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Power Sheet – May 20, 2016

Is Libertarian Lite about to have its moment? The strangest presidential race in living memory just keeps getting weirder.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld said yesterday that he wants to run for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket alongside former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2012, who is running again. What’s intriguing is that amid rampant talk about the hope and hopelessness of a third-party challenge to Donald Trump, one is actually taking shape under the radar. A Johnson-Weld ticket, should it be chosen at the party’s convention over Memorial Day weekend, would have no chance of winning – Johnson got 1% of the vote in 2012 – but in a year of surprises it could prove surprisingly attractive to voters already seeking an alternative to Trump and Hillary Clinton. A Fox News poll conducted earlier this week, before Weld’s announcement, showed that in a Trump-Clinton-Johnson race, Johnson drew 10% support.

A Johnson-Weld ticket could surprise because it would be selling Libertarian Lite, not Libertarian Classic, and that concoction could be palatable to the many voters who describe themselves as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Libertarian Classic is way too extreme for most people, advocating radical cutbacks in government activity. For example, Libertarian Classic says the Fed should not exist and the federal government, if there is one, should not issue currency; Libertarian Lite says the Fed should be audited. Libertarian Classic holds that everyone should be free to marry whom they want, use the drugs they want, and buy the weapons they want. Austin Petersen, who will also try for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, likes to say in speeches, “I want gay couples to be able to protect their marijuana fields with fully automatic rifles.”

Johnson and Weld don’t say stuff like that, which is why devoted libertarians argue that these two are not the genuine article. But it’s also why they could actually get somewhere. As highly popular former governors from widely different states on opposite sides of the country, they bring a legitimacy and stature that the Libertarian ticket has never before offered. While it’s virtually inconceivable that they could carry even one state, it’s at least conceivable that they could deny a few states to Trump.

Will he therefore start attacking them? Or would that simply bring them more attention? Or will their novelty earn them just a fleeting moment of fame? I certainly don’t know. But I know that conventional political calculus has proven worthless in this race so far, and I’m not counting them out.

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What We’re Reading Today

Yahoo bids looking lower than expected  

Lowell McAdam‘s Verizon Communications and other bidders for Yahoo’s Internet business are expected to offer between $2 billion and $3 billion. Marissa Mayer‘s company expected bids to range from $4 billion to $8 billion. Some offers could still come in higher, and the auction process tends to produce lower bids at the beginning. WSJ

Uber tests self-driving cars in Pittsburgh 

Using a hybrid Ford Fusion, Travis Kalanick‘s company will begin testing the vehicles and building mapping data in the city. It’s Uber’s first test of autonomous vehicles in the wild, coming a couple of weeks after GM and Logan Green‘s Lyft said they would begin testing self-driving vehicles within a year. Fortune

Former Dean Foods chairman charged with insider trading

Prosecutors say Thomas Davis owed renowned sports bettor William Walters money, so he gave Walters inside information while chairing the Dean Foods board as far back as 2008. Walters allegedly made some $40 million from the information. The case also involves golfer Phil Mickelson, who allegedly used information to pay back Walters. Mickelson will not be charged and has agreed to a nearly $1-million fine. Davis will plead guilty and help the prosecution against Walters. NYT

Oklahoma passes controversial anti-abortion bill 

The Oklahoma legislature has passed a bill that would make performing an abortion, unless to save a mother’s life, a felony punishable by three years in prison. Governor Mary Fallin, who is reportedly on Donald Trump‘s shortlist of v.p. candidates, now must decide whether to sign the bill into law. It’s unclear if she will. CNN

Building a Better Leader

It’s time to dump the CV… 

…and turn to behavioral science when making your next hire. Tweaking the recruiting process can build diversity on your team. Knowledge@Wharton

To keep email from wrecking your company’s creativity…

…ban it after hours and set times for employees to get away from their desks. Fortune

To decide which founder will lead a young company…

…ask what department each person is most suited to run and whether family life could become an issue for a fast-growing business CEO. SmartBrief

Worth Considering

EgyptAir debris discovered

The Egyptian military says it has discovered debris, including passenger belongings and a body part, from EgyptAir flight MS804 in the Mediterranean Sea. The plane, with 66 aboard, was traveling from Paris to Cairo. French President Francois Hollande and other leaders haven’t ruled out terrorism as the possible cause of the crash.  NBC News

Bondholders to Valeant: Time’s up

Bondholders have notified CEO Joseph Papa that the company is in default because it hasn’t filed its first quarter earnings report on time. It’s the second consecutive report Valeant has delayed filing as questions about its accounting practices remain. Valeant now has until July 18 to file the latest report. Reuters

E*Trade comes back

After the recession took the company to the edge of bankruptcy, CEO Paul Idzik has turned its focus away from day trading, improved technology, and increased human-to-human interaction to comfort investors. Now it’s a fintech firm using old-school adviser techniques. Fortune

Up or Out

Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield will retire at the end of the year. COO Timothy Dove will replace Sheffield.  The Street

Adobe Systems has named Cynthia Stoddard as CIO.  WSJ

Fortune Reads and Videos

Elizabeth Warren has set her sights on the gig economy

And she’s not a fan of Uber and Lyft’s employment practices. Fortune

Donald Trump’s foe on the right got a boost

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld says he wants to be the running mate of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor. The party’s nominees will be chosen at a convention over Memorial Day weekend. Fortune

NFL to return over $700,000 it received… 

…from the U.S. Defense Department to honor the military before and during games. Fortune

Elizabeth Holmes is searching for an executive assistant…

…at Theranos. It’s a job that comes with some challenges. Fortune

Happy Birthday

Senator Al Franken turns 65 tomorrow.  Biography

Former BP CEO Tony Hayward turns 59 tomorrow.  Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau
@ryanderous
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