Coffee giant Starbucks is battening down the hatches in preparation for the wave of intense backlash the business will receive if CEO Howard Schultz officially announces his 2020 run as an independent to give moderate Democrats a choice in the face of socialist extremists like Bernie Sanders.
"Democratic activist groups have already put Starbucks on notice that if Schultz, a long-time liberal Democrat, does indeed run as an independent in 2020, the company could pay a stiff price with many consumers who believe his candidacy will siphon away voters from the Democratic nominee and help Trump win a second term," reports Fox Business.
"People associated with those groups, including the progressive Center For American Progress, have been mulling a boycott of Starbucks since the former CEO first spoke about the possibility in early 2019," the report continued. "While people inside Starbucks say they’ve seen little activity about a possible boycott more recently, they’re keeping a close eye on various groups’ social media accounts for indications of consumer boycotts if Schultz formally announces as an independent."
Earlier this year, lifelong Democrat Schultz said he would run as an Independent because the party had gone too far left. "I'm not a Democrat. I don't affiliate myself with the Democratic Party, who's so far left, who basically wants the government to take over health care which we cannot afford," he told MSNBC at the time. "The government to give free college to everybody and the government to give everyone a job which basically is 40 trillion dollars on the balance sheet of 21 and a half trillion dollars, we can't afford it."
Schultz called for "sensible solutions" to issues like immigration, climate change, and income inequality. "What can we do, what we need is comprehensive tax reform, what we need is sensible solutions to immigration, all of these things cannot happen under the current environment," he continued. "Now I've also been criticized for being a billionaire, let's talk about that. I'm self-made! I grew up in the projects in Brooklyn, New York. I thought that was the American dream, the aspiration of America. You're gonna criticize me for being successful?"
Should Schultz or Starbucks be actually afraid of a boycott if the billionaire decides to run? Democratic Party officials told FOX Business that there indeed will be hell to pay for the coffee giant in the event Schultz runs as a self-funded independent.
"Every activist I speak to talks about boycotting Starbucks if this guy goes through with his mid-life crisis and runs for something he can’t win," said one anonymous official. "If he goes through with it, there will be a backlash against him and the company."
Howard Penney, a managing director at Hedgeye Risk Management, said that a Schultz 2020 run will create serious problems for Starbucks in terms of U.S. sales and could very well damage the Starbucks brand, especially if his run contributes to a Trump 2020 victory.
"If [Schultz] does run, I’m 100 percent sure this will be an issue for the company’s bottom line,” Penney told FOX Business. "The U.S. business is very mature, and store traffic could slow with a boycott and impact sales and then the stock price. It’s not on the radar screen now, but if he runs and the boycotts galvanize enough people, it could hurt."