Decoupling Disconnect

For years, U.S. presidents stumbled to adequately describe the U.S.-China relationship, unclear whether it was cooperation or competition. In the past decade, the messaging has shifted again. Now, China is viewed as a threat. From ratcheting up tariffs and restricting semiconductor exports to banning social media apps and stymying outbound investment, today’s political landscape for U.S.-China relations is vastly different.

Companies across a broad range of industries find themselves playing catch up with policymaking and public sentiment, and mixed messaging over whether the U.S. aims to decouple or just de-risk doesn’t make it easier. Even as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was in China averring it is neither practical nor desirable to completely sever economic ties with China, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel was chastising a U.S. Chamber of Commerce delegation’s friendly-seeming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, President Biden signed legislation forcing a sale of a China-linked social media app and U.S. states aren’t waiting for federal action to crack down on what they view as the threat of Chinese intrusion on their vital interests.

It can all be more dizzying for public affairs professionals than the latest TikTok dance craze as the shifting debate impacts their companies’ ability to raise or invest capital, secure critical minerals and components necessary for the energy transition, utilize emerging advanced technologies, and maintain reliable supply of crucial drug and medical components. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead of the changing China debate.

Tech-No Dance

If you thought you could skip the U.S.-China tech showdown since you don’t have a TikTok account, good luck. This clash goes deeper than a doom scrolling gen-Zer at 2 AM. Start with semiconductors. The Biden Administration has spent the last two years trying to prevent advanced computer chips from reaching China, even as China attempts to build their own chips and global chipmakers warn that decoupling the global chip supply chain from China would be “extremely difficult and extremely expensive.” Now some in the West worry Beijing could dump legacy chips and DRAM—a type of memory chip used in computers—into global markets, undercutting prices in the West and threatening the viability of non-Chinese producers already under pressure to decouple their global supply chain from China.

That decoupling pressures is being felt across the tech industry. Politicians are calling out venture capitalists for financing tech that eventually ends up in the hands of the Chinese military. Intelligence officials are raising alarm over the threat of China’s intellectual property theft. American universities and companies trying to innovate have to dance around their ties to China, including the very personnel they hire. The increasingly chilly conditions across the tech supply chain will impact every company in the global economy.

The Big (Re-)Shore

The growing tech clash is only the leading edge of a broader shift in the global supply chain that began even before COVID, when policymakers—including those on the right—began pushing for ways to secure strategic resources closer to home and ensured American workers could share in the prosperity of producing those resources. COVID accelerated this trend, especially for critical goods like pharmaceuticals, and initiatives like the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act extended the push to semiconductors, AI models, and key components for the energy transition like EV batteries, solar panels, and critical minerals.

Yet reshoring is far from easy, and every company with a stake in the global economy will feel the bumps in the road. Even as the U.S. and Europe try to reclaim their manufacturing prowess, China is flooding global markets with a glut of goods. The tension will likely spur further tit-for-tat escalation, as we’re seeing with President Biden’s calls for higher steel tariffs on China and the EU’s investigation of Chinese electric vehicles. But the supply chain shuffle isn’t only a political chess game—there are practical challenges in decoupling that industry and politicians will soon run into headlong. Or already have. The Biden Administration is figuring out that the critical minerals and metals needed for the technology at the heart of their aspirational energy transition, like solar panels, wind turbines, and battery technologies, are largely stuck under Chinese soil or control while remaining off limits to mine here at home. Meanwhile, American solar panel producers are pressuring the Administration to enforce the tariff regime meant to protect them from Chinese dumping.

Ties That No Longer Bind

The pressure to de-risk and decouple is starting to fray economic ties between China and the Western world, leaving some companies with hard choices about which side they’ll take. Foreign direct investment in China has dropped to a 30-year low, and scrutiny on outbound investments has led venture capital firms to split off their China operations, while companies with long-time research ties to China are re-thinking their collaboration. Adding to these pressures in the looming threat of military conflict in Taiwan or further encroachments in the South China Sea, both of which could increase scrutiny of any and all business ties between U.S. companies and China.

Washington, meanwhile, has spent the last few years building capacity to legally sever economic ties, from bolstering the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to restricting U.S. funding of emerging tech in China to recent laws that restrict the import of goods made with forced labor in Xinjiang. But the targeted approach has left many holes to plug in the would-be blockade and politicians among other stakeholders are eager to highlight the shortcomings and address them.

States’ Red Scare 

Like many of today’s heated debates, the wrangling over U.S.-China relations is playing out well beyond Washington. State and local officials have raised alarm over land purchases by Chinese companies, and their efforts to deter these purchases sometimes reach far beyond China, impacting buyers even from friendly countries. Many local officials are also pushing through bans on TikTok. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin scuttled a planned EV battery factory over Chinese ownership, in Michigan, voters sacked local officials who signed off on a local Chinese battery facility—both blows to U.S. auto manufacturers’ hopes to blend China’s advanced battery technologies with local production.

The rise of geopolitics at the grassroots level marks an important shift for companies trying to stay ahead on national security issues. While geopolitical watchers keep an eye on world capitals for their smoke signals, today those signals are just as likely to come from state capitals and even town halls, adding a new complexity to an effective geopolitical public affairs operation.

Derisk Your Derisking

Whether your company prefers de-risking, decoupling, or just delaying the inevitable, navigating this new operating landscape requires public affairs professionals to be smart and nimble. Policy attitudes on China aren’t the only area in which conventional wisdom can be overturned in a seemingly rapid manner. If you identify the right stakeholders and understand how to watch them for meaningful but weak signals that the ground may shift. Doing so ensures you not only stay ahead of the curve but shape it. As always, Delve is your partner in building the right information advantage to protect your interests and advance your business and policy objectives, whether they span the globe or are right at home.

The First AI Election?

If you read the news then you’ve noticed the many, many articles these past few months warning that the first AI election in the United States will be an untamable swirl of disinformation that threatens our democracy. The narrative, which a Biden deepfake in the New Hampshire primary strengthened, has captured the minds of numerous policymakers and policy advocates who are pushing legislation across the country to restrict campaign deepfakes and urging regulators to consider new rules around the use of AI in elections.

