Frank Donatelli Joins Panel of Leading Political Analysts at Smithsonian Event

November 13, 2018

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On Thursday, Nov. 8, McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor, Frank Donatelli, participated in an event hosted by the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C., “What the Midterm Elections Reveal About America.”

The panel covered a wide variety of topics including the election results, voter turnout, key issues in the campaign and implications for 2020.

Donatelli was joined on the panel by White House editor Jackie Calmes of the Los Angeles Times, Democratic strategist and pollster Geoff Garin and American University history and communication professor and CBS analyst Leonard Steinhorn. The panel was moderated by Ken Walsh, White House and political analyst for U.S. News & World Report. The event was carried live by C-Span.

The panelists agreed that the new Democratic House majority would pose challenges for President Trump as they will be skeptical of his legislative initiatives and will offer far more aggressive oversight of his administration.  However, it will be easier for a reinforced Senate Republican majority to confirm presidential nominees, especially federal judges. 

In addition, progress on substantive legislative matters will be slow, but a number of speakers noted that it is in the interest of both parties to try and find common ground. Donatelli mentioned immigration, infrastructure and criminal justice reform as areas where progress might be possible.

The panelists sparred over implications for 2020. While the panel agreed that new Democratic governors in the Midwest would increase Democratic chances to win those key states, it was also noted that these same states will be difficult to win if their nominee runs too far to the left. Republicans candidates were successful in defeating Democratic progressives in the key battleground states of Texas, Florida (under recount), Georgia and Ohio.

Finally, Donatelli noted that for voters unhappy that this political season has ended, the good news is that the 2020 presidential campaign has already begun.