January 24, 2020
The French-American Foundation welcomed Joel Benenson, leading political strategist and founding CEO of the Benenson Strategy Group, at a Policy Breakfast on January 22 in New York City. Benenson ran the award-winning research and polling programs for both of President Obama’s campaigns and has served as a trusted advisor to heads of state, Fortune 100 companies, and leaders of major advocacy institutions and nonprofit organizations.
Benenson engaged in a lively political discussion moderated by Chloe Demrovsky, President and CEO of DRI International and Young Leader ’19, and attended by French-American Foundation Young Leaders, Transatlantic Forum members, Board Members, and other affiliates.
Benenson described his career shift from journalism to advertising, and then to politics, noting the similar skillsets these careers require. Prompted by many questions from the audience, he devoted much of the hour to discussing the 2020 elections. Benenson argued for the importance of campaigns that focus on the future and on the day-to-day lives of Americans. He explored strategies employed by those running for office, mentioning the importance of momentum, and how a person’s campaign story is told by the media.
Benenson answered questions about Trump’s impeachment proceedings and the role of “gatekeepers,” or those who are in the position to check those in power. He also examined the importance of perceived electability, as well as the increasingly influential role of social media compared to traditional media in political campaign advertising.
The French-Amerian Foundaiton’s Policy Breakfasts provide regular opportunities to discuss transatlantic and political affairs with experts in politics, business, and academia.