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Is the 2016 Election Really the Most Important Ever?

Is the pitch of campaign rhetoric peaking too early? Candidates always work themselves into a vein-bulging frenzy telling voters this election is the most important ever, but now they’re going further. This election is about more than the future of the country, what we bequeath our children, or even the bedrock principles of our nation. The stakes are much, much higher.

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton said to the New York Times’s Mark Leibovich, “As I’ve told people, I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse.” Her running mate, Tim Kaine, has been telling voters, “There’s existential values at stake in this race” – that is, pertaining to existence.

Yesterday afternoon Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in Florida, “Our great civilization … has come upon a moment of reckoning…. This is a struggle for the survival of our nation…. This is our moment of reckoning as a society and as a civilization itself.”

If 24 hours are a lifetime in politics, as U.K. Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously said, then the 26 days until the election are an eternity, and the candidates have left themselves nowhere to go. The election is now about the end of the nation, civilization, the world.

But is it really? Superlatives are dangerous in talking about America’s long electoral history, though it seems safe to say this election has inflamed passions more powerfully than any in years, maybe decades. Merely talking about it can endanger friendships and marriages. It’s easy to understand how voters and candidates can feel that literally everything hangs in the balance.

So I’ll certainly infuriate partisans on both sides by saying I’m confident that regardless of who wins, America is going to be okay. Not to say it will be the same; obviously the outcome will make a difference. But while the thought may seem inconceivable in the pulsing heat of this moment, the fact is we’ve been through worse threats than Trump or Clinton. The only time we actually faced the apocalypse was in the Cold War. The only time the nation faced an existential threat was in the Civil War. Our institutions and our culture, which are unique in the world, got us through and will do so again.

I’ll skip the long list of problems America faces; you know what they are, and they’re bad. So if your candidate loses, please don’t leave the country, as so many overwrought partisans on both sides are promising to do. Your nation is a great one, and it deserves your help and support. If you’re willing to give it, even a loss on November 8 won’t be the end of the world.

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What We’re Reading Today

Verizon says data breach could stop Yahoo deal
Verizon general counsel Craig Silliman said he believes a clause in the contract allows Lowell McAdam‘s company to walk away from its $4.8-billion purchase of Yahoo because of the hack into 500 million Yahoo accounts. He challenged Marissa Mayer‘s Yahoo to show that the breach didn’t have a material impact. Of course the statement could be posturing as Verizon looks for a price cut. Fortune

Hershey begins its search for a successor 
The Hershey board has begun seeking a successor to CEO John Bilbrey, who has said he hopes to step down by next summer, staying on as non-executive chairman. The action comes just months after Hershey fought off a merger bid from Irene Rosenfeld‘s Mondelez, and as the trust that controls over 80% of Hershey’s voting shares is in upheaval. Reuters

President Xi to China’s state owned companies: I’m still the boss
Though China has been easing control of state-owned enterprises, President Xi Jinping told a gathering of CEOs that the Communist Party still holds ultimate authority over the firms. The message runs counter to the market-friendly measures Xi has encouraged since entering office but echoes declarations he’s made to organizations in the arts and civil society.  NYT

Major Republican donors want to cut ties with Trump  
David Humphreys, Bruce Kovner, and Julian Robertson Jr. are just a few of those who have donated millions to the Republican National Committee and now say the organization should end support of Donald Trump and focus on other candidates. Some donors even asked for their money back after Trump’s comments on women became public. Fox News

Building a Better Leader

When seeking advice from mentors…
…don’t look for affirmation. Instead, seek the truth about your business or your management style. Huffington Post

To retain something you’re learning…
…focus on the parts you don’t know. If you’re memorizing the state capitals, for example, focus on those you struggle with instead of quizzing yourself repeatedly on all the states. Fortune

A CEO explains how he decides to give you a raise or fire you
Jacob Baadsgaard
, CEO of Disruptive Advertising, says it’s not about how many years you’ve worked on the job, but how much value you bring to the organization. The person showing success and improving the company will get a raise. Fast Company

Tech Movements

IBM, Google partner to take on Intel
Ginni Rometty
‘s IBM, Sundar Pichai‘s Google subsidiary of Alphabet, and seven other companies have come together to develop a new open specification to improve data center server performance by a factor of ten. The companies want to make the open specification available by year-end. The announcement is a direct shot at Brian Krzanich‘s Intel, which declined to join the group. The consortium says innovation in the area shouldn’t come from one company.  Reuters

HP Inc. to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs
The cuts will occur over the next three years. The decision by Dion Weisler‘s company comes as it adjusts to slumping demand for personal computers.   Fortun

GM’s Maven opens in San Francisco
It’s the ninth city in which the car-sharing service has launched this year. For Mary Barra‘s GM, San Francisco is a tough test of the business’ viability. The service is different from Uber and Lyft, which are used heavily in San Francisco, in that it offers one-way car use; a driver can pick up a vehicle and drop it off at his or her destination. TechCrunch

Up or Out

Martin Lorentzon is stepping down as Spotify’s chairman. A co-founder of the company, he will remain on the board. CEO Daniel Ek succeeds him as chairman. Billboard

Fortune Reads and Videos

Amazon and VMWare partner up
Once rivals in the cloud, they’re working together to build new technology that will enable VMware data center management software to work via Amazon’s cloud service. Fortune

Donald Trump blames sexual assault allegations on…
…a global conspiracy set on stopping his campaign. Fortune

Walmart to offer free wellness tests
This Saturday, customers can get free blood pressure checks and vision screenings, among other tests. Fortune

Starbucks launches its first beer
It’s part coffee, part craft IPA. Fortune

Happy Birthday

Ralph Lauren turns 77 today. Biography

Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca turns 91 on Saturday. Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau
@ryanderous
powersheet@newsletters.fortune.com