Public Relations in 2016: Changes in The PR World

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Topic: The Presidential Nomination Contests Post-IA & NH and Program Overview
Date: February 17, 2016

In this informative session, Dr. Lara Brown discusses what strategic and/or procedural factors could matter in the remainder of the nomination process. She also provides the program overview and answers program-related questions.

Panelist:
Lara M. Brown, Ph.D.
Program Director
Political Management Program

Transcript

Bio:
Dr. Lara Brown is the Program Director and an associate professor of the Political Management program at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM). She’s also a distinguished writer who is the sole-author of the recent book titled, “Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants”. Dr. Brown is also a regular contributor to U.S. News & World Report’s Thomas Jefferson Street blog, and is quoted regularly in leading media outlets nationwide.
Dr. Brown previously served as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Villanova University. Prior to returning to academia, she worked as an education policy and public affairs consultant. Dr. Brown also served in President William J. Clinton’s administration at the U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Brown earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph. D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also earned a M.A. in American politics and public policy from the University of Arizona.

Transcript

[Start of recorded material 00:00:28]

Facilitator: Perfect. Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Our webinar will begin in three minutes. Hi, everyone, and welcome to The George Washington University’s webinar. Today, we will get to hear from Dr. Lara Brown, the program director of our Master’s in Political Management Online Program. In addition to obtaining valuable insights about the 2016 Nomination Contest, Dr. Lara Brown will also be providing us with the program overview and taking your questions for our Q&A session. My name is Kira and I will be your moderator. I know everyone is excited to hear from our featured speakers, so let’s go over today’s logistics. Please note our participants’ conference lines are currently placed on mute or listen-only mode to ensure a smoother line of communication, as this presentation is being recorded.

To communicate with me, please type your messages to me via the chat box. It’s the roundish bubble icon that lights up blue when activated. So, if it’s currently not light up, please just activate it. We will begin taking your questions throughout the webinar, so please don’t hesitate to send your questions over to me via the chat box and I’ll bring them to our panelist for the Q&A session. If we’re not able to get through all of your questions within the hour, we will sure get in touch with you after our event. And also, our enrollment advisor will be happy to follow-up with you at a later time on any program-related questions. Now, let’s introduce you to our speaker.

Dr. Lara Brown is the Program Director and associate professor of the Political Management Program, at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management or GSPM. She’s also a distinguished writer who is a sole author of the recent book titled “Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism and Aspirants”. Dr. Brown is also a regular contributor to U.S. News & World Report’s, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, and is quoted regularly in leading media outlet nationwide. Dr. Brown previously served as a [unintelligible 00:08:15] professor in the Department of Political Science, at Villanova University.

Prior to returning to academia, she worked as an Education Policy and Public Affairs consultant. Dr. Brown also served as President William J. Clinton’s administration, at the U.S. Department of Education. She earned her BA, MA and PhD in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also earned a MA in American politics and public policy, from the University of Arizona. Dr. Lara Brown, welcome.

Lara: Thank you, Kira. Appreciate the introduction and I appreciate all of you for spending your lunch hour with us, here, at the Graduate School of Political Management. So, today, what we’re really going to spend a little bit of time talking about is trying to understand where these nomination contests are in these Post-Iowa and New Hampshire phase of the primaries. What has happened, as far as many of you know, we’ve had two contests – the first one being a caucus, the second one being a primary. We are heading into having a primary, in South Carolina for the Republicans, on Saturday, a caucus for the Democrats, in Nevada, on Saturday. And then, next week, the Democrats and Republicans swap states and, by the end of February, all four of those states will have voted on both sides of the isle. And the race really gets underway in a tremendously rapid way starting March 1st, which this year is what we are calling “Super Tuesday”.

So, let me just take a minute to look at where the Iowa caucuses landed in terms of the Democrats, and then we’ll switch to the Republicans, then we’ll look at New Hampshire and then we’ll talk about all of the implications. If you have been following these contests, one of the things that is true is that secretary Clinton has long been seen as inevitable. She is somebody who the vast majority of people, including myself, believed would win the Democratic nomination, and she has spent years sort of preparing for this moment. As some of you may recall, she did lose the nomination to, then, Senator Barack Obama, in 2008. And really, in many ways, ever since he became president, she has been kind of what we call the heir apparent. She has been waiting in the wing for his two terms to be through, so that she could step up and really kind of be the Democratic nominee to then succeed him and extend his legacy.

