The Weekender by Strategic Elements

The Weekender: A Homerun to Space

The Weekender by Strategic Elements


  • 46%: The percentage of Gen Z who believe college isn’t worth the cost
  • 86: The number of people who moved to Nashville every day in 2023
  • $26,000: The median down payment on a home purchase in the first quarter of 2024
  • 2: The number of astronauts aboard Boeing’s first crewed mission for NASA launched on Wednesday
  • 58.3-60.7%: The percentage of the vote Mexico’s first female president won; the highest in Mexico’s democratic history
  • 60: The approximate number of U.S. WWII Veterans who flew to Paris to attend the 80th anniversary ceremony of D-Day

The Big 5

Candidates’ Primary Concerns

If you’re tuning into the 2024 elections, you’ll know that primary season is in full swing. We’ve put together the latest updates so you can stay in-the-know.

Trump’s Post-Conviction Blues

Former President Donald Trump faced primary voters just days after he was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records. Voters went to the polls in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota, with voters in Iowa and D.C. selecting nominees in down-ballot races. If Trump was affected, it wasn’t much to write home about as he continued to perform well at the ballot box. Additionally, two polls found that Trump’s guilty verdict has only had a minor effect on his supporters, with 10% of registered Republican voters saying they were less likely to support him after the conviction.

Menendez Goes Independent

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has filed to run for his seat as an independent while facing a trial on federal corruption charges after allegedly certifying beef exports to Egypt via bribes of cash and gold bars given to his wife. Rep. Andy Kim secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for Menendez’s seat.

Montana’s Mountain of an Election

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy (R) secured nominations in Montana’s primaries this Tuesday and will face off in the November general election. Tester was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and remains the only Democrat to hold statewide office in the state. Republicans have identified Montana as a flippable state in the Senate races and will rely heavily on the Trump-endorsed political novice Sheehy to turn the tables.

Read More at The Washington Post

The Middle Class Rut

Years ago, the middle class was the strength of the United States. Today, many in this category feel crushed by the economy. More than 60% of families in the population are “struggling financially” and expect to remain in the same dire straits for the rest of their lives. 65% of the middle class is resting only 200% above the federal poverty line while 40% of all Americans cannot financially plan beyond their next paycheck. As of January, 59% of U.S. adults felt like the economy was in a recession – but it wasn’t.

The economy is telling tales of restrengthening itself, as more jobs enter the market and the GDP rises, but consumers don’t seem to be sharing in the savings. Inflation is a driving factor of the pain, with loans for homes, cars, and business investments costing more than before COVID-19.

Read More at The Hill

Restructuring the World of Upside-Down Pyramids 

Here’s some not-so-breaking news: Media companies are restructuring left and right months before the presidential election. The timing is less than stellar – coming on the dawn of politics’ Superbowl – but the logic is reasonable. With subscriber numbers plummeting and AI on the rise, news services must offer something new to survive.

This isn’t an easy process to spearhead. ABC News president, Kim Goodwin, stepped down on May 5, shortly after signing to renew her contract. Shortly after, The Washington Post’s editor, Sarah Buzbee, departed without leaving a note. The Wall Street Journal reported they will lay off a handful of employees while creating new jobs to better suit the paper’s needs.

News companies are testing new approaches to accommodate those who no longer feel connected to traditional media. Some, like CNN, are trying new subscription plans that require readers’ email addresses after viewing a certain number of articles. The Wall Street Journal is conducting an ad campaign with the goal of reaching a wider audience of business professionals in addition to its primary audience of executives and investors. Can traditional media survive in the world of TikTok news and social media empires? Time will tell.  

Read More at Axios

Geopolitics Border on Tense

Relations between North and South Korea are growing more tenuous by the day as North Korea sees the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza as an opportunity to expand its own military strength. In the past week alone, North Korea attempted but failed to launch a spy satellite, sent feces-laden balloons over South Korea, jammed GPS signals supporting fishing boats navigation, and conducted more ballistic missile tests. In response, South Korea suspended its peace agreement with its neighbor to the north and resumed all military activities near the 38th parallel DMZ.

President Biden has expressed willingness to meet with the DPRK leader, but his immediate actions focus on enhancing South Korean and Japanese relations, sanctioning Pyongyang, and warning against the use of nuclear weapons. With the U.S. being engaged with Ukraine and Israel’s military efforts, it has less capacity to crack down on Kim’s regime. This all occurs as Russia remains dependent on North Korean support for its aggression in Eastern Europe.

Read More at Politico

Boeing Going Floating

Two strikes and one home run still scores. On its third attempt to reach low-Earth orbit, Boeing’s Starliner capsule took flight carrying two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The capsule, sitting atop an Atlas V rocket made in partnership with Lockheed Martin, carried veteran astronauts Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams on a day-long journey from Florida to the ISS this week. The Starliner program overcame years of technical glitches, hurdles, and two canceled flights – one of which was called off with only four minutes left in the countdown.

Boeing will need to increase its cruising altitude speed if it hopes to catch up to SpaceX, which has been putting NASA crews into space since 2020. Still, a successful manned flight into space is nothing to scoff at and demonstrates remarkable progress in the private sector to accelerate humanity’s adventures into the final frontier.

Read more at NBC News

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