Brace yourselves, 2024 is the ‘year of the elections’

2024 is set to be a bumper election year with, for the first time ever, the UK, US and Europe all holding major elections. Globally there will be a total of 76 countries going to the polls, meaning over 4 billion people will cast their vote. However, only 43 out of the 76 will hold what we class to be ‘fair and free’ elections.


2024 – the year of elections

How the UK and our businesses navigate the next year is of critical importance. The Western world is in line for yet another shakeup, democracy is facing a significant stress test, and it is the UK and US who are leading the way. The implications of next year should not be underestimated, and everyone should be paying attention, because the stakes are high.


In 2016 the UK and US already faced elections that resulted in what can only be described as a seismic shift, leaving both our countries in a state of growing division and polarisation. So, why should it matter to the UK or indeed Europe, who becomes president?


Why do the 2024 elections matter to you?

Well, there are several reasons, starting with our alignment over diplomatic and foreign policy, including security and defence cooperation priorities. We are now in a situation where the prospect of a returning Trump administration is threatening NATO solidarity, or at the very least a scaling back of the Trans-Atlantic defence pact. We also have a Republican party divided over Ukraine, and at home we have a Labour party divided over Gaza.


We also need to look at how closely tied we are over our trade relations, with the US and UK being major trade partners. However, Trump has vowed to return to his ‘protectionist policies’ including a universal baseline tariff on trade.


Globally we are at a crossroads in our approach to climate change, this requires a coordinated response, especially from some of the biggest economies in the world and historically the US has influenced the UK’s approach to climate issues. With the US a key player in maintaining global stability, and its actions and policies impacting global geopolitics, the UK does feel the impact of this relationship.


Who are the candidates running for the 2024 US election?

It should be no surprise to anyone that for the Republican primary field Donald Trump is the GOP front-runner. Incredibly he is the only president in history to have been impeached twice and has been charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He also faces a further 57 felony counts in an additional 3 criminal cases, including trying to illegally overturn the 2020 election results. Despite this he remains hugely popular with the Republican party and is the GOP front-runner.


For the Democrats, despite swaths of party faithful indicating they would prefer he didn’t run, he is expected to easily win the nomination and has vowed to ‘finish the job’ in what would be his final term. Most recently he has indicated that the only reason he is running is to make sure Trump fails to gain a second term in the White House and has stressed that ‘we cannot let him win’.


While neither of these candidates have been confirmed, and still have the state primaries and caucuses starting in Iowa in January, there are no other candidates in either party who pose a significant challenge to either of them.


Elections in a period of uncertainty

All of this is happening against a backdrop of extreme global volatility, war and the urgent need to tackle climate change. The impact at home on our own domestic and foreign policies as well as on our economy needs to be taken seriously. We are also living in a world of misinformation and deepfakes, driven by artificial intelligence, helping to further polarise our society and deepen the divisions across society. This has been further exacerbated by US style online campaigns becoming increasingly regular within British politics. All of which means our intelligence agencies will have an even more difficult time in defending us against cyber attacks and election manipulation.


Both our countries are facing a period of real uncertainty up to, and beyond, election day, and businesses/organisation needs to prepare now.


We also both face the real possibility of two new governments being formed, both with much to prove and to some extent will be ‘learning on the job’. Having an effective public affairs strategy to engage with our elected representatives will be vital to ensure the needs of business and industry are heard.


If you need help mapping your political stakeholders and developing scenarios around expected outcomes, get in touch to have an initial conversation. A sound strategy will give confidence in managing any changes that lie ahead.

Nicola Strachan. 

Policy + public affairs Strategist. 


Send us an email or give us a call on 01412210707

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