This is a guest post from Marshall Manson, a globally-minded communications and marketing leader with more than 25 years of experience building and managing businesses. He was most recently a Partner at Brunswick and was previously UK CEO of Ogilvy PR. He is an Advisor to Newswhip.
2024’s year of elections
Here is the least surprising data point of the year so far: When it comes to interest in elections, the U.S. dominates. With the American presidential campaign very much underway and elections for Congress getting into full swing, it’s easy to understand why. After all, who isn’t interested in a political death match between octogenarians, either of whom might just be awake by the time it’s over?
So in the U.S., it’s an election year. But if we take a slightly broader view, it’s actually, as the Washington Post called it, the Year of Elections.
According to the Economist, more than half the world’s population in at least 76 countries will go to the polls. Among the most potentially significant include Taiwan (in just two weeks), Indonesia, India, the UK, South Africa, and the U.S. We’ll almost certainly see the first female president of Mexico. Finland votes on 28 January, in what will surely be the world’s most inhospitable polling day.
These are hugely significant elections with massive consequences for the future of democracy, the global economy, and the potential for wider armed conflict. Populism, nationalism, and authoritarianism will likely remain significant and worrying forces. We’ll see the role of generative AI in political campaigning at scale for the first time.
For anyone working in any professional role, these elections are going to influence the news, economy, business conditions, and, by extension, your work. They will influence content planning for brands and coverage plans for newsrooms. And they will certainly shape the business and economic climate, and therefore need to be part of the calculus for CEO, CFO, or head of strategy.
To make that a little easier, I assembled a Quick Reference Guide for this year’s elections. The list includes just about all of the elections that I thought might be even remotely important, although I’ve left out a few of the most authoritarian and several others that felt less significant. NewsWhip will be doing monthly updates of the top stories and narratives from each of the world’s biggest elections as they approach, as well as the candidates that are driving attention with the media and public, so make sure to stay tuned for those throughout the year.