AEI Election Watch: Postelection analysis — 2018 and beyond - AEI



Event Summary

With the 2018 midterm elections behind us, what do the results mean for the next Congress and the impending 2020 presidential race? On Thursday afternoon, two days after the election, AEI’s Election Watch team discussed which results were surprising and which ones mean the most for each party and Congress.

AEI’s Karlyn Bowman began by noting that in 2018 more voters than ever considered the president to be an important factor in their decision to vote. AEI’s Michael Barone highlighted how gerrymandering, the Kavanaugh nomination, and an unfavorable lineup affected Democrats’ loss in the Senate. John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center added that 2018 was an unusually high turnout year for a midterm election and that most of the newly elected governors will remain in place once redistricting begins after the 2020 Census.

Henry Olsen of the Ethics & Public Policy Center turned to the House races, noting that Democrats came out on top due to voters in the suburbs. AEI’s Norman Ornstein asserted that money was an enormous factor in Democrats’ success, both for candidates and outside groups, and that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will regain her position as Speaker of the House. The panel predicted a more divided Congress and the possibility of ethics reform with Democrats in control of the House.

— Zoe Appler

Event Description

On November 8, 2018, two days after the election, the AEI Election Watch team will gather to discuss what happened in US House of Representatives, Senate, and gubernatorial races around the country and why and how the outcomes will matter. The panelists will examine the election results, exit polls, and voting patterns, providing historical context and analyzing what factors influenced the 2018 contests. They will also discuss how the US House and Senate results could affect the legislative agenda and congressional political climate and what the new governors’ lineup might bring. Finally, they will look ahead to what the new political landscape might mean going into the 2020 elections.

AEI’s Election Watch series is the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. Since 1982, AEI’s experts have provided historical insights and current commentary in every midterm and presidential election.


11:45 AM
Registration and lunch

12:00 PM
Panel discussion

Michael Barone, AEI
John Fortier, Bipartisan Policy Center
Henry Olsen, Ethics & Public Policy Center
Norman J. Ornstein, AEI

Karlyn Bowman, AEI

1:15 PM

1:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Eleanor O’Neil at [email protected], 202.862.5899.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner and a resident fellow at AEI. He is a contributor to Fox News Channel, author of “Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics” (Crown Forum, 2013), and one of the founders of “The Almanac of American Politics.” Over the years, he has written for many publications in the United States and several other countries, including The Economist, The Times Literary Supplement, The Daily Telegraph, and The Sunday Times of London. Mr. Barone received the Bradley Prize from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2010, the Barbara Olson Award from The American Spectator in 2006, and the Carey McWilliams Award from the American Political Science Association in 1992. He has traveled to all 435 congressional districts.

Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow at AEI, where she compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, the environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women’s attitudes. In addition, she has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States.

John Fortier, director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Democracy Project, is a political scientist who focuses on governmental and electoral institutions. Before joining the Bipartisan Policy Center, he was a research fellow at AEI, where he served as the principal contributor to the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, executive director of the Continuity of Government Commission, and project manager of the Transition to Governing Project. He also served as director of the Center for the Study of American Democracy at Kenyon College. Dr. Fortier is the author of “Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises, and Perils” (AEI Press, 2006), author and editor of “After the People Vote: A Guide to the Electoral College” (AEI Press, 2004), and author and coeditor, with Norman Ornstein, of “Second Term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed” (Brookings Press, 2007). Dr. Fortier has been a regular columnist for The Hill and Politico and is a frequent television commentator on elections and government institutions. He has also taught at Kenyon College, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, Harvard University, and Boston College.

Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world. He is the author of “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism” (Broadside Books, 2017) and the coauthor of “The Four Faces of the Republican Party: The Fight for the 2016 Presidential Nomination” (Palgrave Pivot, 2016) with Dante J. Scala. Before joining the Ethics & Public Policy Center, Mr. Olsen most recently served from 2006 to 2013 as vice president and director of the National Research Initiative at AEI. He previously worked as vice president of programs at the Manhattan Institute and president of the Commonwealth Foundation. His work has been featured in many prominent publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, and The Weekly Standard.

Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at AEI, where he studies politics, elections, and Congress. He is a cohost of AEI’s Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center. Dr. Ornstein previously served as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. A longtime observer and analyst of American politics and Congress, he has been involved in political reform for decades, particularly campaign finance reform and the reform of Senate committees. He also played a role in creating the Congressional Office of Compliance and the Office of Congressional Ethics. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. He was named one of the top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine in 2012. His many books include “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported,” with E. J. Dionne and Thomas Mann (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and the New York Times bestseller “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism” with Thomas Mann (Basic Books, 2012), which was named Book of the Year by Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, one of the 10 best books on politics in 2012 by The New Yorker, and one of the best books of 2012 by The Washington Post. The book’s revised edition, “It’s Even Worse Than It Was,” was published in April 2016.

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