5 Big Issues Impacting the Print and Promo Industry in 2022

Joe Biden has sat through dozens of State of the Union addresses as a senator, and eight of them as vice president. On March 1, 2022, he delivered his first as the 46th president of the United States. In a departure from recent addresses, the overall mood for this speech was more unified because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That night, while new explosions struck the Ukrainian capital, blue-and-gold lapel pins replaced partisan applause lines in the chamber of the House of Representatives. President Biden’s opening remarks quickly turned to the war overseas, with a stirring rally cry for the free world.

“Freedom will always triumph over tyranny,” Biden said. “President Putin thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over. Instead, he met a wall of strength he never imagined.”

After a long two years, it was something (nearly) everyone in the room could agree on.

Familiar with the ritual of speechmaking, Biden knows what’s at stake. There will be 34 U.S. Senate elections in November, but only nine Senate races will decide who controls the Senate — and Biden’s agenda. Both Democrats and Republicans are paying close attention to the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. Democrats are playing defense in four of those states, while Republicans seek to keep five more.

As it stands, Democrats barely hold the Senate. The chamber is divided 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker. Although the Ukraine emergency gave the two parties a common cause, at its core is a deeply divided Senate. Republicans are hoping to capitalize on voter concerns about spiraling inflation, and analysis shows the current landscape is tipping in their favor.

According to The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, a recent Marist/NPR/PBS poll found that 36% of adults and 37% of registered voters approved of Biden’s handling of the economy; 58% in both groups disapproved. The Fox News poll of registered voters showed 37% approval on the economy and 61% disapproval. ABC News/The Washington Post had 37% approval, 58% disapproval. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that an ABC News poll from February found that Republican congressional candidates have a seven-point edge over Democratic ones among registered voters.

As Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report pointed out, the economy is so important to people that it is likely to “color their answers on that president’s handling of almost any issue, related or not.” Biden talked about the economic growth, job creation, infrastructure investment and wage gains that occurred under his watch (we’ll cover these more extensively in the sections that follow). However, the president’s address marked the start of a politically motivated push to reframe his domestic agenda toward addressing rising prices of, well, everything, and staying ahead of the pandemic, among other priorities.

“I get it,” Biden said in an appeal to voters (and centrist Democrats). “That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.”

From the COVID-19 pandemic and economic aftermath to supply chain issues and labor concerns, there’s a lot to unpack about Biden’s inaugural year and much more to consider going forward. The mood of Biden’s address may have been unified, but the mood of the public is uncertain, even frustrated. Print and promo companies can certainly relate as they search for clues about a possible return to normal conditions. Mainly, when will it happen?

We hope to provide some clarity in Print+Promo Marketing’s 2022 State of the Industry report where we break down five big issues to watch for the rest of 2022. 

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