At this point in the 2008 presidential race, when both parties’ candidates had become apparent, the Economist put John McCain and Barack Obama on its cover under the line “America at its best.” The magazine described McCain as “a man whose political courage has led him constantly to attempt to forge bipartisan deals and to speak out against the Bush administration when it went wrong.” It said Obama had “demonstrated charisma, coolness under fire and an impressive understanding of the transforming power of technology in modern politics…. Even greater, though, is his achievement in becoming the first black presidential nominee of either political party.”
Contrast that assessment with Americans’ own views of their candidates this year. In a new Fox News poll released yesterday, registered voters say they consider Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dishonest, untrustworthy, immoral, uncaring, unreliable, selfish, and willing to say anything to get elected. On every one of those dimensions, more voters believed each candidate fit the description than felt otherwise.
After a year of campaigning that has exhausted the candidates, the media, and the voters, this is the result. Each party has chosen a presumptive nominee whom America loathes. Each party is about to nominate the least liked candidate from his or her field as it stood a year ago. These will be the least liked nominees in the history of U.S. polling.
How did it come to this? Three potential explanations:
-The procedures were flawed. Because the Republican field was crowded, Trump never achieved majority support in any primary or caucus from January until May. With percentages that were sometimes only in the low 30s, he nonetheless got the “winner” label and the resulting momentum. A different voting procedure, such as one in which voters designate second and third choices to be applied until some candidate gets a majority, could have produced different outcomes and a different nominee. But this explanation applies only to the Republicans, and in any case what happened this year demands a deeper explanation than voting technicalities.
-The best candidates won’t run. You hear this all the time, and there is certainly something to it. Where was House Speaker Paul Ryan for the Republicans? Where was Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for the Democrats? Yet the Republican field included at least a few substantive, experienced, grown-up candidates – Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich – and none of them came close. Which suggests we need an even deeper explanation.
-Something weird is happening with U.S. culture broadly. Maybe we no longer care whether we actually like the candidates. Maybe we just want to express our anger or hatred of the other side. Or something. Maybe we see the whole process as a reality TV show in which we get to participate. In an entertainment-based culture we can have a lot of fun with the villains as well as with the heroes.
Back in 2008, the Economist’s McCain-Obama article concluded, “On the face of it, this is the most impressive choice America has had for a very long time.” This year “most” has become “least.”
You can share Power Sheet with friends and followers here.
What We’re Reading Today
Bayer bids for Monsanto
The German drug and chemical behemoth Bayer made an unsolicited bid for Hugh Grant‘s agriculture company. While the terms of the offer were not disclosed, Monsanto’s market capitalization is $42 billion, and any bid would likely exceed that. The move by Marijn Dekkers‘s Bayer comes as a similarly large deal between ChemChina and Syngenta awaits a detailed anti-trust review in the U.S. CNBC
EgyptAir flight search continues
An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo disappeared over the Mediterranean with 66 people on board. A Greek defense official said the plane made a sudden swerve while plunging. French president Francois Hollande hasn’t ruled out terrorism as a possible cause. CNN
Mark Zuckerberg meets with conservatives
The Facebook CEO met with prominent conservatives to ease concerns that the social media site suppresses right-wing content in its news feed. While Zuckerberg wouldn’t name those involved, reports indicate that Glenn Beck, Dana Perino, and senior Donald Trump adviser Barry Bennett attended. Fortune
Theranos voids two years of blood tests
The troubled company informed health regulators that it’s voiding two years of tests from its Edison blood testing devices. Elizabeth Holmes‘s company sent revised results of tens of thousands of tests to doctors, which means some patients had received incorrect results. Holmes is trying to convince regulators not to impose strict penalties on the lab or to ban her from the business for two years. WSJ
Building a Better Leader
When employees feel they must be perpetually available…
…they react in one of three ways. They accept it, or secretly resist, or reveal why they don’t like it. The third option is actually best. Inc.
Outgoing Time Warner Cable CEO to staff: I asked the impossible
Rob Marcus, who stepped down as Time Warner Cable merged with Charter Communications, says he asked his staff to do the impossible by ignoring the deal. Fortune
Airbnb and Kickstarter have used tech to understand…
…what employees really think. Know Your Company’s software aims to give CEOs honest employee feedback. Fast Company
Viacom to eliminate Sumner Redstone’s salary
Redstone will no longer receive a salary as chairman emeritus, a sign to investors that he’s not involved in day-to-day operations. The move by Viacom chairman and Redstone confidant Philippe Dauman follows a recently dismissed lawsuit over Redstone’s mental competency. Redstone still controls 80% of Viacom’s voting stock. NYT
Donald Trump’s financial report shows he invests…
…in some of the companies he bashes on the campaign trail. The 104-page report released by his campaign still doesn’t provide enough information to confirm Trump‘s claims that he’s worth over $10 billion, but it shows he’s willing to attack companies he owns or has owned recently, including Apple, Nabisco, and Ford Motor. He has blasted all of them for outsourcing jobs overseas. Fortune
Erdogan ally set to become Turkey’s prime minister
The ruling AK Party has nominated Binali Yildirim as party leader, to be confirmed on Sunday. Yildirim is transport minister and a top aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He would succeed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who stepped down in opposition to Erdogan’s efforts to establish a presidential system of government that would increase his own power. BBC News
Fortune Reads and Videos
Only 15% of people have used a ride sharing service…
…such as Uber and Lyft. The proportion rises dramatically among those who are young and making over $100,000. Fortune
Amazon and Salesforce grow closer
Marc Benioff”s Salesforce will use more of Amazon Web Services, and Jeff Bezos‘s company will expand its use of Salesforce. Fortune
GM’s Chevy Bolt EVs are spotted driving in San Francisco
The all-electric vehicles aren’t scheduled for production until October, and the ones seen in San Francisco appeared to be equipped for autonomous driving. Fortune
McDonald’s brings back “Gilroy Garlic Fries”
Looks like a recent test went well. Some 250 San Francisco McDonald’s will likely add them to their menu soon. Fortune