Howard Schultz will today announce specific promises and priorities that he intends to uphold if elected President of the United States, offering a first look at the groundwork for his political agenda,

March 13, 2019 | Miami


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Howard Schultz's 2020 pledge


Market Scoop: Howard Schultz will today announce specific promises and priorities that he intends to uphold if elected president of the United States, offering a first look at the groundwork for his political agenda, members of his would-be campaign tell me.


The new pledge, which Schultz will unveil during a speech today at Miami Dade College, is an effort to bolster his pitch for centrism as he considers a long-shot, third-party bid for the White House.


Schultz's Promises:


• He will not sign any legislation into law that does not have bipartisan support.


• He will not nominate a Supreme Court justice unless he or she can be confirmed by two-thirds of the Senate.


• He will assemble a cross-partisan cabinet of Democrats, Republicans and independents.


• He will have a greater share of women in his cabinet than any previous president.


Schultz's Priorities:


• He will get the federal budget under control.


• He will limit the power of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.


• He will bring an end to gerrymandering and push for independent commissions to draw the political districts in every state.


• He will reduce executive authority.


The Big Picture: Schultz is presenting the first specific outline of what his presidency would be, as opposed to what it would not. Until now, he has run on an aggressive critique of the two-party system but offered little in the way of specific promises.


• Schultz's thesis is that there is widespread consensus among Americans on a majority of policy issues, even if that is not reflected in the national political conversation — an idea legal scholar Tim Wu describes as "the oppression of the supermajority."


What's Next: Schultz will also announce plans to outline his economic agenda "in the coming weeks," providing more concrete details about how his vision for the economy differs from the wide field of Democratic nominees.



Elizabeth Warren's tech money


Big in the Bay, big in the Beltway: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has launched an aggressive attack on Silicon Valley's tech giants and called for breaking up Amazon, Google and Facebook, has accepted at least $90,000 in donations in the last decade from those companies' employees and executives.


The Backstory, via Politico's Christopher Cadelago:


• In September, Warren "accepted a $2,700 contribution from Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer."


• Between 2011 and 2018, she "took at least $90,000 from employees of Amazon, Google and Facebook alone."


• "While the donations flowed to Warren’s committee," Warren was bashing the tech giants for harming competition.


The Big Picture: Warren's "reliance on the massive companies underscore tech’s pervasiveness in politics and society at large, but also politicians’ unwillingness to separate themselves from its legion of employees who give money."


What's Next: "Warren hasn’t weaned herself off of tech employee money — or their services. Warren’s campaign ... continues to buy ads through Facebook, and her books are still on Amazon."


Meanwhile ... Silicon Valley Sage-at-Large Ben Thompson explains why Warren's proposal "would create massive new problems," "have significant unintended consequences," and "not even address the issues [she's] concerned about," all while "running roughshod over the idea of judicial independence."

🌽 Rally the Market 🌽


Priorities, USA: Snap's Peter Hamby argues that Democrats need to "tackle economic security, prize Dubuque voters over the media, and stop listening to Twitter."


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Bill McGlashan's varsity blues


Moving the Market: Bill McGlashan, a managing partner at TPG Growth and a powerful Hollywood and Silicon Valley investor, has been placed on indefinite leave after being charged as one of 50 defendants in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal that went public yesterday.


• McGlashan also co-founded STX Entertainment and Evolution Media Capital and sits on a number of boards, including Creative Artists Agency (a TPG portfolio company), XOJet and Gavin de Becker's security firm.


The Scam, via NBC News' Tom Winter et al: "The alleged scam focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes... and helping potential students cheat on their college exams."


• In McGlashan's case, the criminal complaint states that he donated $50,000 to the college prep service Key Worldwide Foundation so that it would secretly correct his son's answers to the ACT entrance exam.


• The complaint also states that McGlashan talked about forging an athletic profile for his son to help him get in to USC as a recruit. (THR's Rebecca Sun has more.)


Also implicated: Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, lawyer Gordon Caplan and other high-profile figures, as well as universities and athletic programs.


The Big Picture, via Matthew Ball: "Here's the thing about buying your kid an opportunity at a better school. Well-intentioned or not, you excluded someone with the same aspirations and better qualifications from that opportunity. Someone lost because you cheated. It is zero sum."


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Nancy Dubuc seeks $200m


Speaking of TPG's investments ... "Vice Media is looking to raise a new round of financing of up to $200 million, which the company hopes will give it enough cash to reach its goal of becoming profitable in the next 12 months," per The Information's Tom Dotan and Jessica Toonkel.


Dubuc, Nov. 2018: Vice will be profitable "within a fiscal year."

Market Links


Bob Iger will finalize the Fox acquisition next week (LAT)


John Stephens addresses AT&T's debt problems (THR)


David Nevins picks up Lionsgate's stake in Pop TV (Variety)


The Writers Guild feuds with the agencies (WaPo)


Suzanne Scott stands by the Fox News talent (NBC News)


Sylvaine Lefevre/Getty

Reed Hastings is alright


The Streaming Wars: New WarnerMedia Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt set off alarm bells last week when he told me that Netflix was brandless, a remark widely interpreted as a shot across the bow of his new competitor.


"Netflix doesn't have a brand," Greenblatt said. "It's just a place you go to get anything -- it's like Encyclopedia Britannica."


Variety's Andrew Wallenstein now argues that Greenblatt may be right — insofar as Netflix is "a sprawling catalogue," as opposed to "a fully realized brand" — but that it may not actually matter:


• "There’s something anachronistic about the notion that a limited library of content could be artfully arranged in a manner compelling enough to compete with the sheer voluminousness of the Netflix catalogue."


• "While TV branding may have been like putting together a nice bouquet, Netflix-era branding is more akin to loading a machine gun."


• "Crude as Netflix’s approach may seem to branding sophisticates, there’s nothing wrong with Netflix relying on the brute force of its vast output."


The Big Picture: For all the streaming war drama, its highly likely that most (though probably not all) of the biggest services will be able to co-exist. As Jeffrey Katzenberg told me during our interview at SXSW, this isn't zero sum.

What Next: Howard Stern is releasing his first book in more than 20 years and it's already No. 1 on Amazon. If you want to know why you should care, read this.


• I'm en route to Los Angeles.


See you tomorrow.


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