In 2016, Green candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson attracted hundreds of thousands of votes in states Trump won by slim margins, giving him the presidency in the electoral college despite defeat in the popular ballot.
Political strategists say such a third-party candidacy would divide the left, taking votes from the president's yet-to-be nominated Democratic challenger.
Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, hasn't declared a candidacy yet, but in an interview that aired on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday, he said he is "seriously thinking of running for president as an independent candidate". When Pelley pointed out Trump initially said the same but never did, Schultz said, "We can do it today".
"There is zero appetite for this, and there is an urgent need for the Democratic candidate to win in 2020", Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii wrote on Twitter.
The most powerful super PAC in Democratic politics is promising to make former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz "a target" if he launches an independent presidential bid. If he thinks that he can successfully run on denying things from the American people-then I think he should definitely take the plunge.
At issue is the possibility that Schultz running as an independent could split the vote in the upcoming 2020 election, potentially securing President Donald Trump's re-election. "And they are looking for a better choice", he said. He's scheduled to guest on "The View" on Tuesday, and co-host Joy Behar said she planned to ask him about the potential of splitting the anti-Trump vote by bringing up Ralph Nader.
Schultz said while he's been a lifelong Democrat, the USA now has about $21.5 trillion of debt and both parties are guilty of "a reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility".
The book tour, which was scheduled to kick off Monday in NY, comes on the heels of Schultz's announcement that he was considering running for president in 2020 as a "centrist independent". He added that he would be open to fresh ideas because he was "not in bed with any political party".
Schultz is the businessman who lead Starbucks to worldwide domination.
But Schultz has indicated that he's more interested in reducing the national debt through economic growth and cuts in entitlements, rather than restoring corporate taxes to previous levels.
"I have a concern that, if he did run, that, essentially, it would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting reelected", Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, told CNN's "State of the Union".
Schultz stepped down as CEO of the Seattle-based coffee empire at the end of the year in 2016, turning the company over to current CEO Kevin Johnson. Last year, after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a business meeting, Starbucks closed 8,000 USA stores early so employees could take anti-bias training.