Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is mulling launching a 2020 independent presidential bid, went after members of both parties Saturday during a talk at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.
“We’re living in a society right now where you can send a tweet about anything … and all of a sudden you’re an iconic celebrity. … But that’s not going to solve the issues that we’re facing,” he told NBC’s Dylan Byers at the Austin conference.
During the conversation, Schultz sought to leverage his decades of experience in business and years running a global corporation to make the case that he could successfully lead the country if elected.
Schultz called the Democratic platform “extreme.” He also said people such as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate ‘monopoly power’ | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger Trump faces growing pressure over Boeing safety concerns Google takes heat over location tracking in privacy debate MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGreenpeace distances itself from criticism of Ocasio-Cortez Ocasio-Cortez says democracy may have a ‘Facebook problem’ Setting the record straight on GND and Modern Money Theory MORE (D-N.Y.) are “well-intentioned” but questioned whether proposals they have backed are realistic.
“They love the country. They have their core beliefs. But you have to ask yourself … is it realistic to think that these things can be achieved?” he said.
“You can’t try and solve one extreme with the other,” he added. “And now we have a new extreme, and it’s the Democratic platform.”
He also slammed the two-party system, calling it “broken.”
Schultz announced in January that he was “seriously considering” running for president in 2020 as a “centrist independent.” In doing so, he would opt not to face a crowded field of progressives and Democrats such as Warren, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate set to rebuke Trump on support for Saudi Arabia Sanders announces first staff hires in Iowa, New Hampshire Will Washington finally do something about high drug prices? MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWill Washington finally do something about high drug prices? Biden blasts Trump budget: He’s asking middle class to pay for billionaires’ ‘excessive tax breaks’ Hickenlooper: Trump needs to have a ‘real discussion’ about capitalism MORE (D-Calif.) and others who are vying for Democratic nomination.
Democrats fear that if Schultz does decide to run, he’ll garner votes among those opposing President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew York Gov. Cuomo calls for FAA to ground Boeing 737 Max Pentagon signs directive to implement transgender military ban DeVos moves to allow religious groups to provide federally-funded services to private schools MORE‘s reelection, helping hand the president a second term.
The former executive maintained Saturday that if he were to enter the 2020 race, it could split the vote across parties, saying he will “not proceed” if “the math doesn’t work.”
“If the math doesn’t work, and there’s any indication that my presence in the race would re-elect Donald Trump, then I would not proceed.”
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 9, 2019
SXSW is an annual festival and conference of music, media, technology and other topics that takes place in Austin.