So are robots replacing the Russian troll factories in spawning out-of-control deepfakes, and will that really shift the outcome of the election? Misinformation, whether driven by bots or not, has become a fixture of campaign cycles for some time. And AI could actually be a boon to campaigns that would otherwise struggle against well-funded opponents. That reality won’t stop the rush to regulate, or the media’s fixation on any instance confirming their bias. Here’s what public affairs professionals preparing to navigate their first AI election need to know.

Lawmakers Rush to Regulate

Whether AI-fueled disinformation is a game-changer or not, many policymakers are hoping they never have to find out. State lawmakers are rushing to regulate the use of deepfakes in elections, with 11 states already enacting laws and another 27 considering legislation. Yet this issue isn’t new: it follows efforts in several states intended to combat election disinformation, starting in California in 2018 and gaining steam after the 2020 presidential race. Federal lawmakers, meanwhile, have introduced their own proposals to limit deceptive deepfakes, and policymakers and activists alike want the FEC to update their regulations to cover deceptive AI uses. Local election officials, meanwhile, are asking Congress for resources to help them combat AI threats.

Will New Deepfake Rules Matter?

The specter of misinformation and disinformation policymakers are racing to contain has haunted us for a number of election cycles. Remember Pope Francis’ alleged endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016? The sprawling pizzagate conspiracy? In 2016, the average American saw one or more fake stories on social media leading up to the election. Indeed, fake photos and videos have long been possible without today’s AI technologies, and simple tools like Photoshop have been effective in duping voters in the past.

Of course, generative AI makes fake content even easier to spin up at scale—especially in the hands of bad actors. But an increase in the supply won’t necessarily change the demand-side economics of election news, like how much election-related content voters consume, how much they care about that content, or how willing they are to be persuaded by anything outside of their partisan bubble. Plus, the hype around the AI threat this year has spurred tech giants to promise more vigilance in their policing of fake content. In other words, fake content may be everywhere this election cycle, but will its impact on election outcomes be noticeably more significant than fake information of years past?

Even if the intensity and scale of disinformation increases due to AI, there’s another side to the equation. Generative AI tools can be a force multiplier for the very people who are supposed to influence the outcome of an election: campaigns themselves.

AI Tech Can Be a Boost for Campaigns

Campaigns run on three things: people, money, and time. But the old campaign adage—that you can always find more people and money, but never more time—may be upturned this year by generative AI. The new tools available this cycle can supercharge much of the monotonous work that campaigns undertake, meaning they’ll need fewer people and fewer dollars to be competitive (our CEO unpacked the possibilities of generative AI in campaigns in an interview with University of Virginia’s Center for Politics last year). This AI boost comes just in time as campaigns struggle to hire and fundraise in this post-covid, politically burnt-out environment.

Generative AI can also help level the playing field among candidates, giving those with fewer resources the ability to create more content, connect with more voters, and better predict voter preferences even without a deep donor rolodex. Of course, for AI to be an equalizer of political opportunities and voices, it must be made available for candidates to use.

Yet if companies issue blanket bans on political use cases, as OpenAI did in their recently updated usage policies, those candidates who most benefit will be incumbents who have traditional financial resources at their disposal. The underdogs will lose out on AI’s force-amplifying technology, while the bad actors will simply turn to jailbroken models or download uncensored, publicly available models that can be trained to do their dirty work. It’s clear technology companies want to avoid getting dragged into another conundrum around liability and content moderation, but the answer to the AI accountability challenge can’t be to run away entirely from transparent, legitimate use cases by campaigns and other responsible actors.

Companies Stuck in the Middle

OpenAI isn’t the only AI company facing a tough decision this election season. Every company building AI models, deploying AI tools, or surfacing AI content to voters is squeezed between the demands of concerned policymakers and stakeholders on one side and those who hope to use AI in campaigns on the other—whether they be bad actors or honest ones. The AI obsession of this election cycle will bring greater scrutiny than ever before to these companies as lawmakers, stakeholders, and the public expect them to police gen-AI content. Expect large tech companies to continue trying to get ahead of the problem and for lawmakers to continue dropping proposals that would require industry to take action against AI misinformation.

Nor are AI companies alone—companies across every industry will need a plan to manage and address misinformation and disinformation as the election heats up and even after the votes come in. Whether your company or client is building an AI product that could be used to influence elections, tracking campaign tech policy issues that impact the bottom line, or using AI tools that could face new election-related rules, you’ll need a plan to survive both the hype and reality of AI’s impact on the campaign season this year.

Public affairs professionals can’t afford a wait-and-see strategy when it comes to the first AI election and how it could shape the policy landscape. Instead, they are deploying a smart playbook to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. At Delve, we can help you separate the policy signal from the campaign noise, whether it is coming from bots or Biden (or Trump or any of the other candidates up and down the ballot).

Rooting for the Insights Hero

The worst day you’ll have as a public affairs professional is the day your CEO or client calls to ask why you missed something big. Your job was to catch the bill that dents the bottom line; to spot those culture war bullets from the left and right flanks; to counsel caution before the picketers line up outside. But you got surprised, and now your boss is on the other line, and you’re quoting your favorite pop star: “Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.”

Swift lyrics aside, being caught off guard is a real threat for public affairs professionals. A recent survey found that nine in ten of them report either missing something important each year or not even knowing whether they missed anything at all. Today’s public affairs environment only makes the threat worse: primary season is stoking partisan fires, the Biden Administration’s shift into campaign mode leaving regulatory debris in its wake, and Trump a single rally or social media post away from unleashing a maelstrom your company or industry has to address.

Yet there’s a way to avoid the surprise, and the unwelcome phone call that follows. As our CEO Jeff Berkowitz outlines it in his latest Forbes column published today: Only robust, methodically rigorous competitive intelligence (CI) can provide the strategic roadmap organizations need to navigate the political roadblocks. But surprisingly, many companies that will invest significant resources in CI for everything from consumer trends and industry innovations to marketing campaigns skimp on such resources for their public affairs operation. Instead of ensuring their public affairs department has the right in-depth insights on the political and stakeholder dynamics affecting their business and policy objectives, the C-Suite ends up calling the department wondering why the company got blindsided.

There’s a way to be the public affairs hero of this story. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your organization makes a culture shift in the way it thinks about public affairs intelligence.

This Isn’t Your Father’s Competitive Intelligence

To convince your organization or clients that political risks are worth taking seriously, start with the bottom line. As Jeff notes in his column:

“In 2013, McKinsey estimated that up to 30% of corporate earnings are at risk ‘from government and regulatory intervention.’ In today’s even more polarized and politicized operating landscape, I think that figure is likely even higher. Ignoring political and reputational risks can be costly.”

