For Schultz to break through, he must go full-bore after self-identified independent voters; there are enough of them in just about every county that, with the right ground game and clever media messaging, he could become a viable third option in nearly every state.

As a seasoned retailer, Schultz needs to use his money and his smarts to court independent voters as he would new customers, making them feel empowered by the fact that they don’t identify with either dysfunctional major political party. With the right strategy, he should be able to parlay his success in corporate America and in building a beloved brand into a viable political vector.

A crowded Democratic field will work in Schultz’s favor, as splintered allegiances during the primary season will depress the level of support for any one Democrat, which means that in the early polling throughout 2019 — assuming he can consolidate a core base of supporters — he could outperform every individual candidate except Trump — lending immediate credence to the legitimacy to his campaign.