The big themes in 2024: elections, antitrust and shadow banking.

Andrew here. As we look ahead to the new year, the DealBook team has identified about a dozen themes that are likely to become running narratives that could define the business and policy ecosystem for the next 12 months.

Of course, the presidential election, perhaps one of the most polarizing in history, is going to infect every part of the business world. Watch out for which C.E.O.s and other financiers back candidates — and, importantly, which ones go silent — and how companies deal with outspoken employees. Also: Look for some wealthy executives to avoid giving directly to candidates but instead donate to PACs as a shield, of sorts, from public scrutiny.

Another story line that will probably remain part of the water cooler — er, Slack and X — conversation in business is the backlash against environmental, social and corporate governance principles, or E.S.G. This fight has manifested itself into a political battle and increasingly found its way in the past year into a debate about free speech on campuses (another theme that isn’t going away).

Here’s a bit more detail on what we’re looking out for this year.

The U.S. presidential election. The race seems set to come down to a rerun of 2020, with Donald Trump leading opinion polls to be the Republican candidate despite his mounting legal battles. The big question is how business leaders will respond. Will they coalesce around (and direct their money to) an anyone-but-Trump candidate? Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is leading that race, but she has a long way to go to catch up to Trump. President Biden, who has made a series of consequential decisions on the economy, hopes voters will start to feel an economic upswing to reverse his sagging poll ratings.

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