Managing political and regulatory risks is especially challenging for today’s public affairs professionals, who face more information than ever before and are expected to respond faster than the refresh of a TikTok feed. Meanwhile, they need to track an ever-increasing set of issues and broadening field of stakeholder voices growing louder and cleverer by the day. Not surprisingly, the same survey noted above found “fear of missing something important” and the “high volume of issues” they need to track are two of the biggest concerns public affairs professionals have today.

This chaotic reality for public affairs professionals is what makes robust, methodologically rigorous CI necessary for every important business decision. Gone are the days when a public affairs old hand could spitball about the way Congress just is. Today’s CI for public affairs must follow trendlines and data spanning more jurisdictions and a wider array of stakeholders while including sources beyond basic legislative trackers and news updates.

The Culture Shift Needed to Leverage CI for Political Risk

To avoid the dreaded phone call about missing something big, you’ll need more than just some team members armed with Google. You’ll need an entire culture shift. Public affairs teams need to be armed with the right insights and know “how to leverage this intelligence in a proactive, strategic manner” that weaves it “into the fabric of decision-making.” A proactive, relevant CI program like this starts with four key steps, as Jeff details in Forbes:

  1. Assess the landscape. You need a comprehensive lay of the political and regulatory land—the opportunities and risks across jurisdictions—to even begin crafting the rest of a research strategy. That external analysis is key, but so is an internal examination of your organization’s vulnerabilities and opportunities.

“Whether it’s a tech firm grappling with data privacy regulations or a manufacturing giant navigating environmental policies, understanding what your risks are upfront is key to crafting a proactive, resilient strategy.”

  1. Map your stakeholders. You need to know the full range of allies, skeptics, and opponents in your political and regulatory battles.

“Effective stakeholder mapping identifies unexpected allies and exposes surprising opponents, then assesses their positions, motivations and the dynamics between them.”

  1. Get smart about friends and foes. Once you know which stakeholders and policymakers matter, it is time to develop a full understanding on them.

“Effective CI professionals dive deeper, ensuring businesses understand policymakers and stakeholders deeply enough to ensure they aren’t just reacting to stakeholders’ moves but proactively engaging with them.”

  1. Build an early-warning system. You need to set up a robust system for monitoring the stakeholders and policymakers you identified in the first steps; a system that “anticipates what’s next, identifies trends and issues before it is too late and surfaces weak signals.”

“Make sure this monitoring program goes beyond the traditional news clips and social media listening, encompassing a broad range of sources like legislative actions and regulatory filings and other relevant materials that may not make the news until it is too late, or not at all.”

How to Be the Public Affairs Insights Hero

No company can afford to take a shoot-from-the-hip public affairs approach in 2024, when elections and AI and any number of black swan events promise to surprise even those with the most experience and best instincts. If you really want to avoid an angry call from your boss or your clients, convince them to invest in a rigorous CI program this year, with deep-dive research and extensive issue and stakeholder monitoring. That will make you the Insights Hero of public affairs.

If getting started feels overwhelming, Delve is here to help. For the past nine years, we’ve helped our clients gain the information advantage they need in their public affairs operations. If you’re interested in chatting with us about building a robust competitive intelligence program to help your company navigate 2024, feel free to reach out.

The Car Crash Election

As the Mack truck of American democracy hurtles down the highway towards November’s election, more and more passengers see the coming pile up but cannot convince the drivers to swerve before it is too late. The two major political parties have seemingly misunderstood the assignment, set to nominate the two oldest men who are the most unpopular outside their bases in a re-match no one wants. The media is more obsessed with potential AI-powered disinformation than they are with getting their own stories straight. And the traditional barometers that tell both passengers and drivers if we’re on the right route are merely fogging up the windshield.

All of these factors present serious challenges to public affairs professionals’ ability to anticipate the outcome and navigate their organizations through the wreckage. In a year some are calling the Super Bowl of elections, the U.S. presidential race looks more like a demolition derby. The world is watching it most closely and struggling to understand its likely impact on the direction of policy at home and abroad. To cut through the noise of the campaign trail and spot the trends that will make or break your company’s future, here’s what you need to know.

Don’t Look Back to Look Forward

Objects in the rearview mirror may be farther from reality than they appear: Policymakers and prognosticators have long looked to traditional economic barometers such as the stock market and unemployment numbers to predict presidential elections. However, as we’ve said before, these indicators no longer match today’s economic reality. With much of the economy today in private rather than public markets and declining labor force participation rates masking job market stress, the CNBC news ticker no longer matches the way Americans feel about their pocket books. Adding to the uncertainty, the typical political barometers—presidential job approval, which party is trusted on key issues, and the generic Congressional ballot—have also lost their predictive power in recent elections. These indicators that were once the signal have become the noise. That’s in part because there are fewer and fewer swing voters as the electorate has become more nationalized as parties have become tribes.

Incumbent vs incumbent can’t be found on the road map: Incumbency was another strong predictor of presidential elections but, this year, it’s complicated. The last time America saw a rematch between two presidents was 1892, as certified Friend of Delve Matt McDonald noted in The Wall Street Journal. He points out that since presidential incumbents are already well defined in voters’ minds, they follow a well-worn path to re-election: define their challenger before they can define themselves. President Bush exposed Senator John Kerry as a flip-flopping narcissist with a record of poor national security decisions, and President Obama leveraged Mitt Romney’s private equity past and 1950s throw-back demeanor to make him unpalatable. But defining Donald Trump as anyone other than the star of his own reality show we’ve watched live these last eight years will be difficult for the Biden campaign. Instead, this year’s election will likely be won by the candidate who best activates their base’s ire against their opponent to drive turnout while everyone else stays home.

Swerving Right and Left on Hairpin Curves

The great party realignment continues apace: With the old rules out the window, you’ll need a new rulebook to interpret this election, and it starts with the huge shift underway in American politics. Here’s the short version: As populists have completed their ascendance on the right, wealthier, college-educated voters are shifting away, often to the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, many nonwhite voters without a college education, once a core voting bloc for Democrats, are being chased away by progressives pushing the Overton Window further leftward while Trump’s newly-populist Republican Party lures them in. This realignment is scrambling the state party calculus. Once robust Republican Party apparatuses in key electoral states like Michigan and Colorado have been torn apart as populists fill their ranks, with others like Nevada and Arizona thrown off course by MAGA-inspired controversies. While GOP state organizations aren’t alone in being disrupted, these developments could hurt GOP turnout mechanics in key battleground states.