She seems to be having a bit of a difficulty doing this, and many people are talking about how her campaign resembles her campaign in 2008 and that she’s making many of the same mistakes. There is some truth to that, certainly, her experience and message are not necessarily plain to the crowd, who are seeming to want a much more revolutionary message than one she is putting forward, which is essentially, “Let’s just keep going down the road that President Barack Obama has taken us on.” And, certainly, her tone and really kind of her background, also, in some ways, appear to be at odds with what the current moment seems to want, which is a lot of outsider energy. So, even though Bernie Sanders has actually been in Political Office for over 40 years of his life, because many people didn’t know much about him, he is perceived, oddly enough, as something of an outsider.

In this situation, Hillary Clinton is made to be the kind of public insider, as I said, something of a successor to President Obama, and also as somebody who really would be able to continue the country down the road that he has taken. Now, interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to be all that appealing, especially to young people. So, what I’ve done on the next couple of slides is just put together some of the Entrance Poll results. In Iowa, you actually take Entrance Polls rather than Exit Polls, that’s just a nuance of surveying. But these Entrance Polls, essentially, you know, suggested by enlarge that women, in Iowa, who did vote in the Democratic caucuses were voting for Hillary Clinton. Men made up a smaller portion of the electorate, only 43 percent, but they were voting for Bernie Sanders.

Young people, who only made up about 18 percent of the electorate, voted overwhelmingly for senator Sanders. And yet, people who are 65 and older shows Secretary Clinton overwhelmingly. So, you can see how this mass starts to work out for all intents of purposes, they tied in the Iowa caucuses. Hillary Clinton did squeak by and, as a result, she also earned a delegate or two more. But some of those delegates, as we’ll talk about later, are super-delegates on the Democratic side, and those super-delegates can actually change their mind. They are not bound to the state results. They are, in fact, party leaders and elected officials. So, right now, if you look at just kind of the super-delegate race, Hillary Clinton is far and away, best [seen] Bernie Sanders – she’s had over something like 200 endorsements and as a result with that goes the super-delegate vote.

But those super-delegate votes may not stay with her, and when you look at the actual pledged votes in both Iowa and New Hampshire, you will see how incredibly close they are. The thing that I think is important in thinking about Sanders is it is true that he is winning the support of those, at least in Iowa, who are very liberal, and she was winning the support of those who were moderate. He essentially won those who were first-time caucus goers and Independents, she, on the other hand, won those who had been Democrats, prior to caucus night and, in fact, had attended a caucus before. Some of these splits look similar to what happened with Barack Obama, in 2008, and that’s why people are making the comparison.

Obama was able to bring both young people and many first-time caucus goers to the polls, and that ended up hurting Hillary Clinton, in 2008. It’s also hurting her now. The most sort of polarizing splits in all of the Entrance Poll Data were those last two statistics on the slide about him, essentially, wining voters who wanted – that, to them, the most important candidate trait was honesty and trustworthiness – that was about 24 percent of those who voted in the caucus and they split 83 percent for Sanders, 10 percent for Clinton. She, on the other hand, really earned the votes of those people who wanted the candidate with the right experience. They made up about 28 percent of the electorate in Iowa, and she, in fact, garnered 88 percent of those voters’ support.

So, let’s move to the Republicans because there’s a lot to talk about with the Republicans. In some ways, the Republicans are having a much more interesting race. As I said, Hillary Clinton is and has been something of an heir apparent. Many people expect her, in the end, to be able to prevail in the Democratic nomination, though there are some questions about that. We will probably have answers to that come Saturday. The Republicans, on the other hand, appear to have very few answers. I think what we actually see, in Iowa, and was important was to see that Trump didn’t win. In this instance, you saw Senator Ted Cruz, who had a kind of tremendous ground game and the support of evangelicals who made up a substantial portion of the electorate. They were 62 percent of the electorate and 33 percent of them went to Cruz, whereas only 21 percent went to Trump.

And then, what you saw was that this Rubio in Iowa came in third. And, again, a lot of that has to do with organizational advantages, but I think it’s also important – and I’ll speak to this in a minute, when you look at the New Hampshire results – the biggest problem with the Republicans is that, essentially, Cruz and Carson, together, who are appealing to very, very similar voters, they, in sort of the national polls, would make up right around 25 percent of the vote. Trump is appealing to about 35 percent of the Republican votes, and when you combine Rubio, Bush and Kasich, you get about another 35 percent. So, what you essentially have is something of a tie, if you will, between Trump voters, all of the people who would vote for Rubio, Bush or Kasich, and then all of the people who would vote for Cruz or Carson.

And while the Cruz and Carson constituency is a little bit smaller than the other two, what you really can see is that, when you add up all of these numbers and you think about and imagine it being three candidates, you really have, essentially, the outsider in Trump, you would, essentially, have the ideologue in Cruz, and you would have the establishment pick as either the Rubio, Kasich or Bush. And each one of those groups, like I said, the sort of ideologue group, right now, is only polling about 25 percent, the other two groups are polling about 35 percent each, and then there’s about 5 percent undecided. So, if this race could actually get down to three different candidates, there is the possibility that somebody could beat Trump.

