2016 Elections – WTF!?

The 2016 presidential contest has generated unprecedented levels of interest among political pros and ordinary voters alike. From D.C. to California and almost every corner of the globe — from the halls of Congress and corporate boardrooms to foreign capitals and neighborhood bars — people have observed the race and wondered how we arrived at this point. In the end, many have wound up scratching their heads and asking one simple question, “WTF!?”

It’s a question that is both simple and complicated, and in the coming months Edelman will look to provide answers with our own WTF – the Washington Trust Forum. Consider it a virtual forum for analyzing the forces driving the 2016 elections and identifying the lessons we can learn from the campaigns.

Throughout the campaign season, we’ll provide expert analysis and opinion on some of the most interesting dynamics of the campaign, including:

  • The state of trust in government and other major institutions, and the rising trust gap between elites and ordinary citizens;
  • The changing media landscape and its implications for politics, public affairs and communications;
  • How earned and social media are driving deeper, more authentic levels of engagement;
  • The importance of brands, storytelling and compelling content; and
  • The value, effectiveness and efficiency of micro-targeting and truly understanding your audiences.

We don’t know who will win the presidential election, but we can predict that it will be a fascinating race to watch, with many twists and turns between now and November 8. But we’ll leave you with this one thought – based on this article from May 2000, and this column, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised by this campaign after all.

Matt Wagner is chair of U.S. Public Affairs.