Campaign 2016: Breaking All the Rules

Led by David Kochel – Thursdays at 4:00 PM in L166

September 22

On Your Marks!

How the biggest, most diverse GOP field in modern history ended up with Donald J. Trump

The GOP field had it all — youth, experience, media talent, diversity, swing state winners, big name governors, famous last names, $100MM super pacs — and still turned to a converted Democrat and reality show celebrity as their standard-bearer. Following a RNC-sponsored “autopsy” intended to address the party’s ongoing demographic challenges, the GOP entered 2015 as the party to beat. The campaign the followed was a completely unexpected. What happened?


September 29

The Presidential Debates & Debate Prep

On the week of the first presidential debate (September 26th in Dayton, Ohio)

Is it possible to write a successful debate playbook against someone who defies all of the rules of political debating? What did/should the Clinton campaign do to prepare. The panel will also provide real-time analysis of the just-concluded first debate — winners, losers and the ever-present media narrative.

Guest Speakers:
Beth Myers – Romney Campaign Manager and Senior Advisor. Fall 2013 IOP Fellow.
Peter Flaherty – Advisor, Mitt Romney 2012 and Jeb Bush 2016


October 6

The Way Forward

What lies ahead for America and for the GOP?

Jeb Bush has been hailed as one of the nation’s most innovative and consequential governors, and a deep thinker on public policy. He also has a campaign pedigree that is unrivaled; from Miami-Dade Republican county chairman to GOP frontrunner with a front row seat to multiple familial presidential campaigns. He’s been a substantial participant in the process for four decades. The man with the exclamation point reflects on the campaign that was and offers insights on the America that could be.

Guest Speakers:
Jeb Bush – Former Governor of Florida

*This event has limited seating. Enter the lottery here*


October 13

Asymmetrical Political Warfare

Breaking down campaign spending, advertising, staffing and voter contact tactics between two campaigns

Will 2016 favor a politically traditional approach carefully developed by hundreds of staff, featuring a tightly controlled and poll-tested message with huge advertising budgets? Or an unconventional, candidate-driven approach which eschews message testing and micro-targeting, while embracing a shoot-from-the-hip style and a reliance on a ubiquitous earned media presence? The truth could lie in the definitions. Is there really a shoot-from-the-hip candidate in the race, or is everything we see operating from a well-developed script? Either way, the campaigns being waged by the two political parties couldn’t be more different in style or strategy.


October 20

The Year of Our Discontent

Breaking down the “anti-establishment” movements and voter anger that drove record-breaking fundraising and primary turnout

In the GOP, an establishment resume repelled the GOP electorate and redefined political lanes. But “pitchfork politics” wasn’t confined to one party, as an unlikely star was born; a 74-year-old socialist and lifelong politician who went on to shatter fundraising and crowd records and a primary election that pundits thought should have lasted 15 minutes, not 15 months. More importantly, what does the insider/outsider terrain look like in the general election and beyond?


October 27

October Surprise!

This week will mark the passage of all three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate. It will examine the state of the race and the closing arguments being developed by the two campaigns.


November 3

The View from Original Bernie Bro, Jeff Weaver. How Will 2016 Shape Presidential Politics into the Future?

The conversation about 2016 is focused on the Trump phenomenon, but the biggest surprise of 2016 may have been the unlikely rise of a 74-year-old Independent who shocked the Clinton machine and almost took the Democratic nomination. For more than a year, Jeff Weaver was in the center of the storm as the campaign manager to Bernie Sanders.

*This study group will take place in the Kirkland JCR*


November 10

Asymmetrical Political Warfare

Breaking down campaign spending, advertising, staffing and voter contact tactics between two campaigns

Will 2016 favor a politically traditional approach carefully developed by hundreds of staff, featuring a tightly controlled and poll-tested message with huge advertising budgets? Or an unconventional, candidate-driven approach which eschews message testing and micro-targeting, while embracing a shoot-from-the-hip style and a reliance on a ubiquitous earned media presence? The truth could lie in the definitions. Is there really a shoot-from-the-hip candidate in the race, or is everything we see operating from a well-developed script? Either way, the campaigns being waged by the two political parties couldn’t be more different in style or strategy.


November 17

The Rules Are Broken: What's Next?

Together we will explore what's next for the country and the Republican party.