The Evolution of Politics

The Evolution of Politics

Washington, D.C. is riddled with public icons, whether they be politicians, foreign dignitaries, sometimes a celebrity or two, and of course, TV personalities. When we see these individuals on television, they are merely a character and often we forget that they are just like us. I had a strong dose of this reality at The Washington Center’s last Simpson-Mineta Leaders Series (SMLS) event,  where a panel of well-respected political media members took to the TWC stage and discussed the magnitude of this coming election with an informal twist that shows us a whole new side of the people who bring us news.


The panel consisted of Nia-Malika Henderson (Senior Political Reporter for CNN), Colleen McCain Nelson (White House Correspondent forThe Wall Street Journal) and Charles Mahtesian (Senior Politics Editor at Politico), all moderated by John King, CNN’s Chief National Correspondent and anchor of CNN’s Inside Politics.


Perfectly stated by the panel’s introducer, “These are the people who write the first draft of history." Reporters are the closest thing the public has to being able to directly speak to its leaders. But we the public rarely see the personal side of these “history drafters." We forget that there may be another side to THEIR personal story. For example, the moderator, John King, a world-renowned journalist, seemed to lighten the mood by throwing in little jokes and side bars here and there, which you assume is his way of setting the tone for the panel. He continued to make silly comments as the discussion progressed, continuously pulling the audience back in and keeping the conversation engaging. This was noticeable through his bits about Charlie Mahtesian being the best media league softball player or how the possibility of an open Republican convention will be a political reporter’s equivalent to “A free pass to Disney World for a six-year-old, where there is no bed time and free cookies and candy." The panel discussion seemed to be turning into one-part business and one-part comedy.


As expected, the main focus of the panel was politics. What a shock! Although, this my friends, was not your typical grandmother-versus-uncle-political-argument-over-Thanksgiving-dinner conversation; this was a full-bodied, insider's look at what is happening in American politics and what affect it may have.


One outstanding topic the panel discussed was the possible “Evolution of a Party." Because of this turbulent election season, filled with mudslinging, rule-changing and pushing candidates out, the panelists argued that a fracture is bound to occur. “The Republican party is going to crack up” one of the panel members said. Another argued that Donald Trump will single-handedly cause of this crack up because of his ability to split the party supporters. This intersection was described by the panel as: “Politics meets The Kardashians." This election will most certainly have a negative impact on voters and future political races, but as always, only time will tell.


Besides the panel’s sense of humor and predictions of the future election, they left us TWC students with these parting words of advice: the younger generation is needed in journalism; do what you do because it fascinates you, and because you love what you do; and remember, working in Washington, D.C. may be an incredible opportunity, but it may not always be the top of your field, so keep moving and go where the story takes you.




Until Next Time,



Read Nicole's previous blog posts here

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More