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'Billionaires for President!': Howard Schultz Heckled at Democracy Reform Summit

"Howard Schultz categorically denies that running as an independent would make him a spoiler. Insanity."

Howard Schultz speaking with the media at Arizona State University in January.

Howard Schultz speaking with the media at Arizona State University in January. (Photo: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

"Billionaires for president! Billionaires for president!"  

That was the sarcastic rallying cry former Starbucks CEO and current billionaire Howard Schultz heard from protesters during his appearance Sunday at the Unrig Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Schultz's appeared at the self-described "premier right-left summit to solve America's political crisis" for an interview with former Gehl Foods CEO Katherine Gehl. 

As the conversation got underway, Gehl told Schultz that his campaign could benefit from "badass grandmas"—but that advice was quickly overshadowed by the chants from a number of protesters in the crowd. 

Though he hasn't announced whether or not he is definitely running for president, Schultz is certainly behaving like he's about to launch an independent candidacy. 

It's hard to see how such a run could be anything other than attempt to blackmail the Democratic Party into nominating someone that won't raise taxes on the rich—a threat that Schultz made explicit on more than one occasion. 

Activist Adam Eichen dismissed Schultz's claims that he wasn't running as a spoiler. 

"Howard Schultz categorically denies that running as an independent would make him a spoiler," Eichen tweeted. "Insanity."

Schultz also rejects large scale American government projects like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and, on Sunday in an interview with The Tennessean, reparations for slavery. 

"I think there are ways to address [reparations]," Schultz told the paper. "I would have a different view, and mine would be looking forward, not backwards, in how to invest significant support, dollars and programs within the African American community."

In February, Schultz claimed to be colorblind to race. 

If Schultz is really going for it, Splinter's David Boddinger wrote Sunday, he should embrace the chant he heard Sunday. 

"It's the perfect campaign slogan," wrote Boddinger, "as everyone knows that what this country needs in the next election cycle is another billionaire, because the current president is doing so well."

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