Former Starbucks CEO and political independent Howard Schultz has received criticism from the Democratic Party since the day he announced his bid for the presidency as a third-party candidate. Despite Schultz being a self-proclaimed “lifelong Democrat,” Democrats fear that he will take away votes from their 2020 nominee and ultimately guarantee President Donald Trump another four years in office.
But Schultz responded to these comments on Monday. “I hear and respect this overriding concern, and have repeatedly promised that I will not be a spoiler. I am committed to ensuring that I will do nothing to re-elect Donald Trump. I mean it,” he wrote in a letter published on Medium.
He also promised to release a plan for how a centrist can lead the country within the next few weeks.
“The stakes are too high to cross our fingers and hope the Democratic Party nominates a moderate who can win over enough independents and disaffected Republicans, and even fellow Democrats, to defeat Trump next year,” he wrote. “That any opponent can oust Trump, no matter how far to the radical left they are, is a fallacy.”
Schultz went on to criticize Democrats for believing a move to the left will allow them to unseat President Trump.
“Those so concerned about a centrist independent being a spoiler should perhaps ask another question: Will the eventual Democratic nominee be the party’s own version of a spoiler?” Schultz wrote.
After Schultz’s comments this week, it is unclear whether he will be taking away votes from Democrats or from Republicans. Perhaps he will appeal to the centrist voter and take away votes from both parties. After all, that’s exactly what a third-party candidate aims to accomplish.