthcare, and free government jobs” part seems to harken back to Mitt’s “47%” speech at the country club. That Schultz has shifted the message from “lost cause people” back to “stuff we can’t afford” shows that he can learn and adapt, but the overall message doesn’t bode well for the country.

    On the other hand, maybe he doesn’t care about the country and only wants the fame of the job. Who can tell?

    ETA: “Peet’s coffee is better.” No, it isn’t.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @R. Dave: Rather than take exception with those portions I disagree with, I’ll just say I appreciate the cogent stating of your opinions.

  38. Neil Hudelson says:

    Sorry for the OT post but…

    The Midwest is bracing for the coldest spell in decades. In some areas, real feel will be between -30 and -60 degrees. If you live in the Midwest, or even if you don’t but you have a few bucks lying around, please consider making an emergency donation to a homeless shelter.

    Here in Indianapolis we are emptying stores of thermal underwear, sleeping bags, etc., to try to prevent deaths. Thermal underwear and children’s items are needed the most here, but not sure if that’s true for other shelters.

    Find a shelter to support here (you’ll have to click through a bit, but please don’t let that dissuade you.): https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

    Thanks, everyone.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha:

    His program of dark roasting everything so that the flavor was “consistent” (i.e. burnt)

    That’s what my wife says about Starbucks and there is some truth in there. Another truth is that they make coffee much stronger than people who only drink diner coffee are used to. That said, on at least a couple of occasions someone I know has complained about Starbucks burnt taste, and then proceeded to ignore the light and medium roasted options available and go straight to the dark roast. I’m not even sure what to say to that….

  40. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Another truth is that they make coffee much stronger than people who only drink diner coffee are used to.

    Really? I need to ask for an extra shot in my latte just so it tastes like coffee with milk rather than milk with coffee.

    That said, on at least a couple of occasions someone I know has complained about Starbucks burnt taste, and then proceeded to ignore the light and medium roasted options available and go straight to the dark roast.

    One time a coworker brought a half kilo bag of Chiapas coffee, He was excited to try it. Alas, he got to the office late and had to wait til lunch time. Then he had to leave for a meeting and had to wait til the next day.

    When he finally got to try it next morning, he added, I kid you not, three teaspoons of sugar and two of powdered “cream.”

    I don’t get it either.

  41. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: When I go out for coffee, I normally have a cafe mocha (and if this identifies me as someone who doesn’t drink “real” coffee, so be it). The trick in cafe mocha is to balance a good flavored cafe latte with the cacao flavor that is added. At both Starbucks and Peet’s, the problem is that not only is the latte not good, the badness of the latte overwhelms the cocoa shot so that the end product is simply bad tasting.

  42. Pylon says:

    LGM has, with very little effort, found discrepancies (albeit trivial) in his bio: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/01/taking-howard-schultz-seriously. Now I say trivial, but this is the kind of stuff that often derails candidates.

    I doubt he will actually run, and if he does he takes more of the Dem votes than, say cenrist Repubs (because there aren’t very many of those anyway). But I don’t think his impact would be as significant as, say Nader or even Stein (using ant-Clintonites as a base). Centrist Dems generally know how presidential elections work. It’s the rogues running to the left that attract the kind of demographics that upset the applecart for Dems.

    I doubt Warren wins the nomination anyway, and it’s her (or maybe Bernie) who Schultz fears.

  43. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    The Salem Hypothesis isn’t quite the same thing as I was speaking of, though it’s a fascinating phenomenon. I was speaking more of the tendency of scholars of American Transcendentalism to regard themselves as 21st century foreign policy mavens.

  44. Tyrell says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Those temperatures certainly bring back memories of the famous “Ice Bowl” NFL championship game of 1967: Green Bay Packers played the Dallas Cowboys in -15 degree temperatures. Those were two of the greatest teams in NFL history, coached by two of the greatest coaches: Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. Two stories I heard later stand out:: tv camera cables froze and cracked. Years later someone asked Cowboy quarterback Don Meredith what was his greatest memory of football. He said it was after the 1967 game ended, when he finally went into the warm locker room and thawed out!
    I doubt seriously that they would play in those conditions today.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Served in all the finest roadhouses, especially the Roadkill Cafe: From Your Grill to Ours

  46. Teve says:

    @CSK: I missed what you were saying then, because I don’t know the first thing about transcendentalism. My experience is more with people like Steven den Beste, and many, many people on creationism and global warming boards who think that their BS in EE or ME or 10 years writing code at Dell* makes them General Purpose Brilliant Analysts at everything.

    (* True story–there used to be an “Intelligent Design Theorist” who claimed that his 10 years of writing bios code at Dell proved he understood complex systems better than any dumb ivory tower biologist, so he could clearly see that evolution was obviously false.)

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    You hate every one of them?