The problem right now is there’re simply too many candidates to best Trump, and you’ll see this most obviously in the New Hampshire numbers. But it is important to take a look at Iowa because, in Iowa, Ted Cruz did best Trump. And how he did it was getting now more white evangelicals. There were not as many Independents, they were only about 20 percent of people who considered themselves Independent or undeclared when they came and voted in the Republican caucus, and about 79 percent were, in fact, Republicans. And you can see that Ted Cruz has, in Iowa, won 30 to 25 over Trump in the Iowa caucuses in the Republican race. And yet, when you start to look at those who were independent, you can see that Trump and Rubio interestingly enough split those voters.

So, Trump has kind of a similar phenomenon to Bernie Sanders ,in the sense that first-time caucus goers and those people who were Independents are the people who are essentially voting for Trump. That Republican establishment and those Conservative evangelicals, who make up a large portion of the Southern primaries, really do prefer Ted Cruz. So, you essentially see these three legs of this stool that the Republicans tend to talk about, really all having their own person and some of this becomes, as I said, even more precarious, in some ways, in New Hampshire, but I imagine that the South Carolina primary might look a little bit more like Iowa than New Hampshire, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Let me run back to the New Hampshire primary results for the Democrats. What was surprising to most people was the size of Sanders’ win. Most people expected senator Sanders to win this. His home state of Vermont which he has represented in Congress for years, both as a senator and a house member, is right next door to New Hampshire. New Hampshire tends to like its neighbors, so, obviously, he did very well. People were surprised he did this well. Most people looking at this race expected that the margin would be closer to 10 to 15 percent – this is over a 20 percent margin. Now, the strange part about this is we’ll talk about in a minute, it didn’t really mean that much in terms of delegates, and we’ll get to why delegates matter.

But, for now, what’s important to understand is that, unlike Iowa, in the state of New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders won men, as well as women, and, in fact, his difference between those people who were 65 and over versus the people who were 18 and under, the group that was 65 and older made up a smaller proportion of the electorate. So, in Iowa, they made up 29 percent of the electorate, but, in fact, in New Hampshire, in the New Hampshire Democratic race, it made up only 18 percent. So, Hillary Clinton wasn’t able to keep her margin up largely because of that. The other thing that was interesting was that this discussion about honesty and trustworthiness versus the right experience, it became even more polarized in New Hampshire than it was in Iowa.

Moving on to the Republicans, what you saw was Trump posted a much larger win than many people thought that he would. Again, I think the goal of the Republicans, at least with regard to New Hampshire, was to keep Trump under 30 percent, but he managed to go above it. And part of that was the vote was just so split among so many other candidates and his voters are not split. What is really important is that his voters, you know, made up their minds a long time ago, they have stuck with him and they continued to stick with him. No matter what he says, no matter what he does, no matter who he insults, they stand by him mostly because they actually want what Trump says he can do, which is change Washington and, essentially, be a leader and make people work on his agenda, not the other way around.

So, I think, one of the things that’s interesting is Trump is all about, essentially, strength. And he is all about this idea that he would be able to make Washington work when no one else has. And that is very appealing, especially to Independents. And this is where you can see that the big difference between Iowa and New Hampshire is that, in Iowa, there were 62 percent were white evangelicals or very conservative and very interested in values and in fact they only made up 23 percent of the voters in New Hampshire, right? Versus 62 percent. And in New Hampshire those Independents were 36 percent whereas in Iowa they were only 20 – I think it was 20 percent.

So, the electorates look different. As a result of the electorate looking different, the results were different and Trump won a huge lead. John Kasich who had pretty much focused all of his time on New Hampshire and nowhere else managed to come in second, Ted Cruz posted third. So, let’s step back a little bit and now talk about delegates and talk about what these results really mean. Democrats, typically, have about twice the number of delegates that Republicans have. To win a party’s nomination, as it says down there, in red, really means that you have to win a majority of the total delegates, And what that means is that you have to won or place well in the state primaries and caucuses that occur, so that when you get to the convention and a roll call of the states is done and every state submits, essentially, its delegates votes for their state, then, on the very first ballot, you will have a majority of the delegates’ votes who were there. So, this is why we contract delegates, this is why we essentially can know who the nominee is before the convention because we can add up the delegates as they go. And, as it says right here, Democrats essentially have 4,673 delegates, but they have 712 super-delegates and what those super-delegates are, are people who are party leaders and elected officials. The acronym for it are PLEOs, and those party leaders and elected officials are essentially people like governors and senators and house of representatives members. And they are, essentially, awarded the freedom to vote however they would like – they do not have to obey by their state, they do not have to obey by their Congressional District, they can choose to support whom they would like.

