Howard Schultz, The Kingfish, and Ross Perot

I must borrow a phrase from former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.  Humphrey was Vice President under Lyndon Johnson and was a candidate for President in 1968.  Humphrey was often referred to as ” the happy warrior. ” Humphrey would often precede his enthusiasms with : ” I was pleased as punch …”

I was pleased as punch when Howard Schultz announced that he would seek the Office of President in 2020 as an independent candidate.  Schultz was born July 19, 1953, in New York City and earned a BA Degree from Northern Michigan University.

After college, Schultz obtained employment with Xerox Corporation and later in 1982, at age 29, obtained employment at Starbucks.  Schultz, after success at Starbucks, decided to leave and start his own coffee shop.  In 1987, Schultz learned that Starbucks was seeking a buyer and bought Starbucks’ six stores along with other investors.  Today Starbucks has more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries.  It has returned more than 18,000% to investors since Schultz took the company public in 1992.  His net worth today is estimated to be $3.3 Billion.

As editor of, I greatly admire Howard Schultz because of the decent way he has treated his employees.  Many U.S. corporations keep employee work hours below a level where the law requires the corporation to provide health care.  Schultz has provided health care to all of his employees, even many who were not working full time.  His compassion is a basic part of his decency and also because he remembers when his father did not have the financial resources to provide health care to him and the family.

Also, Schultz helps his employees who wish to attend college by scheduling their work hours to aid them.  Schultz is only one of a very small group of CEO’s who places the needs of his employees ahead of dividends.  Certainly, Starbucks has paid dividends, but never at the expense of employee welfare.

Schultz is not the first candidate to seek the Presidency as an independent.  Huey Pierce Long, Jr. ( 1893-1935) was the 40th. Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932.  Long was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932.  Long was a Democrat populist who denounced the wealthy elites and supported President Franklin Roosevelt.  Long later came to believe that the ” New Deal ” did not do enough for the People.

Long split with Roosevelt in 1933 to plan his own Presidential bid in 1936. Long was assassinated in 1935.

In 1992, Ross Perot sought the Presidency as an independent.  Perot achieved ballot access in all fifty states.  It was a three way race between Perot and George H.W. Bush( Republican ) and Bill Clinton ( Democrat ). Many people believe that Perot would have been elected President if only he had “stayed the course.” Perot while leading the three way race dropped out in July, 1992, and then reentered the race in October, 1992.  Perot participated in all three televised Presidential Debates. Perot received 19% of the total popular vote which was the most ever received by a third party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third party candidate in 1912.

In the 58 presidential elections since 1788, third party or independent candidates have won at least 5% of the vote 12 times, which is in 21% of the elections.

In the history of the U.S., six independent parties have succeeded to become a major party.  In the U.S. Constitution, it is not mandated that there should be only two parties.  Indeed, third parties are a part of the presidential history of the U.S.  There could be 3,4,5, or 100 parties on the ballot in 2020.

R. Van Conoley  ( While I greatly admire the integrity of Howard Schultz, this article should not be considered as an endorsement of Mr. Schultz or any other Presidential Candidate in the 2020 Presidential election. )


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