The US Elections 2020

The Issues at Stake for the Marketing World

About This Report
The upcoming US election will determine the direction for technology policies that will have a profound impact for marketers. This report will lay out scenarios for what marketers can expect in several key policy areas in 2021 and beyond.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The outcome of the 2020 election will have broad effects on the marketing industry in six key areas: federal privacy policy, the flow of international data, antitrust regulation, moderation of content, artificial intelligence (AI), and broadband access.

Which election scenarios are likely?

Three scenarios have reasonable odds of happening: a Biden election with a split Congress; a Trump election with a split Congress; or a Biden election with a Democrat-controlled Congress.

How will the results of the election influence federal data privacy laws?

Congress is moving toward passing a federal privacy law in the new Congress. The shape and timing of the law, however, will be very different depending on which party is in the majority. A Democratic majority in both houses of Congress may leave states the option to maintain tougher laws than federal policy and may give individuals the right to bring complaints directly, while a Republican bill would be more limited.

How have the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests changed priorities?

Remote work and schooling have raised broadband access to a top priority. The trend has also revealed how much personal information is tracked, increasing discussions of privacy laws. The BLM protests raised the issue of systemic discrimination and put algorithmic bias higher on the policy agenda, at least for Democrats.

How will the election influence Big Tech?

There’s a rising consensus that antitrust regulations need to be tightened, but Democrats are more in favor of broad redefinition of laws that would lead to more substantial changes. Liability exemptions for platforms that host or republish content they didn’t create will also come under increasing scrutiny, although it’s unlikely those protections will be fully revoked.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report looks at six key policy areas that affect marketers and how various US election scenarios would influence the government’s approach to them going forward.

KEY STAT: Clear majorities of US adults want more regulation of data, monopolies, and online behavior by companies.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The Issues at Stake for Marketers
  3. Data Privacy Laws
  4. International Data Flows
  5. Antitrust
  1. Freedom of Speech and Section 230
  2. AI and Bias
  3. Broadband Access
  4. Other Relevant Issues
  5. Key Takeaways
  1. eMarketer Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Grace Briscoe
Vice President, Candidates and Causes
Interviewed September 29, 2020
Betsy Cooper
The Aspen Institute
Director, Aspen Tech Policy Hub
Interviewed September 21, 2020
Ernesto Falcon
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Senior Legislative Counsel
Interviewed September 22, 2020
Caitlin Fennessy
International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
Research Director
Interviewed September 29, 2020
Dan Jaffe
Association of National Advertisers
Group Executive Vice President, Government Relations
Interviewed September 18, 2020
Ana Milicevic
Sparrow Advisers
Co-Founder and Principal
Interviewed September 29, 2020
Julian Sanchez
Cato Institute
Senior Fellow
Interviewed September 22, 2020
Danny Sepulveda
Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy
Interviewed September 28, 2020
Stanislava Todorova
Chief Operating Officer
Interviewed October 8, 2020
Nicol Turner Lee
The Brookings Institution
Director, Center for Technology Innovation and Senior Fellow, Governance Studies
Interviewed September 23, 2020

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