Now, Republicans don’t have super-delegates, so they are in a little bit different position. They do have some unpledged delegates, at the RNC level who are Nation Committee members, but they don’t have anywhere near the ability to impact the race as the Democratic super-delegates can. Whether or not the Democratic super-delegates will is another story and I’m happy to talk about that in a minute. But I think what’s important to understand is that there are about 4,700 Democratic delegates. To win, a candidate needs, you know, 3,000, to be specific – 2,382 delegates, you know, the likelihood is most campaigns are probably going for about 2,400, and the Democratic Convention will take place at the end of July, in Philly.

The Republicans, on the other hand, have 2,472 delegates and, as you can see, the vast majority of those are pledged, meaning that, on the first ballot, they are essentially bound to the state primary or caucus result. And, as I said, the Republicans have a few unpledged delegates who are part of the Republican National Committee itself. To win, a candidate needs 1,237 and their Convention actually happens before the Democrats in Cleveland, Ohio. On a side note, one of the things it’s sort of interesting to realize is that both political parties shorten the length of their Conventions from four days to three days, this year, and yet this is the first time in a long time that the possibility of a contested Convention and multi-ballot contest actually are hanging out there as a non-trivial possibility.

So, this chart which, you know, I apologize for its size, but it is just the way it is. When you’re trying to deal with all of state and territory contest that exist, shows you both the date that the state is actually voting on, the number of delegates that that state has, the number of delegates – each of the candidates have won so far, the method by which delegates are allocated, is it a primary caucus, and then, also, are those primary caucuses opened or closed or semi-opened and semi-closed. So, briefly touch on that. Semi-open is what Iowa means, which is undeclared, can show up on the day of the caucus, reregister as a Republican or a Democrat on the day of the caucus, and then go vote in those partisan contests.

A primary that is semi-closed, like New Hampshire, it means that if you are undeclared registered as such, you have to reregistered before the day of, but if you are registered undeclared, you have the ability to vote in one side’s primary or the other side. And you can essentially ask for that ballot. Closed primaries means independents and undeclared, cannot vote – you have to be registered before the day of to vote, and open primaries means that anyone can register on that day. So, this is where it becomes very interesting for Trump and for Cruz, especially over the March 1st timeframe and first – to a certain extent, for Clinton and Sanders, but not so much.

So, let me just show you this and then mention this, which is that the race itself is essentially staggered, and there are some days that have a lot of delegates up and available to win and other days that are not. But you can see that, essentially, by May 1st, 75 percent of the pledged delegates have been allocated, and, in fact, you know, by, essentially, March 15th, 50 percent of the delegates have been allocated. We are about to enter the most important phase of this race, which is really March 1st to March 15th. A full 25 percent of the delegates will be allocated in that period, on the Democratic side, and what that means is that who wins, many of those Southern states, is likely going to be the one who can prevail.

And this is where and why people still believe that secretary Clinton has the advantage. She has very large margins of support among African-Americans and if you look at the Southern primaries, though they are open primaries, many of them have over 50 percent of the Democratic electorate is African-American and because she has such large margins, it appears as though she will be able to roll up votes among African-Americans and then even if Bernie Sanders polls even with her among white, she would still be able to prevail because he wouldn’t be able to catch up. So, those Southern state contests are very important for Hillary Clinton. What happens in Nevada this weekend and whether or not Sanders is actually able to prevail in that contest and show that he gain minority support among [Latinos] and whether or not there is essentially another chink in her armor is really what’s going to determine at some level whether South Carolina continues to have a closing gap or secretary Clinton is able to prevail and she’s able to stop Sanders momentum.

The Republicans have a similar calendar, but not exactly and, again, I think it’s important to take a look at sort of how many delegates have been allocated [the] far as you can see only 53 delegates have been allocated and in fact, you know, Trump, well, he’s leading with 17 delegates, Cruz is not far behind with 11 and Rubio has 10. So, there’s certainly the possibility that those three could get into something of a three-way race and if there’s a three-way race, it is possible that no one wins enough delegates until you get to the later contest, but interestingly enough, the later contest on the Republican side are not proportional. So, one of the things that I didn’t mention and I should go back and do this is that Democrats allocate their delegates proportionally, so if you win 35 percent of the votes in a state, you get 35 percent of that state’s delegates.