    The one time I actually got coffee from a starbucks was at the Albuquerque Airport, and the price made it curdle into boiled donkey piss in my mouth. Really, the only way I’m paying that much money for a drink is if it’s a nice peaty single malt.

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  48. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m not a coffee drinker, but one thing I remember about living in Boston was how much coffee drinkers loved the coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. A friend who worked there for a while told me that DD did everything to prevent the burnt taste, including emptying pots that had been on the burner for more than an hour, even if they still contained coffee.

    For my part, I couldn’t stand even entering a DD, since not only do I not drink coffee, but also the sickly-sweet smell of their too heavy, too sweet donuts nauseated me. On that end, Starbucks has much better food.

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If you just get a small coffee, it doesn’t cost that much.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..from your grill to ours

    The first venison I ever ate was roadkill. I had transferred from junior college to Sleepytown U in the summer of 1968. A guy who I had gone to High School with came to visit and check out the campus. He had just returned from a tour in Viet Nam.
    He said that he had seen a dead deer on the side of the highway on his way into town and that he was going to go back and if it was still there he would get it and grill it for dinner. He said he wanted to use the survival skills he learned in the jungle.
    He did just that and I will say it was good eating.
    Congo Bill as we called him in High School was one of only two guys I have known over the years that when I first knew them was a total jerk and a complete asshole that changed into a decent, caring human being later in life. I can’t explain it. Other than knowing that he served as a medic during the war and it must have altered his perspective.
    Last I saw of him he was working for the county ambulance service.
    That was almost 50 years ago.
    Don’t know where he is today.

  51. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I bought one of his ghostwritten books several years ago in an airport bookstore (probably the 2011 one) and read it on the plane. I honestly was not very impressed.

  52. Todd says:

    Based on his proposed platform, I’m not so sure that Schultz running necessarily hurts Democrats as much as some of this hand-wringing would seem to suggest. Medicare for all, tuition free college and some sort of jobs guarantee are all relatively popular ideas, even beyond purely progressive circles. For the most part, voters who place the debt high on their list of important problems were already unlikely to vote for any Democratic candidate … especially in a year where the eventual nominee will almost certainly have a more openly progressive agenda than any past candidates.

    I think he mainly gets voters who would either stay home, or would plug their nose and pull the lever for Trump, regardless of whether they actually like him. I’d even go so far as to theorize that had a candidate like Schultz been in the 2016 race, Clinton might have won … since a fair percentage of people who pulled the lever for Trump where actually more “anti-Hillary” than “pro-Trump”.

    In at least one way, having a candidate like Schultz in the race could help the Democratic nominee to focus on what is really important in modern elections: base turnout. Run on (and affirmatively defend) a platform that excites Democratic core voters, as opposed a muddied “moderate” message that results from fetishizing over the hopes of attracting “disaffected Republicans”.

  53. Teve says:

    @Monala:

    A friend who worked there for a while told me that DD did everything to prevent the burnt taste, including emptying pots that had been on the burner for more than an hour, even if they still contained coffee.

    take it from a guy who’s worked at five different coffee shops, this is standard operating procedure at any quality coffee establishment.

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @R. Dave:

    Those aren’t really honest statements of the Democratic position on the issues, though.

    I would be delighted to have a detailed and courteous dispute with you about that. For example:

    The current Dem position on healthcare isn’t just “healthcare for everyone”, it’s some version of single-payer, federally managed healthcare for everyone.

    No, it isn’t. The current Dem position is “let Obamacare work”. The only position Dems have ever actually proposed and passed is Obamacare. You’re doing Fox News’s work for them when you guess about what Nancy Pelosi really wants in her secret heart of hearts and treat it as if it were official Party policy.

    They don’t just want non-regressive personal income taxes , they want to make the already progressive income tax significantly more progressive than it currently is

    Two points about that:
    1. Current taxes are de facto regressive, not progressive. Rich people pay a lower effective rate than middle-class people. (Warren Buffett famously pays a lower tax rate than his secretary does.) This is a result of the preferential rates applied to capital gains, the manifold loopholes available for the financially sophisticated, and the understaffing and underfunding of IRS enforcement against illegal tax shelters. It doesn’t matter what the schedule of marginal rates says; in practice our personal income taxes have been regressive for a while.
    2. A dollar isn’t equally valuable to everyone. Wealth has diminishing marginal utility as you get richer; it takes more additional dollars to provide a constant increment of utility. An income tax system can be significantly progressive in raw dollars and still be regressive in utility.

    We are nowhere close to an “equal marginal pain” income tax; the rich whine about taxes, but their consumption habits are much less significantly affected by the taxes they pay than are middle-class people. (Poor people mostly don’t pay any taxes; we can have a separate discussion about whether that’s a good thing or not.)