Expect a debased election with a photo finish: With so many Americans depressed by choosing between a septuagenarian and an octogenarian, expect many to vote with their feet and stay home. That leaves the parties hyper focused on turning out their most loyal supporters. It’s why Biden made the “obviously political decision” to pause LNG export licensing, along with implementing an onslaught of other environmental regulations, all while shifting his rhetoric on the Gaza conflict. It’s also why the GOP is doubling down on border security demands and Ukraine funding. While it has been true for some time that just a few battleground states decide presidential elections, this year it will be even more true. Trump needs to flip key states that he lost in 2020 even as Democrats push abortion ballot measures to overwhelm his voting base in some of those same states. Companies will need to plan for how they handle the tight, and likely to be contested, results in the offing.

Can America count to three? Given the number of Americans pining for an alternative to Trump and Biden, many pundits wonder if this is finally the year a third-party or independent candidate breaks up the duopoly (we are, after all, in a new age of Trustbusting). The last such candidate to become a serious contender was Ross Perot in 1992, but he registered less than 20% of the popular vote with nary an electoral vote to his name. Another billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, spent millions of dollars studying the path to victory for an independent candidate and ultimately concluded the Democratic nomination was his best bet. If well-known billionaires lack resources sufficient to the task, what chance could a lesser-resourced candidate have? Any third-party candidate running in 2024—be it Robert F. Kennedy or No Labels’ version of a bipartisan dream duo—is more likely to be a Nader-esque spoiler than a real contender. No Labels itself has nearly admitted as much.

Your Political GPS Needs an Upgrade

Absent a black, or at least gray, swan event, Americans will elect either Joe Biden or Donald Trump the next President of the United States, likely in a photo finish. This unpredictability creates uncertainty for public affairs professionals who need a roadmap for the future policy direction of the U.S. and the world. With an election this year as unpredictable as driving in a dense fog, companies can prepare by building a strong understanding of the emerging debates and candidates, engaging quickly with the stakeholders who will shape the policy debate before and after the election, and deploying an early warning system to analyze and track the weak signals that foretell the risks or opportunities their companies will confront this year and beyond.

Don’t Roll the Dice

The classic adage from the board game Risk is never to fight a ground war in Asia—adversaries will attack from all sides and your small plastic armies will fall quickly. Your companies may not be sending troops (real or plastic) into battle, but the spirit of this time-tested board game (and real life) rule still rings eerily true: Don’t get surrounded by your adversaries.

The bad news for most CEOs is that it’s too late. Every company and industry today is increasingly encircled by a line-up of challenges more diverse and fast-changing than public affairs professionals have ever encountered: A stakeholder economy where corporate decisions are inspected under the TikTok microscope and viral boycotts are just a hashtag away. A polarized political environment where the twin tides of populism and progressivism make every commercial decision political and where companies must adapt to both the red state and blue state versions of reality. Geopolitics where many are rethinking globalized trade and key power centers are contemplating divorce.

The good news for CEOs is you can still deploy the public affairs equivalent of Special Operations Command to save the operation. As our CEO recently argued in Forbes, to protect its interests and advance its objectives against pressures from all sides, your company should hire a Chief Political Risk Officer, or CPRO. Here’s what you need to know to make the case for a CPRO in your organization.

Why you need a Chief Political Risk Officer

Don’t we already have people for political risk? Maybe, but too few companies have someone like this. As our CEO explained, the CPRO is “a senior executive position that owns political and reputational risk management and has a seat at the C-suite table.” That’s different than the people you may have for geopolitical advice (as many companies increasingly do), who zero-in on country-to-country relations, because the political uncertainty today is deeper than that. You may also have government relations staff. But as our CEO explained, too few companies “empower these professionals to ensure their business strategy is proactive, resilient and adept at managing the intricacies of today’s politically charged business environment.”

A CPRO is different because they have a seat in the C-Suite where they can “dissect and interpret the political landscape” and hold real sway in business decisions as they help their company “anticipate shifts, mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities” before the damage is done.

Can’t my firm fly beneath the political storm clouds? Not anymore. As state and local politics and government grow more heated and complex, and as stakeholders increasingly scrutinize every business large or small, political risk is no longer “just the province of multinational corporations.” Nor is it a one-and-done deal. Camilla Cavendish, who was policy director for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, calls the state of affairs today one of “rolling crises” that means “government relations is no longer a backwater department,” particularly since, at every level, “governments are becoming more interventionist” across a broadening range of industry sectors.

Is political risk really that big of a deal? Absolutely. While political risk can be hard for companies to quantify on their balance sheet, studies provide a stark reminder that it’s a huge part of the bottom line. One study found up to 30% of earnings are at risk “from government and regulatory intervention.” Another determined effective government relations reduces the misallocation of company resources by 22%. If close to a third of your firm’s earnings are on the line, why wouldn’t you place a seasoned team member in a senior executive position to ensure your organization navigates political and reputational risks smartly?

Add these skills to your CPRO job listing

Gets ahead of policymaking before it’s too late. Government can have a profound impact on a company’s ability to operate. Today’s politics are increasingly swept up in the twin tides of populism and progressivism, neither of which has sympathy for business but both of which are shaping policy across a number of industry sectors and business interests. An effective CPRO has an acute awareness of how the political and policy landscape impacts operations, supply chains, and market opportunities and ensures your voice is heard in policy debates before it’s too late.

Steers the company clear of reputational hazards. With today’s heightened consumer activism, the CPRO’s role in decision-making is crucial, as brand equity—a valuable and hard-to-rebuild resource—can be easily damaged, with real and lasting financial costs. A good CPRO understands we are living in a post-Bud Light era in which anyone can be a Target, so having his or her counsel from the beginning can safeguard your company’s brand and reputation.

Leverages government policy objectives for the firm’s best interest. Government and industry are becoming more and more intertwined. From green infrastructure investments to rebuilding strategic manufacturing capacity to revitalizing downtown areas, a sharp CPRO can make crucial connections between policymakers’ objectives and your business interests, resulting in valuable incentives like tax abatements, loan guarantees, and other financial and reputational boosts.