The only thing you have to do to qualify for delegates is on over 15 percent – you have to make a 15 percent threshold ,which is part of the reason why Martin O’Malley really had nowhere to go when he was only earning 1 percent of the votes. The Republicans, on the other hand, do proportional representation up through March 14th. But starting on March 15th, which is the date of the Florida and the Ohio contest, their contest then become winner take all. And what that means is if you win Florida, you will, in fact, earn all 99 of the pledged Republican delegates. As you can see, that’s not the case for what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire. In New Hampshire, Donald Trump won far and away, yet he only received 10 delegates.

What that means is that the Republican race could collapse more quickly than the Democratic race, but it will only collapse more quickly if there is essentially one consistent leader in the contest starting on March 15th. So, this gives you a sense of how many delegates are allocated and, as you can see, just like for the Democrats, about 25 percent of the total delegates that exist are there and allocated between March 1st and March 15th. So, it’s going to be incredibly important, as I said, for any candidate that wants to win to basically win those two weeks. And that’s part of why South Carolina is playing such an important, role right now, because so many of those contests are Southern contests.

In fact, the Republicans launched this effort and they referred to it as the SCC primary and this is because if you follow football, as I do and love, football refers to and thinks about the dominance of the SCC a great deal and it is a conference of South-Eastern schools. And so, what really South Carolina is a test of is how these candidates are going to stack up in these Southern open primaries that have, for the most part, all been moved, so that they could happen in the first couple of weeks of March. You can see, when you look at just March 1st, it’s Alabama and Arkansas and Georgia and Oklahoma and Tennessee and Texas and Virginia. And then you move to March 5th and you get boarder states of Kansas and Kentucky and you get Louisiana. And then you start to move to March 8th and you have Mississippi. So, essentially, most of the Southern states will have gone before the March 15th “Winner Take All” turnover, which then becomes Florida and Missouri.

So, how one does in South Carolina is going to be, likely, very similar to how one will do in the majority of the contests that are coming up? So, what to look for? As I said, at the end of the day, one of the things Hillary Clinton is banking on is the same thing that Barack Obama banked on, which was that he would continue to have the support of voters of color and that, because those minorities make up such a large percentage of the Democratic primaries, that in fact, by winning those voters with large margins, one could eventually roll up and ask delegates to win the contest. Hillary Clinton’s coalition, in 2008, was essentially white, blue collar individuals, many of whom had some college education, but were mostly only high school graduates. And what you saw was that Barack Obama was winning many people who were college graduates and post-graduate degrees alongside minority voters who saw him as being able to represent them.

So, Hillary is counting on that same kind of coalition Barack Obama did to help her prevail. Bernie Sanders, however, has cut into that coalition by pulling the one group out that Obama carried that Hillary has not, and that really is young people. So, young people are turning to Bernie Sanders and it is going to be a question of whether or not he’s going to be able to attract more minorities because he certainly will be able to get some wins on March 1st, as I mentioned here, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont are all likely to go his way, especially if he does well in Nevada. The problem to the Democrats is that proportional representation means that Sanders could stay in this race for a very long time. So, in other words, even if Hillary won 20 contests, if she only wins by 55 percent of the votes and Sanders wins, you know, 45 percent of the votes, they would be splitting the delegates. And so, while he would continue to be behind, you could see a situation where no candidate could get to a majority of the delegates in the Democratic race without the super-delegates weighing in.

As I mentioned right now, the super-delegates are keeping the deck stacked toward Clinton. Many of them have endorsed her. I imagine you would see more of them endorse her, were she to win some races, but one of the things that’s difficult for her is that super-delegates don’t like to do things that their constituents don’t. And, at the end of the day, if their constituents end up going for Bernie Sanders in this state contest, the super-delegates will have a very hard time explaining to their constituents why they backed Clinton when their constituents backed Sanders.

And it is true that in the 2008 race, the super-delegates started out in Hillary Clinton’s camp and, after Barack Obama won South Carolina, many of them started to switch to Barack Obama, and, by the end of the race, all of the super-delegates were essentially over with Barack Obama. And, to a large degree, they were the reason why he ended up securing the nomination because from a numerical pledge delegates’ number, Hillary Clinton was only 140 pledged delegates behind Barack Obama when they finished their races. In fact, all 57 races, as I recall, in 2008. In case you’re wondering why we have 50 states in the district of Columbia and 57 races it’s because there are primary contest in our five territories that exist and then there is also another category that they call “Democrats Abroad,” which basically means if you were living in France, you essentially could have a period in which you voted if you were a U.S. citizen.

Okay, the Republicans [five], “What to look for.” At the end of the day, does Trump win South Carolina? It appears, by every polling measure we have, that Trump is going to win South Carolina. The issue here and the only issue as far as I can tell is whether or not Cruz’s organization is going to be able to, once again, best Trump as they did in Iowa. Cruz has put a lot of effort and time into organizing evangelicals. The evangelicals are likely to be more in terms of turning out to vote than they did in New Hampshire. It’s much more likely that, in South Carolina, you’ll see a 65 percent of the Republican voters were white evangelicals, and how many of them actually backed Trump is hard to know.

