1 - The 2016 Election Cycle - What Just Happened?
The 2016 Presidential election will be analyzed for years to come as Donald Trump’s success shattered previous historical accepted norms in terms of how to organize a national general election campaign. This panel will analyze the strategic campaign decisions and external events that had the most significant impact on shaping the outcome of the election. How did the Trump campaign defy the predictions of pollsters and the professional political class and run away with the Republican nomination, then the general election? Looking back, there was so much anecdotal evidence suggesting the likelihood of high turnout in rural areas and strong dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton in key Midwest rust belt regions. What are the key takeaways as the political parties begin preparing for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 general election?
Moderator: Lynne Brown
Panelist: Brian Baker, Joel Benenson, Jonathan Capehart, Stephanie Cutter, Kevin Madden
2 - Role of the Media and the Changed Political Landscape
By all accounts, compared to previous cycles, the mainstream media’s coverage of the day-to-day campaign played a major role in determining the outcome of the 2016 election. Donald Trump effectively used social media to break the mold in terms of how a presidential candidate can effectively bypass the filter of the mainstream media. The cable networks gave the Trump campaign an estimated $2 billion worth of free airtime, giving him an unprecedented advantage against his primary challengers and Democratic rival. How will Trump’s strategy of prioritizing free media coverage over paid media affect future presidential campaigns? Panelists will discuss the trend of voters choosing news that fits their political views, the further fragmenting of media outlets and the future of the mainstream media itself.
Moderator: Steve McMahon
Panelist: Jonathan Capehart, Linda Douglas, Betsy Fischer Martin, JonathanMartin
3 – Trump as the New Face of the Republican Party
Trump’s historic victory completely reshapes the political landscape and the future of the Republican Party. With the presidency and control of Congress, Republicans now have the ability to pursue a policy agenda that has a much different ideological focus compared to past Republican Administrations. The issues that drove rural, white, less-educated Americans to the polls – immigration, trade, Obamacare – are likely to be the first policy issues addressed in the Trump Administration. This panel will discuss the long-term political implications for the Republican Party now defined by a more isolationist, anti-elitist policy agenda. Will establishment pro-business, free trade, defense hawk Republicans challenge Trump and the new paradigm? Is the Republican Party changed forever?
Moderator: Kiki McLean
Panelist: Brian Baker, Ron Christie, Rob Collins, Kevin Madden
4 - Where Does the Democratic Party Go From Here?
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, the Democratic Party now faces the prospect of a Trump Presidency and two years with Republican control of Congress. In addition, the party faces a splintered political base consisting of the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren anti-trade and anti-Wall Street outsider wing – and establishment Democrats more in the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton mold. Will Trump’s ascendency on a populist anti-establishment message push the party further to the political left? This panel will discuss the challenges the Democrats face in bringing about party unity. How will the party acknowledge the rift, and work to bring this progressive, millennial block back into the fold?
Moderator: Kevin Madden
Panelist: Joel Benenson, Stephanie Cutter, Kiki McLean, Steve McMahon
5 - Forecasts
Now that the campaign is over, what are the immediate policy priorities for President-elect Trump? Does President-elect Trump really have a chance of uniting a divided country? Who are the likely cabinet choices and key policy advisers in a Trump Administration? What will the relationship be between Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan? Will congressional Democrats and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer be able to work together on any policy initiatives with the new administration? This panel will focus on how the first 100 days–and first year–of this presidency will play out from both a policy and political perspective.
Moderator: Hope Warschaw
Panelist: Ron Christie, Rob Collins, Stephanie Cutter, Jonathan Martin, Kiki McLean, Steve McMahon