Howard Schultz on an independent 2020 run: "I think I can beat the system"

Schultz: "I think I can beat the system"

The reaction to Howard Schultz's announcement that he's "strongly" considering an independent presidential run has been swift and loud. Democrats and other critics of President Trump are urging the former Starbucks chairman and CEO to reconsider his potential plans for 2020.

Despite the criticism he's faced over the past 48 hours since that announcement, Schultz said he believes he can "beat the system" if he does choose to run in 2020 and rejected the idea that it would risk the re-election of President Trump.

"I must be doing something right to garner this much attention and this much interest," Schultz told "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday.

Schultz  said he believes he can offer what Americans are "longing for" in terms of leadership and create a race in which all 50 states matter, not just the battleground states that are typically the focus of presidential elections. 

"What I have offered the American people is simply an opportunity to hear my story and to provide a opportunity for the American people to say we don't have to have two parties," he said.

New York City mayor and potential Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg issued a blunt statement, saying after Schultz's announcement saying, "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."

What would an independent like Howard Schultz mean for the 2020 presidential race?

Schultz called the idea that his run would risk keeping President Trump in office "a false narrative."

"I think Republicans are looking for a home. If Republicans have a choice between a far left liberal progressive candidate on the Democratic side or President Trump, President Trump is going to get reelected. If I can get in the race, and I only need 15 percent to be on the debate stage, I will provide the Republicans with a choice that they do not have," Schultz said.

As an independent, Schultz sees an opening to avoid the "toxicity" that comes along with being a part of the Republican or Democratic Party, of which he was a member until recently.

"I would have to be disingenuous to try to run as a Democrat. There are millions of people in the country who no longer affiliate themselves with a Democrat or Republican," he said. "No politician on the Republican and Democratic side can do it because both parties are involved every single day in revenge politics. If you imagine what powerful signal it would send to the Congress and to the country and for the first time since George Washington an independent person can be elected president."

But the hurdles he faces in even getting on the ballot are significant. The last independent to win an Electoral College vote was George Wallace in 1968.

"Not only is it stacked, but the DNC and RNC do everything humanly possible to prevent an independent person from running. That is un-American. That's not right," he said. "We will be on the ballot in every state, all 50 states. And this is so vitally important. In the last presidential elections the only thing that matters is about eight states, battleground states that define the race, if I enter the race I'll be on the ballot of every state in all 50 states. Everyone's voice would matter."