Certainly, this is where the Supreme Court nomination has been used as [unintelligible 00:44:33] on the Republican side and against Donald Trump, with the idea that he might not support somebody that the evangelicals would back and believe should be on the court. We can talk about that in the question period. The last thing that I wanted to just raise is really – does Cruz come in second? Okay, if Trump does win, but Cruz isn’t able to even come in second, what happens to him? You know, what happens if Rubio or Bush slid pass him? All of these things bring up this question of how many of these Republicans can go on after South Carolina. No one’s really paying, on the Republican’s side, attention to Nevada.

You know, we’ll see how that caucus goes, but at the end of the day, I think, most people are really looking towards South Carolina to weed the field further from six candidates on the Republican side down to, probably, three or four. But, at the end of the day, the real issue is who drops out. And with [super packs], people don’t necessarily have to drop out anymore. They’re still able to have enough money to continue their campaigns to the next state. The problem is the longer the Republican field stays kind of split up and fractured, the better chance Trump has of winning the Republican’s nomination. So, with that, what I wanted to do was just sort of tell you that, certainly, looking today, it looks like the nominees could well be Trump and Sanders, given how much energy and enthusiasm is sort of embodied within both sets of their voters. But I think that it’s premature to completely predict an outcome because the problem that we have is there’re going to be many, many, many delegates who are going to be allocated between now and March 15th. And, in addition to that, there’s also the question of what the parties will do in later contest or earlier contest in terms of just trying to stack the deck toward their favored candidate.

And certainly one of the realities of the Republican contest is that the later in the cycle it goes, the more blue the states get that are voting. So Pennsylvania and New York are not necessarily likely to be great states for Donald Trump and, in fact, this is where there is some question about whether an establishment person can, in fact, prevent him. I think we just have to wait and see. But if you did twist my arm right now, I would probably say we’re headed toward a Trump-Clinton nomination. Okay, so, with that, I will leave it at that and talk for a few minutes about our program. Thank you so much for joining us. And, of course, if you have questions, please send them via the chat box to Kira and we’ll field some of those in about five minutes.

So, the Master’s in Political Management Program – I do direct this program at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. We have two options for this program – you can take it either fully online or fully on campus. You’re not really able to do both. We do allow, under specific circumstances, students to transfer from one to the other, but you cannot sort of engage in constant transferring back and forth. And the reason why has to do with how the classes are taught and delivered. So, essentially, both programs – and they are the same, they are just delivered differently via these platforms. There are 36 credit-hours in length, there are 12 courses, there’re essentially four introductory core requirements and then you have seven electives, and then students take their final three credits, either in a Capstone, on campus, or you have two options in the online program – you can either do a Washington Residency, which is a hybrid class, where five weeks are taught online, one week is taught in Washington, or an Applied Research Project that is more [keen] to a thesis paper.

The classes online, essentially, all happen online and they are asynchronous. What that means is there is no official class meeting time, work is divided up by weeks and each class lasts six weeks. Si it is very intensive, you have to be very self-disciplined and self-directed because really, at the end of the day, you are the one in charge of your education. You can’t just sort of show up in class, as some students do, on campus, not having read anything, not having done anything, sit in the back of the class and hope that class is just going to go well. Online is a very different intensive experience. And, as I said, there’re six-week long-terms, students take two classes each semester – fall, spring and summer – but they take them sequentially.

So, you take a class for six weeks, you have a two-week break, you take another class for six weeks, you have another couple of weeks break, you take a class for six weeks, you have another couple of weeks break, you take a class for six weeks – and you do that for 12 courses. In the on campus program, it’s a little bit more like your traditional undergraduate education. You take two classes a semester, which is what the vast majority of our students do because they work full-time, but you take them simultaneously. And they do have once a week class meeting, so if you’re working full-time that means you come to campus essentially twice a week for your two different classes. Each class meets for two and a half hours, from 7:10 to 9:40, in the evening, which gives everybody enough time to work during the day.

And again, there are essentially three semesters – fall, spring are the two 14-week-long semesters. The summer program has a 10-week-long semester. And what that really means is that you’re not in school between the end of July and the end of August. So, that’s how the programs differ. As I said, both students are essentially taking 12 classes, both students are taking two classes a semester, but they are taking them in a different fashion. Our Master’s Program is really different from the other programs that you may have heard of. We focus on Applied Politics. And what that means is if you want to work in the political world, you want to work as a Communication’s Director, you want to work as a Digital Director, you’re interested in working as a Legislative Affairs Representative or, you know, a Public Affairs person, or you’re interested in doing Public Relations, or you’re interested in being, you know, a director or a liaison, an outreach for a Trade Association or a Group that is national or a non-profit – that’s really who our students are.

