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Power Sheet – June 3, 2016

Paul Ryan’s tepid endorsement of Donald Trump yesterday, in which he did not say he “endorses” or “supports” Trump, raises the question of whether political endorsements actually make any difference. This one might because it could at least encourage donors worried that a Trump victory would do nothing to advance their policy priorities. But some political professionals have told me they never met a voter who voted for any candidate because so-and-so endorsed him or her. The feeling seems to be that orchestrating a steady drumbeat of endorsements for Candidate X might eventually build a sort of general comfort with X among voters, and even if not, endorsements can’t do any harm.

Or can they? One of this race’s many odd features has been endorsements by fans who may not be doing their favored candidate any favors at all. Consider:

Trump’s fans include Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called him “a very bright and talented man. ” The admiration is mutual. “I think that I would probably get along with him very well,” Trump said. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader.” This week an official North Korean newspaper called Trump “a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate.” That assessment wouldn’t get printed if dictator Kim Jong-un didn’t approve.

In the U.S., white nationalist David Duke endorsed Trump, who hemmed and hawed for a while before repudiating the endorsement. More recently, a Ku Klux Klan leader in Virginia endorsed him, saying, “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.” Sports stars? Dennis Rodman favors Trump. So does Richie Incognito, the NFL lineman who became unemployable for a year-and-a-half after a bullying scandal and who NFL players once voted the league’s dirtiest player. Former pharma CEO Martin Shkreli, arguably America’s most loathed business person, has endorsed Trump even though Trump trashed him last fall when he was in the news. And the National Enquirer has thrown its weight behind the Donald.

Hillary Clinton’s list of endorsers, though far longer than Trump’s, includes fewer cringe-inducing names. Still, it includes some notable ones. Hustler magazine publisher and porn video producer Larry Flynt probably isn’t helping her as much as he’d like by supporting her. The same may be true of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, convicted tax cheat and enthusiastic bunga-bunga participant. Clinton probably won’t be trumpeting the endorsement of Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes now that government regulators are seeking to ban her for two years from owning or running a blood testing lab. Ditto the endorsement of former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee who lost in a massive landslide to George H.W. Bush.

On Tuesday night, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose country is starving and in an economic meltdown, endorsed “our revolutionary friend,” Bernie Sanders.

Undoubtedly this is only the beginning for Trump and Clinton. With five months until the election, they’ll both receive many more such gifts, to which the only response can be, “You shouldn’t have. Really.”

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What We’re Reading Today

Starbucks takes tea with AB InBev
Howard Schultz‘s company is teaming with Carlos Brito‘s Anheuser-Busch InBev to develop and distribute ready-to-drink Teavana tea. The partnership combines Starbucks’ knowledge of consumer tastes and AB InBev’s production and distribution power. It should also boost Starbucks’ Teavana brand, which brings in over $1 billion of revenue.  Fortune

United Continental and Delta set path for Avianca
Avianca, one of Latin America’s biggest airlines, is seeking $500 million of capital, and a deal could turn into a sale. Oscar Munoz‘s United Continental and Ed Bastian‘s Delta are interested; both airlines could benefit from more exposure to the Latin American market. A merger would be the biggest move yet by either new CEO. WSJ

New Petrobras CEO’s plan: cut debt
Brazil’s state-controlled oil company is at the center of a corruption investigation that has led to backlash against President Dilma Rousseff, who faces an impeachment trial for an unrelated incident. CEO Pedro Parente intends to cut debt in order to focus on large projects; the company has sold $2.1 billion of assets since last year.  Bloomberg

Tribune Publishing’s board vote could encourage Gannett
Shareholders of the company that owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune voted to elect management’s proposed board candidates, but about 40% of investors abstained to protest Tribune’s rejection of an $864-million takeover bid from Bob Dickey‘s Gannett. The number of investors abstaining could encourage Gannett to push ahead with the effort. Tribune also voted to change its name to Tronc, effective June 20.  Los Angeles Times

Building a Better Leader

Mentoring can drive equality in your office
But the entire company must be engaged in the effort. SmartBrief

The upside of being demoted
For Tinder CEO Sean Rad, who was asked to take a smaller role in 2014, it meant appreciating the true meaning of being the boss. That came in handy when Tinder asked him to return to the top spot less than a year later. Fortune

To survive your first year as an entrepreneur…
…drink your own Kool-aid, tell everyone about your project, and make sure to take breaks.  Medium

Political Statements

Hillary hints at economic attacks on Trump
In a foreign policy speech yesterday, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump “dangerously” unprepared to lead the U.S. She also attacked his strategy to reduce debt by forcing creditors to accept less than what they owed, likening it to his bankrupt casino, and bashed his position on trade. It’s a sign of how she plans to attack the likely GOP nominee on economic issues in her general election campaign. Reuters

Paul Ryan backs Trump
After declining for a month to back the likely GOP nominee, House Speaker Ryan said he and Trump have enough in common for his vote, a valuable vow of support for Trump. Ryan also said he would still speak his mind when he disagrees with Trump. Democrats used the announcement as grounds for attributing anything Trump says to the entire GOP. CNN

Fed implies banks need more reserves
Two Federal Reserve governors – Daniel Tarullo and Jerome Powell – indicated that the Fed would soon require eight large banks to increase their capital reserves. Otherwise the banks wouldn’t pass their upcoming required stress tests. Banks were already questioning whether current capital requirements would permit them to remain as big as they are. WSJ

Up or Out

Carnegie Hall has elected Vista Equity Partners founder Robert Smith chairman.  NYT

Former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico died yesterday. He was 71.  Reuters

Fortune Reads and Videos

Google is teaching its autonomous vehicles…
…when to honk. And it has different honks for different situations. Fortune

Walmart is planning a massive makeover of its supermarkets
It’s in an effort to highlight fresh products. Fortune

The most admired CEO is no longer Tim Cook
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos easily won out in a survey of Fortune 500 CEOs. Fortune

LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry is more than just basketball
It’s also a battle on the court between Nike and Under Armour.  Fortune

Happy Birthday

Cuban President Raul Castro turns 85 today.  Biography

Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joseph Biden, turns 65 on Sunday.  Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau
@ryanderous
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