Those who are ahead of the curve get to shape it

As the wise sage Vizzini warned, don’t fall “victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is, ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia,’” but a close contender of which is don’t navigate a complex political landscape without the acumen of a seasoned public affairs professional. Avoiding this blunder means your business can not only hold its position but gain ground even as you face pressure from all sides.

Positioning the CPRO at the forefront of decision-making, equipped with the necessary resources, is as necessary as having a CFO for financial stewardship or a COO for operational excellence. No business would operate without the latter two in place. In today’s operating environment, the same should be said for a Chief Political Risk Officer.

The revolution will not be computerized

Here’s What You Need To Know
If you are a public affairs professional in any industry, you should know by now that artificial intelligence (AI) and how it is regulated will impact the company or industry you represent. Even if your organization chooses to skip the AI revolution (good luck), your competitors, vendors, customers – even activists who scrutinize your company – will join it.

Revolutions can get messy and information comes at a premium for those in the trenches –especially in a policy fight as fast-moving and pervasive as AI regulation. You are likely familiar with some of the top stories in this AI fight – election disinformation bills, copyright lawsuits, labor concerns, and potential bias in AI models – but behind the scenes is an entire world of policymakers racing to pass hard-hitting, highly-prescriptive mandates and a growing range of stakeholders working equally hard to shape the debate before many firms are paying close attention.

To ensure you can navigate the AI debate in 2024 and understand how it will impact industries far from the tech sector, the analyst team at Delve has identified five key AI trends to watch this year. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead of the debate, and you can download the full report at Delveinto.AI.

5 Key AI Trends To Watch In 2024

The Year of Agency Action. After sitting through 9 Senate AI listening sessions last fall, many lawmakers are ready to get their hands dirty with some AI legislating. Yet the chances of major tech legislation moving forward in this election year are slim. Instead, expect federal and state agencies to leap into action. 23 federal agencies have a laundry list of 150 tasks to tackle in 2024, thanks to President Biden’s AI executive order, and state agencies are taking action as well, particularly if state legislators pass a growing wave of AI bills this spring. Sharp public affairs professionals will keep an especially close eye on Washington’s independent agencies, such as the FTC, CFPB, and SEC, where ambitious Biden-appointed agency heads are using existing legal authority to advance restrictions on the use of AI, with Rite Aid learning the hard way what these agencies can already do.

States won’t wait for the Moses of Milford. Connecticut Sen. James Maroney (D), whose district includes the town of Milford, led efforts among state lawmakers to coordinate data privacy bills. Now he has organized more than 100 legislators representing more than 30 states to coordinate common legislative language on AI. When Maroney arrives with his digital tablets, they could be a game-changer across state capitals, adding to what is already shaping up to be a tidal wave of AI bills around the country. Keep an eye on courtrooms as well, where judges may address questions lawmakers are not ready to tackle. Their rulings could upend critical business practices in the AI space, or so The New York Times hopes they do.

EU-sier said than done in Europe. EU officials proclaimed victory on the AI Act in December, but getting everyone on board with the final language may be easier said than done. Some member states worry the prescriptive rules planned for advanced AI models could hinder the development of a home-grown, European AI industry, something French President Emmanuel Macron and the leading European AI companies want. Plus, an expected surge by the populist right in EU parliamentary elections this summer could further complicate the AI policy picture in Brussels. Across the channel, Labor’s anticipated win in UK elections will likely shift that government’s views on AI regulation.

Tech’s family feud goes public. California’s earthquake watch should be on full alert as fault lines multiply within Silicon Valley’s tech sector. Issues like open source, the existential risk posed by AI, and the distribution of compliance requirements along the AI supply chain are splintering the tech industry. As industry players lobby policymakers on these issues, expect the money they spend and the influence they wield to draw serious media scrutiny, as some tech-backed advocates are already learning.

Transparency will be a hidden cudgel. Powerful stakeholders are joining the AI debate, and transparency will increasingly be their weapon of choice. From labor advocacy to civil rights to consumer data privacy, organizations are making their voices heard in Washington and other capitals. Many lawmakers want to give them a helping hand with a proposed suite of transparency mandates for AI companies. When this transparency is enacted, either through legal mandate or company concession, regulators could use disclosed data to enforce legal requirements or pressure companies to make voluntary changes. Powerful advocacy groups will do the same—and where there aren’t formal transparency rules on the books, they could do their own pressure-testing of any AI tool that hits the market. Expect those results to be made very public.

Enlist now, before the AI revolution conscripts you

If you thought the dozens of elections around the world were the only big public affairs developments in 2024, think again. With so many powerful interests across so many jurisdictions working to shape AI policy this year, keeping track of the AI space is critical for any public affairs professional working in any industry.

It may be easy to track the top 10% of key AI policy developments that reach the headlines, but the law of the public affairs universe means it is something in the other 90% that will impact your interests the most. That’s why we launched Delveinto.AI, where we offer deep-dive risk assessments and daily AI policy and stakeholder tracking across key jurisdiction like Washington, state capitals, Brussels, and beyond. It is the most comprehensive, up-to-date picture you’ll find covering the AI regulatory and stakeholder world.

Head over to Delveinto.AI now to download the full report on these five key trends, and receive a free trial to the daily tracking. You can also reach out to our team directly for a briefing on how the AI policy debate will unfold in 2024.

Monumental Moves

Here’s What You Need To Know
Washington was shaken in mid-December by billionaire Ted Leonis’ announcement that his Monumental Sports will move two major sports franchises – the Washington Wizards and the Capitals – to a new $2 billion taxpayer-backed arena and entertainment complex in northern Virginia. The announcement came amidst rampant crime and waning office occupancy dampening the allure of the teams’ current home in downtown DC, an all too familiar concern across the country.

Facing higher crime, lower foot traffic from office workers, and progressive policies increasing labor and other costs of doing business, major retailers and other businesses are increasingly voting with their feet when it comes to urban investments. While corporations voting with their feet is not new, as our CEO noted in a recent Forbes column, the decision is more fraught for companies when today’s “political climate is fraught with chaos, polarization and unprecedented geopolitical uncertainties” even as “the ease of digital activism empowers stakeholders to voice their concerns and apply pressure more swiftly than ever before.”