I described this degree as like an MBA for Politics. If you wanted to work in business, you would go get an MBA; you would not go get a Master’s in Economics. A Master’s in Economics is for somebody who’s interested in understanding how the markets work. Similarly, a Master’s in Political Science is about understanding how politics works. Our Master’s at GSPM is really about how to do the work of politics. A Public Policy Master’s is different from Political Science, which is more focus on theory, and our Master’s at GSPM, which is more focused on Applied Politics. Public Policy is really about asking the what-question – what is the best policy that we could come up with in this area and studying actually policy and its effects.

Our GSPM Master’s is really about helping people who already have their policies or their, you know, candidate has their ideology, essentially, wage successful campaigns. And not just electoral campaign, but obviously advocacy campaigns, Public Affairs campaigns and all types of sort of active engagements where you are trying to bring a certain people over to your side, whether it’s legislators, whether it’s the public or whether it’s a specific group of voters. Law school is obviously law school. You shouldn’t go to law school unless you want to be an attorney. This is one of those, I think, things that they don’t tell you enough as a Political Science undergraduate.

In my experience, most of my friends who went to law school because they thought they should and because they hoped it would get them into politics, it ended up being something of a disappointment because they either had to practice law to actually make that bridge and transition or they ended up not using their law degree, at all, and went to work in the political world. It used to be kind of the standard credential of people who worked in politics. That’s really no longer the case. In addition, law school does tend to be, you know, three years, full-time. All the other Master’s programs tend to be about two years and hey run usually between 33 and 39 credit hours.

Ours, as I said, is 36 credit hours. In terms of admissions, we do have an online application form. There is an application fee, you’re required to submit a statement of purpose, a current resume, three letters of recommendations, your official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended prior to your application, and if you earned a 3.0 or higher in your undergraduate program, you do not need to take the GRE exam. From our perspective, GRE is really designed for those people who want to do research. And for those students who have earned less than a 3.0, it is an important metric for us to understand what your aptitudes and abilities are, but for those who have earned over 3.0 in undergraduate, we are more interested in how you will eventually work than how you write a theoretical paper. So, those are the admission requirements.

Our upcoming start dates are not the dates on the slide. The dates on the slide are the day that you should have your applications in by. Our start date for, in fact, the Summer 1 program – they’re a little bit different in the online program versus the on campus program. In the online program, our Summer 1 term begins on May 9th, but in the on campus program, it begins May 16th. And so April 1 is really the target date when you should have your application completed by. If it’s too difficult to start May 9th, we do have a second term online for those students who would like to start in the second term of summer, and that starts on June 27th, but, again, that’s only online. And then the fall applications will and should be submitted by May 1st if you’re interested in applying for some of the merit-based scholarships we offer and starts typically in the last week of August.

I’m not sure what the official start date is this year, but it’s typically the last week of August. So, you’ll want to have things submitted by the first of May, so that you can plan your summer around what it means to be starting your graduate work in the fall. And if you have any questions, certainly I’m here to help. We do have enrollment advisors both for online and on campus and they can assist you with the application details, but if you have any questions, I’m happy to take those.

Facilitator: Perfect. Thank you so much, Dr. Brown. So the first question we have is with respect to the super-delegates in the democratic nomination process. How in the world would Bernie Sanders stand a chance of defeating Hillary, given all the super-delegates already have committed to her. By party rules, there are no winner take all stake.

Lara: So, the issue about super-delegates is that they can change their vote at any time they want. In other words, they could pull their endorsement from secretary Clinton and give it to Senator Sanders and then their super-delegate vote that goes with their endorsement would essentially change. And this is precisely what happened in 2008, with Hillary Clinton and the super-delegates. She had the majority of super-delegates endorsements and votes going into the races, and then, when she lost in Iowa and especially when she lost in South Carolina, super-delegates started to change their endorsement. And as I said, the reason why they change is really because super-delegates are party leaders and elected officials.

So, if you’re a governor or you’re a senators and your state votes and your state votes one way and your vote is essentially in opposition to that, you would have to explain to all of the people in your state why it is that you think it’s better to, say, vote for Clinton and against Sanders. And this is part of the problem. I mean, if you actually look at the state of New Hampshire, the state of New Hampshire went hugely for Bernie Sanders. He won over 60 percent of the democratic primary vote, and yet all of the New Hampshire elected officials, right, Governor [Gene Shahene] and their – I think they have a democratic U.S. senator there who I can’t think of at the moment – they both, actually, backed Hillary Clinton.

