He's a lifelong Democrat, but Howard Schultz is taking direct aim at his own party these days as he mulls an independent run for the White House.
While he doesn’t shy from attacking Republican President Trump, Schultz has reserved some of his harshest criticism for Democrats, in Congress and on the 2020 trail, drifting further and further left. He sees this as his opening as well -- evidence that the electorate could use a center-lane presidential candidate.
“Americans are not going to embrace socialism,” Schultz said last month at the South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas.
Pointing to many of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Schultz said Tuesday on "Fox & Friends" that they’re “people who are well-intentioned, love the country, but they’re out of touch with these kind of policies that in my view that are not realistic.”
WATCH THE HOWARD SCHULTZ TOWN HALL ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL ON THURSDAY AT 6:30 PM ET.
It’s far from the first time the billionaire and former longtime chairman and CEO of Starbucks has painted the Democratic White House hopefuls as too far to the left. He’s repeatedly warned that they’ll blow next year’s election against Trump by embracing extreme positions that he says are “never going to happen.”
“Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others are proposing to try and defeat Donald Trump with a far extreme proposal,” he stressed at South by Southwest.
And last month, when moderate Democrat and fellow billionaire Mike Bloomberg decided against launching a campaign for the Democratic nomination, Schultz didn’t waste an opportunity to highlight that there’s no room anymore for a centrist in the Democratic Party.
“Mike Bloomberg governed from the center with big ideas, pragmatism and common sense. In an era of paralysis and dysfunction, he’s an exception,” Schultz tweeted as he pointed to Bloomberg’s tenure as New York City mayor. “I've long said there isn't room for centrist moderation in either party and it appears Mr. Bloomberg has come to the same conclusion.”
Schultz specifically has ravaged some of the policy proposals being pushed by the 2020 Democrats, from "Medicare for all" to the Green New Deal.
“The Green New Deal is fantasy,” Schultz told Maria Bartiromo last week on Fox Business Network. “There are well-intentioned people that are trying to do good things, but let’s not throw things against the wall that they themselves know are not going to stick.”
The sweeping proposal which was introduced in Congress in February aims to transform the country’s economy to combat climate change – while enacting a host of new welfare programs. The resolution, which has become a litmus test for the Democratic presidential contenders, has offered Republicans political ammunition as they ramp up their attacks on the Democrats hoping to oust Trump from the Oval Office in 2020.
When it comes to Medicare for all, which would establish a universal single-payer health care system from coast to coast, Schultz describes the proposal as “unaffordable.”
"The Democrats are now saying, 'Medicare-for-all.' That's their solution, which is basically a $33 trillion number, which would take 180 million Americans off of the insurance that's provided by their employer, wipe out the insurance industry. It's not realistic,” Schultz argued earlier this week in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
Schultz supported the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, but argues that it can be fixed and improved. His prescription is to bring the government, big business and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries all to the table and hammer out a remedy.
Schultz’s painting of the 2020 Democrats as too far to the left may resonate with general election voters.
Fifty-seven percent of registered voters in a Fox News Poll in February had a positive opinion of capitalism. But only 25 percent viewed socialism the same way.
“Despite the prominence of socialistic ideas and policy proposals in recent weeks, Americans are favorable toward the merits of the capitalistic system,” said Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson.
Schultz explained on "Fox & Friends" that if he launches a presidential campaign, he’ll run "on a centrist position of character, morality, and getting our house in order."
Schultz will be featured at a Fox News Town Hall live on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET. The event will be moderated by Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.