The Graduate School of Political Management is proud to announce its newest fellows and Alumni Achievement Award winners.

Our fellows are leaders in politics and advocacy chosen by the school to serve 18 month terms contributing as adjunct professors, guest lecturers, panel speakers, and case study contributors. They serve an invaluable role in helping us give our students the best education in applied politics, communications, and advocacy. Previous fellows include U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., former U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Amy Walter, National Editor at the Cook Political Report.

Our current fellows:

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.: Cantor’s career in politics has stretched over two decades, serving in the United States House of Representatives and the Virginia House of Delegates. Cantor was a member of the House Republican leadership team for 11 years, starting as Chief Deputy Whip and ending as House Majority Leader after the historic 2010 midterm election cycle. Cantor currently serves as Vice Chair and Managing Director at Moelis & Company, a leading global independent investment bank.

Sarah Chamberlain: Chamberlain serves as the President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which she helped to establish and grow into a thriving organization with more than seventy members of Congress as part of its network. A leading advocate for women in politics, Chamberlain established the Women2Women Conversations Tour in 2014 to spark dialogue between legislators and everyday citizens. Chamberlain is the only woman in the country who serves as the CEO of a major Republican organization. Prior to joining the partnership she served as the first Executive Director of the John Quincy Adams Society.

Former Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA): Landrieu continued her family’s tradition of public service as a three-term United States Senator following terms as Louisiana State Treasurer and State Representative. Landrieu made history with her 1996 Senate election, becoming the first woman from Louisiana to serve a full term in the chamber. A strong advocate for her state, Sen. Landrieu played a key role in helping Louisiana recover from Hurricane Katrina and shepherded passage of the RESTORE Act, which was designed to help the Gulf Coast region recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Landrieu now serves as a Senior Policy Advisor at Van Ness Feldman.

Our Alumni Achievement Award winners represent the best of GSPM. They exemplify our values through their career accomplishments, contributions to their communities, GSPM, or GW.

Our 2017 Alumni Achievement Award winners:

Lindsey Schuh Cortés: Cortés is the CEO of BlueLabs, a data and analytics strategy consulting firm in Washington, DC. Prior to joining BlueLabs, she served as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Deputy Political Director at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Barrett Karr: Karr serves as Chief of Staff for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. In addition to other legislative roles, Karr has extensive executive branch experience as well working as the Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs for President George W. Bush.

Liz Reicherts: Reicherts is the head of U.S. Government Affairs at Siemens, leading its strategy on U.S. policy and international affairs and managing the U.S. Government Affairs team. Prior to Siemens, Reicherts enjoyed a 22-year career at BP, with a decade spent advocating for its international businesses.

We thank both our fellows and our award winners for their contributions to the school and we look forward to their continued involvement and counsel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ECHO is the newest component of our PEORIA Project social media monitoring and analysis research. With The ECHO, we're tracking the weekly ebb and flow of trending topics and individuals in politics.

This week our lead PEORIA Project researcher Prof. Michael Cohen found that Twitter was focused on the United States Capitol writing

The center of political discussion on Twitter moved to Capitol Hill this week as members passed a deal struck by the president and Democratic congressional leaders to extend the debt limit for three months and fund hurricane relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey (492,148 tweets) and ahead of Hurricane Irma (4,641,783 tweets). In the wake of the hurricanes, tweets about climate change were up 75 percent (721,677 tweets).

The shift in activity down Pennsylvania Avenue is reflected in the volume of tweets: President Donald Trump was down 47 percent while the tweets about the U.S. Senate (163 percent) and the House (229 percent) were both up by triple-digit percentages.

Check out the other insights at U.S News & World Report.

While President Donald Trump's inner circle of family members in key positions has many White House watchers nervous, GSPM Prof Matt Dallek notes that nepotism is nothing new at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He joined WBUR's Freak Out And Carry On hosts Ron Suskind and Heather Cox Richardson to discuss several key instances of presidential familial advisors.

Listen to the entire interview here.

 

When looking for a job it’s essential to be proactive, rather than just responding to publicly listed opportunities.