So they, now, have to explain to their voters, in New Hampshire, why it is they’re supporting Clinton and not Sanders. And it’s very possible that if this race becomes more competitive than it is now, where Sanders is winning more contests than he essentially has, that they will feel pressured to switch their votes to the way their states went. So, next question.

Facilitator: Thank you so much. Yes. And the next question is – as the resounding defeat of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, do you think South Carolina will be her firewall?

Lara: I think her campaign very much wants it to be her firewall and they are anticipating that it will be. And, quite frankly, the polling suggests it should be, as well. I mean, she is still, in the polls, up 40 percentage points over Sanders among African-Americans. So, when they just look at African-Americans, one of the things that happens is, all of a sudden, Hillary, you know, is winning essentially what I guess, about 70 percent or something like that of the vote. You know, and Bernie Sanders is winning the other 30 percent of the vote among African-Americans, and so she has a 40 point margin above him.

And in all these southern states, South Carolina included, the democratic primaries tend to be more than 50 percent African-America, because if you think about those states in general, what usually happens is that many, many, many, a large percentage of the whites in the states align themselves with the Republican party, so when you look at, essentially, who’s left to vote in the democratic party, in the south, most of those votes are African-Americans. And this is where she is, you know, counting on her being able to win, you know, 70 to 30 over Bernie among African-Americans because, if she can, then she will definitely win the state because over half of the democratic electorate will be African-American.

Facilitator: Thank you. And could you explain more about the one-week Washington Residency and what does the one-week program entail?

Lara: Sure. So, the Washington Residency is, I think, kind of the most amazing hybrid class that we have rolled out in the last year. What it is for those students who are in the Political Management Online Program, it is essentially a Capstone option. And what that means is that, during that class, you actually work on a Capstone project, a research project that will become part of your portfolio. It is something that we expect all students to essentially be able to do, which is put together a 20-page research document, along with a PowerPoint slide presentation, and then the students are essentially asked to present that in one form or another, either submit it online or present it orally in Capstone, on campus. Washington Residency, what it does, that’s the work of a Capstone.

The work is you do a project for six weeks. Five weeks of that class is conducted online because much of it is research. You’re writing a proposal, you’re submitting a proposal, you’re engaged in peer review with you colleagues, online. And then one week of it, the third week of the semester, you come to Washington D.C. and we have a full and complete itinerary of meetings with stakeholders and interested parties, which will give you a sense of how Washington works. So, what happens is students fly in essentially on a Sunday, we usually give them a tour of the capital on Sunday night. Monday is basically a day to talk about gaining power, which is really about elections and parties and all those people who are involved, special interest groups and trade associations.

And then, on the day two, we typically talk about the U.S. Congress and we spend time up on Capitol Hill, meeting with different legislators, meeting with their staffs on both the Senate and the House side. Then you get perspectives on what it means to work in the legislative process from former members of Congress and current lobbyists. Then, you know, on the Wednesday, we typically have an executive branch day, where students go and tour the White House and they have meetings in the Executive Office Building and they meet with people who are engaged in the agencies and the departments and involved with the executive branch, and that gives them the sense of what is happening, you know, in that area of government. And then Thursday is typically a media day, where we spend time meeting and talking with various reporters and, you know, at the various sort of media institutions as Washington Post or POLITICO.

You get a sense of how the media work in Washington and how they cover politics. And then Friday is typically a day of international and foreign policy issues, so you’ll meet with ambassadors and all of the other sort of, you know, embassies and organizations like the Organization of American States and the World Bank and other sort of individuals who are here, in Washington and play a role in Washington even though they are based in other countries. And then, basically, Saturday is up to you, if you want to stay around, you can, if not, you can fly home. And then you spend, basically, the next three weeks finishing your Capstone project.

Facilitator: Thank you, Dr. Brown. So, thank you so much, everyone. I hope the session has been informative for you and we would highly encourage, once you’re in the program, to join the Washington Residency. According to the feedback that’s reported to our student service advisor, that kind of exposure is just life changing, so it’s really invaluable experience to have as a student graduate and it’s life-long. So we are just wrapping up, now, for the hour. Currently accepting application, as Dr. Brown mentioned, for the Summer Start, so please contact your enrollment advisor. Her contact information [Lalitha Racioppo] is 1.888.989.7067, extension 3361, and she’s very helpful, very knowledgeable, waking you through the application process so that you can join the powerful GW alumni network.

Thank you to Dr. Brown for your wonderful presentation today and to our audience for staying until the very end and providing your questions. We thank you for your attendance this webinar, as well. We will be having more throughout the year and I hope you will continue to join us. Have a wonderful day, everyone.

Lara: Thanks.

Facilitator: Bye, now.

Lara: Bye.

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