News & Insights

Why companies will cherish controls in the face of a fractious US election

This week, BOLDT hosted an event in London with Bully Pulpit International (BPI) founder Andrew Bleeker and partner Robert Gibbs to examine the implications for business in Europe in light of the upcoming US election.

London – Not so long ago, the prospect of a rematch of Trump versus Biden at this year’s US election would have seemed unthinkable.

There was speculation – which he denied – that Joe Biden would only look to serve for one term, while Donald Trump remained firmly in the headlines, but largely because of a series of legal cases.

Fast forward to March 2024 and the rematch seems to be very much on.

At a series of talks that BOLDT is hosting in Europe this week, we have been hearing from two people with a close-up view of what’s happening in US political circles about what the election runway will look like, and the implications for business in Europe of either man being in power for four more years.

BOLDT joined forces with Bully Pulpit International (BPI) last year. BPI founder Andrew Bleeker and partner Robert Gibbs are both wired-in to what’s happening in US politics. Today they led an event in London, tomorrow they’ll be in Brussels, and then in Berlin on Wednesday.

Andrew was a lead digital marketing strategist on both of President Obama’s election campaigns, and played a senior role in President Biden’s efforts to mobilise voters and fight online disinformation ahead of the 2020 polls. Robert was Obama’s White House Press Secretary and a senior adviser on his 2012 re-election campaign.

Both had stark projections for what the US election result would mean for European companies and global firms doing business in the region. Above all, they underlined a need for companies to seize tighter control of how they show up and what they say.

Robert outlined the prospects for international relations with the US depending on a Democratic or Republican victory, with the latter likely to see spiky geopolitical tensions and severe inward-looking priorities.

What is clear is that this will be a US election like no other. The number of so-called swing states has narrowed to Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania, from the more usual 12 or 13. In states with a large Arab population, the Israel-Gaza conflict may be the determining factor.

Above all, said Robert, the tight margins in such states would see their fates decided particularly by the votes of suburban women, although no-shows would also be a factor.


The considerations for business were that the conventional assumptions of which party would work in the interests in which sectors had largely gone out of the window. If Trump were to win, the next presidency may be a four-year spell during which less can be accomplished via legislation and more would need to get done via regulation – if it got done at all. The tech sector may be in a league of its own in having pressure from either side, and needing to tell its own story to address that, said Andrew.

They concluded that businesses should prepare on three fronts for what will be required once the President is elected and the consequences in Europe become clear:

1. Control your own narrative: while this is always important, the pressures around doing so – when even silence can be seen as a stance or value – are going to intensify. Companies must tell their own story, shape the narrative and build trust.

2. Control and caution must be employed: companies should choose their battles wisely and minimise possible misperceptions around politics, geopolitics and conflicts.

3. Gain greater command over the outlook: in a politically-charged year, every decision demands comprehensive analysis, and the greater the intelligence a business has, the better-equipped it will be to navigate the choppy waters ahead.


Steve Earl, Partner at BOLDT: [email protected]