In this new reality of the stakeholder economy, companies must consider the extent to which should they just pull up stakes for a better environment versus staying and fighting to improve the one they’re in. What do companies owe communities versus their shareholders and employees, and if the answer is just to leave bad business environments, how long until there’s no place left to go?

These are the questions facing public affairs professionals as we enter 2024, where many of these issues – crime, racial justice, worker treatment, and the economic future of urban cores – could enter the campaign debate. Here’s what you need to know to navigate these pressures effectively.

How Downtown Booms Went Bust

In the two decades leading up to the pandemic, downtowns boomed as young professionals were attracted by the proximity to numerous amenities like entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, and gyms, which allowed them to live, work, and play within a few blocks. In fact, this migration led to a population increase in nearly 80% of America’s major downtown districts in the 20 years before Covid hit, causing a widespread urban revival.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic changed downtown realities, shifting workers from office to home and emboldening progressive efforts to reshape relationships between employers and employees. These efforts dramatically increased minimum wages, added burdensome rules regarding employment practices, and made it more difficult to start and run a business in many cities even as Covid cleared out offices and drove the rise in remote and hybrid work, emptying many downtowns of office worker foot traffic critical for maintaining stores and restaurants.

At the same time, a post-George Floyd racial reckoning led to what now appears to be an overcorrection in criminal justice practices. Emptier downtowns, social unrest, and lax practices by progressive prosecutors and undermanned law enforcement have led to increased violence and emboldened organized retail crime. That’s left major retailers and other businesses finding it harder and harder to remain in urban centers as costs rise along with the danger to their property and employees.

Should Businesses Stay Or Should They Go?

It was in this context that Monumental Sports decided to move to northern Virginia, and the company is far from alone. Across the country, numerous retailers and other businesses are closing stores or shifting headquarters due to worsening business climates.

While these moves might be the correct immediate business decision, they may come with longer-term costs. Just as some Wizards and Capitals fans feel betrayed, so too do consumers, community stakeholders, and others who are left behind when retailers close stores and businesses leave for friendlier climes. They and the elected officials who represent them could have long memories, hindering potential returns or re-openings.

It also remains to be seen if voters recognize elected officials’ role in these business exits if companies do not speak out. Indeed, while political engagement can be complicated for businesses, if they do not speak out about the impact of policymakers’ decisions and actions, who will? And if no one does, how long will it take for urban centers to return as hubs of economic opportunity?

The Right Playbook For Stakeholder Engagement

Companies cannot afford to wait for the economic, social, and political debates regarding urban centers to play out. They should shape them with active engagement of both policymakers and stakeholders to ensure the policies and practices benefit businesses and the communities in which they operate. Successful engagement requires getting smart first by:

  • Thoroughly understanding the political and reputational risks and opportunities the business faces within or across jurisdictions, and what external factors like policy changes, societal trends, and geopolitical developments may be driving or influencing those risks and opportunities;
  • Comprehensively mapping the companies’ internal and external stakeholders, analyzing their interests, intentions, and influence levels to deeply understand the individuals and groups with a vested interest in the company’s activities, from customers to advocacy groups;
  • Connecting these external factors with the company’s core values, purpose, and mission, because companies are most effective at stakeholder engagement when they connect their principles with stakeholder and societal interests and communicate them transparently and consistently.

With the 2024 elections revving up, companies will face unprecedented scrutiny from policymakers and stakeholders. Companies who leverage the right insights will be able to not just anticipate but shape the debates that impact their interests in urban centers and beyond. Here at Delve, think of us as your compass, helping you build the information advantage you need to protect your interests and advance your business and policy objectives.

A Swift Reputation (Delve’s Version)

Here’s What You Need To Know
America has voted, or at least TIME’s editors, and Taylor Swift is the Person of the Year. If you are in corporate public affairs though, a more apt choice might be Dylan Mulvaney photographed in a certain swimsuit purchased at Target. That’s because while most Americans may agree on Taylor’s version, there are plenty of forces arrayed on both sides of our politics to keep us from shaking off polarization on many other cultural issues. As a result, corporate public affairs professionals are living in a post-Bud Light era in which anyone can be a Target.

In the last six months, we have seen a continuous drumbeat of consumer activism directed at even the most established brands, and unlike past boycotts and activism, it is causing real and lasting reputational damage. In the post-Bud Light era, any company, regardless of size or reputation, can become a target for public backlash and boycotts.

It is all happening as companies learn how challenging it can be to navigate our new stakeholder economy. As our CEO noted recently in Forbes, “the ease of digital activism empowers stakeholders to voice their concerns and apply pressure more swiftly than ever before.” Here’s what you need to know to navigate this newly complex landscape.

Everything Has Changed

Today’s boycotts are far from the grassroots movements of the past. They have evolved into highly professionalized, digitized, and globalized campaigns. Activist groups, often perceived by the media as the ‘Davids’ in a battle against corporate ‘Goliaths’, are increasingly well-resourced and highly coordinated. This shift means that any public relations crisis is not just a local or isolated event but can quickly gain global attention. Any misstep by an organization can become a catalyst for these well-prepared groups, who may have been waiting for just such an opportunity to advance their broader agendas. This reality means companies must be acutely aware of potential issues into which they could inadvertently step, because once the rage machine spins up, the damage has been done.

It’s not just about defending against fair criticism; in today’s environment, scrutiny is inevitable, and attacks can come regardless of their merit. Take the attacks against companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Dior for perceived support of Israel after the October 7 attacks. This new era of the stakeholder economy means constant scrutiny from a widening range of actors, including employees, investors, consumers, policymakers, the media, and beyond.

We Are Never Getting Back Together

Historically, even high-profile boycotts, such as those against Nike or Chick-fil-A, often fizzled out without long-term damage to the companies. Now, the reality has changed dramatically. Modern boycotts, fueled by social media and global connectivity, can inflict lasting damage on a brand’s reputation, severely impacting their bottom line and stakeholder relationships in an enduring way.

Today, the sting of boycotts can cause real and lasting damage. Just this year, Anheuser-Busch’s sales fell another 13.5% in the third quarter and profits fell 29% “as an ongoing backlash” over the company’s ill-fated outreach to a transgender influencer. Target saw a big drop in sales during the two quarters following “strong reaction” against its Pride merchandise – its first sales declines in six years. Now X, the company formerly known as Twitter, faces up to $75 million in lost ad revenue over allegations it has not done enough to police anti-Semitic hate speech on its platform.

