2020 Vision: Inside the Presidential Campaign

Friday, January 24 at 10:00am to 5:00pm

This is a past event.

Town & Gown Ballroom, 665 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Joined by top political strategists, journalists, and academics, this conference offered an insider’s look into the 2020 presidential campaign leading up to the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary. The Warschaw Conference on Practical Politics featured candid discussions on the state of the Democratic presidential race, the California primary election, the changing American electorate, and the general election landscape.

10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. 10 Days to Iowa: The State of the Democratic Race” 
This panel will examined campaign strategies and the lead up to the early primary states in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.

  • Joel Benenson - Pollster and strategist for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; CEO, Benenson Strategies
  • Steve McMahon -Democratic strategist; Media consultant for Barack Obama, Howard Dean, and Ted Kennedy; CEO, Purple Strategies
  • Neera Tanden - President and CEO, Center for American Progress; Director of Domestic Policy, Obama campaign; Policy Director for Hillary 2016
  • Ellyn Toscano - Former Chief Policy Adviser for Congressman Jose E. Serrano; Senior Director of Programming, Partnership and Community Engagement, New York University

Moderated by Morris Levy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, USC Dornsife

11:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. “The California Primary: Who Can Strike Gold?” 
This panel examined how California’s earlier primary will impact the Democratic race. 

  • Hon. James Brulte - Former CA State Senator and Assemblyman; Former Chairman, California Republican Party
  • Bill Carrick - Strategist for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and President Bill Clinton
  • Mariel Garza - Editorial Writer, Los Angeles Times
  • Carla Marinucci - Senior Writer, POLITICO’s California Playbook

Moderated by Conan Nolan, Political Reporter and Host of News Conference, KNBC

Watch the Facebook livestream.

2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Boomers vs. Millennials: The Changing American Electorate” 
This panel examined the new demography of the 2020 electorate and the impact of voters in the Rust Belt, white women voters, and younger voters. 

  • Todd Harris - Senior strategist for Sen. Marco Rubio 2016; Spokesman for Sen. John McCain, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Jane Junn - Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies, USC Dornsife; USC Associates Chair in Social Sciences
  • Cesar Martinez - Spanish language media strategist for Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney
  • Doug Thornell - Principal, SKD Knickerbocker; Former media strategist for Democratic National Committee; Adviser, Congressional Black Caucus; Spokesman for Howard Dean

Moderated by Ron Christie, Political Analyst, BBC; Former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush; Deputy Assistant to Vice President Cheney for Domestic Policy; Fall ‘19 Fellow, USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

Watch the Facebook livestream.

3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. On to November: What Matters and Why?” 
This panel explored how the primary campaigns and developments in Washington are shaping the general election landscape. 

  • Rob Collins - Republican strategist; Former Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • Christian Grose - Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, USC Dornsife; Academic Director, USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy
  • Betsy Fischer Martin - Emmy-winning journalist; Former TV news executive; Executive Director, Women and Politics Institute, American University
  • Mike Murphy - Co-Director, Center for the Political Future; political analyst for NBC News; former Senior Strategist for John McCain

Moderated by Robert M. Shrum, Director, USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future; Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics; Strategist for Al Gore, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy

Watch the Facebook livestream.

View our Facebook photo album.

Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop, Conference/Symposia, Student Life, Reception, Event Highlights


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus


Dornsife, cpf




$30 General Admission, $20 Alumni, Free for Current USC Students, Staff, Faculty

Center for the Political Future


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