Research has shown that nearly 85 percent of all jobs are filled by networking, rather than responding to job postings. One key reason is that personal recommendations from others come with an additional level of verification. After all, anyone can say they’re a great employee, but not everyone can have someone else tell a future employer that they’re a must-hire prospect.

So how can you get out of the “responses to posting” résumé pile and into the “personal recommendation” stack? One key tool is the informational interview. Using informational interviews to identify mentors, explore job sectors, and learn more about companies should be a key step in your job search.

The easiest way to identify potential informational interviewees is to use your existing personal network. Does someone you know work in a field you’d like to enter? Talk to them about it and share how your current skills and experience would put you in position to succeed. Does someone in your network have a connection to a place you’d like to work? Ask for an introduction via email or at an event.

Once you’ve landed an informational interview there are a few key rules to remember. First, be respectful of the other person’s time, and be sure to pay for the coffee, drinks, and food. Secondly, do your research on the person’s employer and job history, but don’t veer too far into the personal side. This is a professional development opportunity, so don’t ask about their kids or the cool vacation you saw on their Facebook page.

Your questions should center around that person’s career journey, and the things that are essential for success at their firm or in their industry. Ask how they got their foot in the door. Learn more about what skills you may need to brush up on before making a concentrated push into that industry.

These conversations will allow you to share your story and learn more about how others have found success. Your questions should attempt to discover how you can differentiate yourself from other applicants or facilitate future introductions.

A successful informational interview could lead to future introductions, or the opportunity to apply for a job before it becomes public knowledge, which puts you at a distinct advantage over the general applicant pool.

 

Obama White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest shared political and career advice with GSPM students.

Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told a group of students at George Washington University that taking a variety of jobs is key to career success in political communications.

During a recent appearance at the Graduate School of Political Management’s (GSPM) Ethical Standards in Public Relations course, Mr. Earnest told students that one of the key components of his professional career has been shifting from large organizations to smaller ones in order to learn and refine new skills.

He said that system was essential to landing one of the most well-known communications jobs—White House press secretary.

Read more at GWToday.

Now that the Senate vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been postponed until after the July 4th Congressional recess, our Prof. Matt Dallek takes a look at why repealing legislation is so difficult.

He finds that this is the case in part because of a paradox "Americans distrust the federal government’s commitment to the public’s welfare, yet Americans in the main are also opposed to fundamentally reforming the government’s costliest social programs."

Read his full post on Yahoo News.

(apologies to George Gershwin and Gene Kelly)

By Prof. Michael Cornfield

June 5, 2017

My Facebook reaction to the president’s announcement to exit the Paris climate agreement last Thursday was this:

GSPM grad Travis Taylor was skeptical:

Travis is right about the low priority Americans accord the environment as a campaign issue. A Reuters/IPSOS poll concluded just before the announcement was in keeping with the trend; environment was selected at the top issue by a mere 3% of voters, far below the top three of economy/jobs (20%), health care (18%), and terrorism (16%).

But I think Trump gave the issue a boost in salience. He is by far the most famous person on earth, maybe in human history; he gets more free media coverage than the next 1,000 people combined. His spotlight moves quickly from topic to topic, but the Paris exit was declared from the Rose Garden, it was a binary decision everyone understands, and the time frame for it is four years, not decades (the eco-time frame) or one day (the @realdonaldtrump time frame).

So I think the announcement sets off a messaging contest in sync with the 2018 and 2020 elections. Good issue positioning entails linking across standard categories. The battle will be over Paris AND job creation (especially job loss to foreign countries, Trump’s issue citadel), Paris AND energy prices (gas, of course, but also electric) and even Paris AND quality of life (hazards and disasters) in the battleground states and districts where voters live. We’ve already seen Dominion Power becoming an issue in the 2017 Virginia primaries.