    So yes, Democrats would prefer a more progressive (which is to say, an actually progressive) tax, to help offset the automatic tendency of wealth to concentrate. Is that a “far left” position, or merely a classically Liberal position?

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  55. PJ says:

    Mike Bloomberg Statement on Independent Runs
    JAN. 28, 2019

    Last fall I spent over $100 million of my own money to elect Democrats to the House because I believed it was absolutely imperative to ensure a congressional counterweight to President Trump.

    Thankfully, we were successful. But that was just the first step — the next and most important step is to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

    Now I have never been a partisan guy — and it’s no secret that I looked at an independent bid in the past. In fact I faced exactly the same decision now facing others who are considering it.

    The data was very clear and very consistent. Given the strong pull of partisanship and the realities of the electoral college system, there is no way an independent can win. That is truer today than ever before.

    In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent 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.

    We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

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  56. Teve says:

    Steve Peoples
    @sppeoples

    Seconds into Howard Schultz’s remarks here at Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, a heckler yells: “Don’t help elect Trump. You egotistical billionaire asshole.”
    7:07 PM · Jan 28, 2019 · TweetDeck

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: If I just got a small coffee I might as well have done with out. Seriously, If you like that stuff? Fine. I don’t have the palate for it. I also don’t have the palate for Spanish ham. It tastes fine, but does it taste $250/lb fine? That’s a waste of money on me.

  58. Teve says:

    R. Dave completely missed the boat, Dr Dave t is almost a hundred percent correct. I would add, though, that poor people do pay taxes, they pay sales taxes, payroll taxes that they might never see again, and if they own some tiny piece of land or a small house, property taxes on that.

    And yeah, the fact that billionaire hedge fund managers pay 15% max is basically a social crime.

  59. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    take it from a guy who’s worked at five different coffee shops, this is standard operating procedure at any quality coffee establishment.

    And non-quality ones as well. At least the local convenience stores have signs advertising the fact their coffee is brewed fresh every hour.

    Regardless of how good your filter is, some coffee solids end up in the brew (even if they’re too small to see. On a conventional coffee maker with a heated pad to keep the brew hot, it will continue to brew. This turns even the finest coffee into battery acid after a while.

  60. Mister Bluster says:

    This turns even the finest coffee into battery acid after a while.

    In my nine recent road trips from the midwest to Southern California and back and other journeys to points north, east and south since I retired in 2009 I find McDonalds fits the bill.
    It usually goes like this. Start in the AM with whatever free joe the Super 8 has to offer to get me as far as I can go before I take a “comfort break” at Mickey D’s at an exit off the Interstate. The next cup of coffee is right there.
    “One Senior coffee please.”
    Sometimes they want to make it fresh which I appreciate but since I don’t always want to wait I’ll ask them if there’s any in the bottom of the pot.
    “Yes but it’s old.”
    “Did you make it today?” I always ask.
    “yes”
    “good enough for me. I just want it to be hot.”
    I plunk down whatever change it costs. Usually 25 cents to $1. Worth every penny.
    Sometimes they just give it to me and I’m on my way to the next pit stop down the road.

  61. DrDaveT says:

    @just nutha:

    ETA: “Peet’s coffee is better.” No, it isn’t.

    The latte I had at the original Peete’s in Berkeley was way better than any latte I ever had at a Starbucks. Of course, I’ve never visited the original Starbucks, and the one at Peete’s was about the fifth-best latte I had in Berkeley…

    I don’t mind Starbucks, but I will admit that I was horrified to see a thriving Starbucks in Vienna, with so many amazing and vastly superior cafés within walking distance of it.

  62. DrDaveT says:

    @R. Dave: I won’t continue point by point unless you’d enjoy the debate, but I did want to point out that you seem to be consistently confusing “things some people who vote for Democrats say” with “official policy positions of the Democratic Party”. For example, with regard to climate change mitigation, Thomas Friedman is not the Democratic Party, and the Green Party is not the Democratic Party, and the United Nations Environment Programme is not the Democratic Party either. Actual leftists and progressives get mad at the Democratic Party precisely because it does NOT adopt or endorse any of the policy positions that you are complaining are too far left.

  63. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    I would add, though, that poor people do pay taxes, they pay sales taxes, payroll taxes that they might never see again, and if they own some tiny piece of land or a small house, property taxes on that.

    I take your point, but my definition of ‘poor’ does not include anyone who owns property outright. The median wealth in the US is negative; if you’re in the top half, you’re not poor. (And no, I’m not particularly sympathetic to the dream of home ownership that causes people to jump into deep debt as soon as they are able to.)

