The ZBT Alumni Association of Greater Washington is pleased to sponsor this discussion, Mid-Term Elections 2018—Where is the United States Headed?
What: Mid-Term Elections 2018—Where is the United States Headed?
When: Thursday October 18, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Where: George Washington University Marvin Student Center in Room 310
Price: Admission is $25 for alumni and $18 for undergraduates. As in all ZBT events sponsored by the Alumni Association, guests of ZBT alumni or undergrads are encouraged to attend.
There will be a panel discussion with noted political pollsters and journalists who cover politics in Washington, D.C. We will serve light appetizers, dessert, coffee and soft drinks. Panelists include Marc Fisher, Whit Ayres and Jim Duffy.
The Hon. Martin Frost will be moderating the event. Martin Frost served 26 years as a Congressman from the 24th District of Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth) from 1979 to 2005. During that time, he served eight years in the House Democratic Leadership, four years as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (1995-1999) and four years as chair of the House Democratic Caucus (1999-2003). He was a member of the House Rules Committee and the House Budget Committee. Since leaving Congress, he served four years as chair of the National Endowment for Democracy (2013-2017) and is currently President of the Former Members of Congress Association. He is an adjunct professor in the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and is a speaker on cruise ships about American politics. He holds journalism and history degrees from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Frost and former Republican Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia co-authored the recent book, “The Partisan Divide – Congress in Crisis.”
Marc Fisher is a senior editor at The Washington Post, where he reports and leads coverage of national, foreign and local issues. His reporting in recent years has taken him from the Arab Spring revolutions to the presidential campaign trail. In 2016, he co-authored a biography of Donald Trump, “Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power” (Scribner), which was a New York Times bestseller. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting in the past four years – the Public Service award in 2014 for his stories on government surveillance of Americans, as part of The Post’s coverage of the Edward Snowden case; and the National Reporting award in 2016 for his articles on police shootings. His return to reporting followed several years as The Post's Enterprise Editor, a role in which he led a team of reporters working on long-term stories and projects. For 10 years before that, he was The Post's local columnist, writing a thrice-weekly column as well as a blog, “Raw Fisher,” which appeared daily on washingtonpost.com; a weekly online chat, “Potomac Confidential;” and “Raw Fisher Live,” a talk show and podcast. His story on the sexual abuse scandal at New York’s Horace Mann School, “The Master,” published in The New Yorker, is in development as a feature film. Fisher is also regular guest host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU in Washington. His history of radio since the advent of television, “Something in the Air: Radio, Rock and the Revolution that Shaped a Generation,” was published by Random House in 2007. The book traces radio’s role from 1950 to the present, focusing on how old media adapt when new technologies burst onto the marketplace. While writing that book, he was a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. He has also served as Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, and taught creative non-fiction in the MFA program at American University. Fisher also wrote “After the Wall: Germany, the Germans and the Burdens of History,” published by Simon and Schuster in 1995. The book grew out of Fisher's four years as Bonn and Berlin bureau chief of The Post, beginning with the dramatic events of 1989. Prior to launching his column, Fisher was the paper’s Special Reports Editor, responsible for long-form stories for Page One. He also wrote a column in the Post’s Sunday Magazine. Fisher has worked at The Post since 1987. He covered the D.C. schools and city news, was on the Sunday magazine staff, and was Assistant City Editor before joining the Foreign Desk in early 1989. While on leave from The Post in 1993-4, Fisher was Journalist in Residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Upon returning to the Post, Fisher joined the Style section, covering politics, culture and radio. Fisher was a staff writer at The Miami Herald from 1981 to 1986, working for the local, national and Sunday magazine sections. He won an Associated Press award for best column writing, an Overseas Press Club award for best interpretation of foreign news, a Society of Professional Journalists award for best magazine writing (on injustice in Miami’s juvenile courts), and several awards for a series on discrimination in South Florida social clubs. A 1980 graduate of Princeton University with an honors degree in history, Fisher lives in Washington with his wife; they have a daughter and a son.