Behind the messaging, this will be a battle of corporate clout: fossil-fuels against renewables, inland against coastal real estate. The fossil inlanders have a tremendous head start in the form of Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity (AFP) and its related influence organizations. By 2015, AFP had a $150 million yearly budget, 500 paid staffers including directors in 34 states, and 2.4 million activists advocating, among other things, a “No Climate Tax” pledge taken by three-fifths of GOP House members and over half of GOP Senate members in the 113th Congress (2013-2014).

The opposition to Trump’s announcement voiced by CEOs of big corporations, Michael Bloomberg, the governors of California, New York, and Washington state, and numerous mayors is a significant reaction. That’s all it is for now.

On Twitter, Trump Moments Resembled a Series of Seinfeld Highlights

by Prof. Michael Cohen

We could discuss a more substantive analysis of Twitter conversation around these important issues (we will) but, let’s face it, most of us are exhausted from the 2016 campaign and the first few months of the Trump presidency. So let’s have some fun, instead. Let’s look at the trip’s moments that Twitter obsessed over, in chronological order, most of which will mean nothing long-term but were as entertaining as some of the best Seinfeld episodes.

I promise to honor the Seinfeld credo, in part, with no hugging but we will add some learning. Let’s see how much of an imprint each of the following 10 moments had on Twitter when they were connected to President Trump. For the purposes of our research, I’ll limit the time frame of our data to May 20 to 27, the length of the trip. I won’t restrict the tweets to the U.S. as the trip was international news.

Read the full post on Medium.

It was a busy week in the world of politics and our professors at the Graduate School of Political Management had plenty to say about it. Here's a quick roundup of some of their insights.

Visit our news page for complete coverage.

Trump should follow the Bill Clinton scandal playbook

Professor Matt Dallek provides a scandal playbook for President Trump in Yahoo News. He says that the Bill Clinton approach, which requires delegating all scandal response to his lawyers and political aides, would work better than the current full-frontal assault on every new revelation.

Yes, Trump is getting pounded — but it doesn't mean impeachment is imminent

Professor Steve Billet tells the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that even though the headlines are bad for President Trump, the bottom line is that he is safe in office as long as he has the support of Congressional leadership.

The New TV Drama: As The White House Turns

Professor Michael Cornfield discusses the hottest drama in daytime television: the White House Daily Press Briefing with NPR. He says that the possibility of an eruption from  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes each new installment must-see TV.

Deep dives into one’s personal life, hours on the road or the phone drumming up volunteer or financial support, and the understanding that most of the candidates that start a campaign finish it with a concession speech. Running for office is difficult both mentally and physically, so why do people do it and what should they know in advance?

At the Graduate School of Political Management, our students will be able to hear why, and everything that momentous decision entails in PMGT 6434, Running For Office, taught by former U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y.

In addition to being a candidate, Maffei served as a communications strategist and spokesperson in the halls of Congress and on the campaign trail. Rounding out his resume was a stretch as a television news reporter and producer. His 360-degree view of the campaign process is part of the reason why our school is so thrilled to have him leading this course.

“’The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,’ proclaims Theodore Roosevelt. Having seen politics from so many viewpoints, I can communicate to the student how different it is to be the one with the name on the ballot. Political theory and well laid plans fly out the window as ideals are challenged and egos assaulted,” said Maffei.

Maffei’s course uses a series of in-class simulations to take students through key campaign milestones, such as an announcement of one’s candidacy, a stump speech, and a campaign contribution solicitation. Since the unexpected is to be expected in politics, Maffei’s class will also have to determine a communications strategy to debunk an inaccurate news story and hold a “damage control” press conference.

Maffei added, “Plans for governmental change and sophisticated policy ideas are irrelevant if their advocates can not win elections or – more likely given today’s toxic political atmosphere – refuse to ever run for office. Through personal accounts of and by politicians, readings on critical aspects of real world politics, and intense self-examination, group discussion and practice exercises, I will give students a sense of what it is like and what is needed to run, win, and hold political office.”

At the end of the course students should be able to understand the decision-making process behind a run, the components of a modern campaign, the purpose behind any effective candidate, and the key personality traits needed to succeed amid the intense pressures of a political campaign. Starting a run with that knowledge should give our prospective candidates and campaign managers a head start over the competition.