Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was greeted by protesters at Seattle’s Moore Theater Thursday night during a book tour stop – less than one week after he was heckled at a New York Barnes & Noble for being an “egotistical, billionaire asshole.”
His crime? Announcing on 60 Minutes that he was thinking of running for president as a “centrist independent” – a move viewed by Democrats as splitting the party, virtually ensuring a second term for President Trump.
Protesters gathered outside Moore Theater holding signs shaped like giant coffee cups with messages such as “Grande Ego” , “Venti Mistake” and “Howard, Don’t Do It!”
— Jennifer Sullivan (@SeattleSullivan) February 1, 2019
— BloGoal (@BloGoalcom) February 1, 2019
King County Executive Dow Constantine said during Thursday’s protest “I am here on behalf of everyone in this county and this country who has a memory, who remembers when Ralph Nader’s ego got in the way of Al Gore becoming president.”
Schultz is such a threat to Democrats that Hillary Clinton adviser, Adam Parkhomenko, tweeted a URL to find locations where people can protest the former Starbucks chairman.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 1, 2019
The site, “protesthoward.com,” which lists its mission as “Save Democracy,” lists 11 locations where Schultz will appear on his book tour.
Schultz has faced intense backlash from the left since announcing that he may run in 2020. On Monday, fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg warned Schultz not to run as an independent, a decision he wrestled with in 2008 when he was considering running for office.
“I faced exactly the same decision now facing others who are considering it,” said Bloomberg. “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.“
“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,” Bloomberg added. “We must remain united, and we must not allow any candidate to divide or fracture us. The stakes couldn’t be higher.“
Schultz, on the other hand, thinks that there are enough moderate voters on both sides of the aisle who are sick of the status quo and will rally behind him.
“I believe that lifelong Democrats and lifelong Republicans are looking for a home,” Schultz told Axios on Sunday night – acknowledging that a vote-splitting campaign “is going to create hate, anger, disenfranchisement from friends, from Democrats.“