  64. Teve says:

    living in Florida over the last decade, in possibly the state hit hardest by the housing crash, I am familiar with many, many people who do technically own a small lot and a house, but are tens of thousands of dollars underwater on it, and barely able to make the payments working a full time job during the week, and a part-time job Friday night, Saturday and Sunday in usually retail. Around here they call it being House Poor. And being $40,000 upside-down on their two bedroom house, they have zero chance of moving anywhere for a better job.

  65. Teve says:

    Saddest case I know is a cousin. the guy’s a few years younger than me, who had a decent job, but just wasn’t very smart with finances, and after getting harassed for years and years by his idiot Boomer parents mad at him for “just throwing your money away on rent”, finally relented and bought a house in the summer of 2007 for $150,000. Three years later, when he got hurt on the job and his wife left him, he had to sell his house—for $95k and at the age of 38 move back in with his parents.

  66. Teve says:

    I see that guy every few weeks, and the fact that he hasn’t drank himself to death is nothing short of a miracle. I probly would have.

  67. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Really, the only way I’m paying that much money for a drink is if it’s a nice peaty single malt.”

    If you’re paying five bucks for a nice peaty single malt I’d question both your ability to discern quality and your bartender’s honesty.

    Unless you’ve been going to bars with Tyrell. Then it would all make sense.

  68. Tyrell says:

    @PJ: Mr. Schultz held a “town hall meeting” the other day. He had some good comments. There were some psychotic nutcases who tried to interrupt by screaming and using inappropriate language. He did not give them the time of day. This campaign seems to have some 1972 feeling to it. The Democrats have too many left fielders.

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  69. R. Dave says:

    @DrDaveT: I won’t continue point by point unless you’d enjoy the debate….

    Happy to debate, but at work so won’t have a chance to respond properly until this evening. One initia retort on the tax point for now though:

    Not sure on the impact of the Trump tax bill, but setting that aside for now, effective feederal tax rates were progressive all the way to the top even when factoring in all taxes (i.e., income tax, payroll taxes, cap gains, estate, corporate, excises, etc.). The only caveat is that when you start slicing up the top 1%, the progressiveness may or may not disappear at the tippy top depending on what you assume about the incidence of corporate taxes (i.e., what proportion gets absorbed by shareholders, customers, employees, etc.). Using CBO assumptions, though, I believe things remained prigressive all the way to the top. There are always individuals you can point to as exceptions, but you don’t design a tax system based on extreme outliers.

  70. reid says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hm, when was this? The Albuquerque airport (my local one) only has a local coffee joint, and sadly, its espresso is worse than Starbucks. I try to buy/try local, including coffee, and the quality can vary quite a bit.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @wr: Back in 1985 in Seattle, a shot of Glenlivet was $5. Not very peaty, but if you’re getting a shot of single malt (peaty or otherwise) for $5 these days, I’m interested in knowing where you drink.

  72. Teve says:

    Elizabeth Warren responds to Howard Schultz: “We have a billionaire who says he wants to jump into the race and the first issue he’s raised is ‘no new taxes on billionaires’. Let’s see where that goes.”

  73. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    if you’re getting a shot of single malt (peaty or otherwise) for $5 these days, I’m interested in knowing where you drink

    There are roughly 17 shots in a 750 ml bottle, so $5/shot would get you to $85. I can get (say) Laphroiag Quarter Cask for that, even in my mediaeval ABC state. That counts as both peaty and above my personal threshold for ‘drinkable’. The trick is to drink at home…

  74. DrDaveT says:

    @R. Dave:

    Not sure on the impact of the Trump tax bill, but setting that aside for now, effective feederal tax rates were progressive all the way to the top even when factoring in all taxes (i.e., income tax, payroll taxes, cap gains, estate, corporate, excises, etc.).

    I’m only talking about personal income taxes here; corporate is an unrelated topic. Estate taxes are paid by the estate; the marginal disutility to dead people is not my concern here.

    For tax year 2011 (the most recent for which I found convenient statistics), the effective rates at the top end of the income scale were:
    $1,000,000 under $1,500,000 29.4%
    $1,500,000 under $2,000,000 29.7%
    $2,000,000 under $5,000,000 29.4%
    $5,000,000 under $10,000,000 28.3%
    $10,000,000 or more 24.7%

    Tax returns over $1M in “modified taxable income” accounted for 0.2% of all returns, but generated 20% of all personal income tax revenues (about $225B). I am reasonably certain that the top bracket will still pay a lower effective rate than the ones immediately below it under the Trump plan, though the lower brackets might be less regressive or slightly progressive (in raw dollars) due to the lower marginal rates for pretty much every bracket, but capital gains staying at 15%.

  75. wr says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “Back in 1985 in Seattle, a shot of Glenlivet was $5. Not very peaty, but if you’re getting a shot of single malt (peaty or otherwise) for $5 these days, I’m interested in knowing where you drink.”

    I’m in Manhattan. I can’t find a beer for less than ten bucks…