Dr. Whit Ayres is the President of Ayres, McHenry, & Associates Inc., a national public opinion and public affairs research firm located in Alexandria, Virginia, that provides research and strategic advice for corporations, associations, and Republican candidates for public office. Roll Call, a widely read newspaper on Capitol Hill, called the firm "one of the best in the nation." The firm provided polling for Georgia Sen. Paul Coverdell's upset of Wyche Fowler in 1992 and Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist's upset of Jim Sasser in 1994. Other political clients include U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Govs. David Beasley and Carroll Campbell of South Carolina, and the 1996 Lamar Alexander for President campaign. Corporate and association clients include Environmental Defense Fund, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Boy Scouts of America, Georgia-Pacific Corp. and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. Ayres appears periodically on Fox News, CNN and National Public Radio. His comments and analysis appear in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and numerous regional newspapers. Before establishing the firm, Ayres served as senior executive assistant for Budget and Policy to Gov. Campbell. He has also served as a tenured member of the political science faculty at the University of South Carolina. Ayres graduated cum laude from Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., with a major in political science. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jim Duffy, a partner at Putnam Partners, got his first political job the old-fashioned way: his brother-in-law asked his boss, the mayor, to hire him. At 23, Duffy understood enough about politics to repay the favor to both his brother-in-law and the mayor. He started nailing up signs, walking blocks, making phone calls, running campaigns and finally writing and producing media. There’s no job in a campaign he hasn’t done. Over 40 years of working in campaigns has left Duffy with a deep appreciation of the voting public. Voters may not follow the day-to-day give and take of a campaign, but over the course of a political cycle they will determine which candidate is on their side, who cares about the issues that affect their lives and ultimately who they trust to keep their word. Political communication is a delicate balance of timing, substance and style. Make a mistake on any one of these elements, and the campaign is in trouble. A message master, Duffy helps campaign staffs cling to their campaign theme like a snapping turtle. His understanding of message in paid media, scheduling, free press, mail and telephones makes him a valuable participant in a conference call or at the steering committee table. He has experience with advertising in a corporate environment as well. Duffy spent eight years working for AT&T as both a strategist and a media producer, where he learned that when corporations have political problems, it is imperative that they use any and all political communication tools. Duffy also worked for the Texas Rangers on their campaign to pass a sales tax in Arlington, TX, which enabled the team to build a new baseball stadium. He then worked with the Rangers on a campaign to improve their image. Dallas-Fort Worth was primarily a football community, but research showed that public opinion moved favorably toward the Rangers when residents learned that Texas Rangers players donated both their time and money to community projects like the Little League and girls’ softball leagues. As a lead strategist and ad-maker for the sugar industry, Duffy played a role in their fight against The Central America Free Trade Agreement. He was also intimately involved with Pepco Holdings’ image campaign and the Pepco Holdings-Exelon merger campaign. Duffy graduated from Tulane University, earned a Master’s degree from the University of New Orleans and spent two years at the Johns Hopkins University working on a Ph.D. But the academic life proved a little slow for Duffy (plus he could never discipline himself to read any other history but southern political history, which did not endear him to his professors). He left Hopkins and headed for New Orleans, where, with a little inside help, he joined the staff of Mayor Moon Landrieu in 1973. In 1985, he joined the firm of Raymond D. Strother, Ltd. and became a partner in Strother Duffy Strother in 1991. Clients he has produced media and served as a lead consultant for include Senator Blanche Lincoln (AR), Senator Mary Landrieu (LA), State Auditor Tim Keller (NM), Congressman Pete Gallego (TX), Congressman Martin Frost (TX), Congressman Bud Cramer (AL), and the Louisiana and Alabama Senate Democratic Caucuses. Duffy was a partner at Murphy Putnam Media from 2009 to 2010, and joined Putnam Partners after the 2010 elections. Jim Duffy is married and lives in Maryland.