This shift is partly due to the changing nature of brand equity in today’s fractured media environment. In a landscape with reduced brand loyalty and heightened consumer awareness, a company’s reputation has become more critical and valued than ever before. Once a reputational hit occurs, it can disrupt an organization’s relationship with consumers, employees, the media, and the public for the long term. These impacts are not just superficial or transient; they cause real, quantifiable damage to a company’s ability to operate.

I Knew You Were Trouble

In today’s hyper-connected and fast-paced business environment, waiting for a crisis to strike before acting is fraught with risk. Organizations must adopt a proactive stance, constantly monitoring for weak signals that could signify potential issues on the horizon. As we’ve advised before, public affairs professionals need a seat at the table in their organization’s strategic discussions to ensure their insights are incorporated into enterprise risk assessments.

That seat at the table can’t get offered only after a crisis hits. Having public affairs professionals armed with the right insights and experience anticipating and avoiding crises is critical to ensuring business decisions have political and reputational risk analysis baked into them from the start, not towards the end.

To ensure they have the right insights at that table, those public affairs professionals keen understanding of global – and local – sentiments informed by robust, systematic assessments of the policy and political landscape and the full range of stakeholders who can shape it. The time to make friends or mitigate opposition is not after a crisis hits, but before the drumbeat of a boycott or public backlash begins. Seasoned crisis communicators know how to leverage those assessments to strategize on the communication channels and messages most likely to resonate correctly with the public and stakeholders in various potential crisis scenarios.


In navigating the treacherous waters of modern consumer activism, preparation is key, but remember, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Delve acts as your partner in anticipating and understanding this uncertainty. Delve can bring rigorous and systematic analysis, crafted by expert risk analysts, to the crisis planning work by your internal public affairs operation and external advisors. With Delve, you’re not just preparing for potential crises; you’re equipping your team with the insights and tools you need to anticipate risks, ensuring your organization remains a step ahead in a world where proactive management is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for survival.

2024 Is Coming

Here’s What You Need To Know
83 elections in 54 countries. That’s how many campaigns public affairs professionals will have to navigate in 2024. In the U.S., that will include at least 6,477 elections for everything from President, Congress, Governors, and other state-level positions, plus tens of thousands of county, municipal, and special district positions (fun fact: America has more than 500,000 elected officials). Even though they get far less notice, these down-ballot races – from statewide constitutional offices to local officials and even more obscure regulatory commissions – hold significant power over a wide range of industry sectors and policy areas.

Despite this major impact, the media will focus on polling in marquee races and political dynamics driving the parties’ efforts to turn out voters, which often have little to do with how newly elected officials will approach business policies or industry regulation. That leaves public affairs professionals scrambling to properly assess the candidates and anticipate the policy debates to come. Here’s what you need to know to avoid the scramble.

Down Ballot Doesn’t Mean Off the Radar

Down-ballot races are crucial to shaping everything from antitrust litigation to investment climates to environment regulations and beyond. Take state Attorneys General, like Ohio’s Dave Yost who is suing pharmacy benefits managers, or state Treasurers, such as West Virginia’s Riley Moore or Utah’s Marlo Oaks who are pressuring asset managers and banks over ESG commitments. As we noted last year, these officials’ policy activity has made campaigns for these offices far more robust.

Similarly, local and county governmental bodies directly impact a diverse array of business operations. County and municipal officials are placing moratoriums on solar or wind projects, restricting AI use in hiring, hiking minimum wages for restaurant workers, banning single-use plastics, and much more. As a result, even previously obscure bodies like state public utility commissions are seeing an uptick in campaign action as more stakeholders seek to shape the work of these bodies.

For businesses and the public affairs professionals who guide them, a deep understanding of who is running for these offices as well as who and what shapes candidates’ views on your issue set is crucial. Even if you do not have immediate matters before them, their campaign rhetoric and actions once in office will impact the policy landscape when you do.

What Happens in Primaries Doesn’t Stay in Primaries

As we’ve highlighted previously, the marketplace of ideas does not strictly adhere to candidates’ win-loss records. Primary candidates’ influence in particularly can surpass their electoral outcomes. Their policy proposals, whether innovative or disruptive, can shift the political landscape and resonate with voters and politicians, irrespective of election results. As the twin tides of populism and progressivism shape each party’s policy agenda, the country’s direction in turn is being molded by these two extreme ends of the political spectrum. This ripple effect of primary contenders’ ideas, coupled with the potential for candidates who come up short at the polls to secure appointments to influential government roles, shows why it is important for public affairs professionals to closely monitor and understand the ideological currents shaping campaigns early in the election cycle.

Ballot Battle Royale Goes Beyond Candidates

Ballot initiatives and referenda are key yet often overlooked elements of elections. Both parties use them strategically to mobilize their voter base and influence the electorate on contentious issues. Earlier this month in Ohio, Democrats got a test run of a ballot measure to enshrine reproductive rights into the state constitution, and its success quickly prompted activists to set their sights on other states to help boost Democratic turnout in 2024. Republicans have leveraged this strategy as well.

Yet initiatives are not just about leveraging social and cultural issues to spike turnout. They can directly impact businesses on major issues like environmental and labor regulations. Activists and industry advocate alike use them to bypass  or overturn polarized legislatures. While early in the cycle, already initiatives have been filed on critical issues like healthcare, taxation, and energy. Businesses need proactive engagement on which initiatives or referenda may reach next November’s ballot – and who is fueling interest in them.

The Media Is More Heat and Noise than Light or Insight

The mainstream media’s penchant for “horse race” journalism, which concentrates on poll standings and campaign strategies, poses a significant challenge for public affairs professionals. The emphasis on political rivalries and the dynamic of who’s leading or lagging comes at the expense of substantive policy discussions and simplifies complex political landscapes. Reporting that sidelines nuanced policy impacts and long-term consequences of election outcomes leaves public affairs professionals in a media environment rich in speculation and punditry yet lacking in the analysis they need to thoroughly assess candidates and their plans to govern.

Likewise, most of today’s media have aligned along ideological lines to cater to particular audiences, with biased reporters driving narratives that resonate with their selected news consumers while omitting or misrepresenting contrary information. Just as many deride politicians of leveraging redistricting to “choose their voters,” media companies leverage agenda-driven worldviews to cultivate their reader- or viewership, creating echo chambers where complex issues are reduced to binary debates. This environment makes it difficult for public affairs professionals to obtain facts and meaningful analysis.

Now Is the Time to Find Your Friends and Understand Your Opponents

Right now, many public affairs professionals are in the midst of annual budgeting processes to ensure they have the necessary resources to protect and advance their organization’s interests as the 2024 campaign unfolds. At Delve, our well-honed playbook helps you identify and secure the resources you need for public affairs success, starting with a risk assessment on which issues and jurisdictions are likely to pose the greatest challenges (or opportunities) and stakeholder mapping that surfaces potential allies and likely opponents among candidates as well as other groups and individuals shaping the campaign debate and the policymaking that follows.

Putting your public affairs operation at an information advantage in 2024 requires a focus that extends beyond top-tier races, recognizing the significant influence of down-ballot positions on policy and regulation and digging deep to remain attuned to the evolving political landscape. To cut through the noise of “horse race” journalism and partisan narratives, public affairs experts need reliable, in-depth analysis from a trusted partner. As you prepare for the coming election cycle, Delve is here to give you a decisive edge and empower you to not just anticipate the future but shape it.

WOE is U.S.

Here’s What You Need To Know
Is Bidenomics a boom or a bust? The U.S. economy reportedly grew at a fast 4.9% annualized pace in the third quarter, “payrolls soared” in September as unemployment remained under 4%, and analysts are raising their economic forecasts. Yet, despite The White House spending the past four months insisting “Bidenomics is working,” Americans remain unconvinced and even the President’s allies worry his economic bear hug has been a “blunder.” What is driving this disconnect should worry every public affairs professional.

While Democrats think it’s a messaging conundrum, the reality is more fundamental: President Biden has overseen what President Trump started: a Washington-Ordered Economy that leverages public funding to advance industrial policies that in turn drive investment. Yet, all that government money flooding the economy has spiked inflation, leaving many Americans treading water.

With Washington’s gaze remaining too long on macroeconomic indicators that do not match Americans’ microeconomic experience, policymakers striving for real economic growth, public affairs professionals trying to shape their thinking, and companies leveraging government incentives may all need to rethink their embrace of Washington-directed investments. Here’s what you need to know to navigate this new economic reality.

Washington’s Economic Barometer Is Broken

While the macroeconomic indicators suggest the economy is “revving up,” most Americans feel run over. That’s because inflation remains high, meaning “a homebuyer’s dollar goes about half as far as it did at the end of 2020,” rent affordability is at its lowest level in decades, and the typical American household is spending about $730 per month more than it did a year ago, even as inflation-adjusted wages have decreased since President Biden took office.

Policymakers, their teams, and the public affairs professionals that shape the Washington debate have long relied on macroeconomic indicators like stock market indices, unemployment rate, and the price of consumer goods like groceries and gasoline to assess the nation’s economy and inform policy decisions. Yet today, two of these three indicators are increasingly disconnected from economic reality.

Indeed, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged in his annual Jackson Hole speech these “uncertainties” leave the Fed and other policymakers “navigating by the stars under cloudy skies.” This disconnect is not limited to the U.S. At the same event, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde warned we are entering a “new age” in which “past regularities may no longer be a good guide for how the economy works.”

Trouble With The (Phillips) Curve

While stock markets often monopolize political attention, the truth, as we noted several years ago, is “The Stock Market Used To Tell Us How the Economy Is Doing. Not Anymore.” That’s in large part because much of the economy now resides within the private markets. Financial expert Greg Crabtree, based on his 100-company model of small and medium-sized private businesses, suggests the ‘real’ economy may already be in a recession, an alarming reality largely overlooked by Washington.

Meanwhile, the conventional fixation on the headline unemployment rate has been losing its relevance for years. We first explained why “the unemployment rate is dead” in an Obama-era analysis and revisited it under Trump. Between a persistent decline in the labor force participation rate, driven by demographic shifts, and under Biden the growth in workers holding multiple part-time gigs, the topline unemployment rate is no longer describes most voters’ reality.

Yet, as highlighted in Chair Powell’s recent speech, policymakers continue to rely on the discredited Phillips Curve, linking employment and inflation even as the modern economic landscape challenges this direct relationship. Low inflation can coexist with low unemployment and strong economic growth, just as low employment currently coexists with rampant inflation.

That leaves consumer prices like gas and groceries as the last compelling economic statistic left standing when it comes to swaying voters. Just as that certainly has implications on the campaign trail, this new reality must also shape policymaking and advocacy in Washington.

Yet Washington Is More In Charge Than Ever

Even as the metrics Washington watches are more disconnected from economic reality, Washington’s influence over the economy has reached unprecedented levels. Elected officials in both parties, corporate leaders, and investors all have embraced a post-COVID era marked by industrial policy initiatives to address supply chain woes, thwart China’s influence, reignite America’s manufacturing base, and address climate change.

While the injection of funds from the government can help mitigate the increased costs and regulatory pressures needed to achieve these policy goals, it requires abdicating corporate autonomy as political agendas become embedded in business strategy. Take for example:

Once government is investing in your sector, expect scrutiny and political pressures to follow. Just as pressure built on firms that took COVID-era assistance, companies taking advantage of today’s government largess can expect elected officials and the public to probe – fairly and unfairly. Indeed, infrastructure developers and cleantech firms with foreign involvement already face pushback for making U.S. investments incentivized by government policies.

Even As Washington Faces Increased Political Chaos

As the “Washington Ordered Economy” unfolds within an era of hyper-polarized governance where commerce is increasingly entangled in political agendas, the scrutiny and pressure on companies will only rise, even as these policies lack certainty. Current laws, especially those rammed through by one party without the support from the other, are susceptible to change or repeal when control of government changes hands. In an era where nearly every election has been a change election, that should give companies real pause.

Business leaders face the daunting task of preparing for heightened scrutiny across diverse jurisdictions, amplified by a broader range of stakeholders and an expanding array of intricate issues, even as they rely on Washington to advance their economic interests in an economy Washington understands less and less. Surviving and thriving in this complex landscape means taking a proactive approach to understanding and mitigating constantly evolving dynamics between government and commerce. Here at Delve, we offer a playbook to do just that.