As Dramatized in “The West Wing,” “Scandal” and “House of Cards,” the U.S. political system is teeming with twists and turns, heroes and villains, and scandals. But as Hollywood presents seductive fictional stories, the state of California is creating a new narrative on how state government can shape, influence and challenge the federal government. As one in every 10 Americans is Californian, the state’s influence is seen at every level, from aides working with President Trump to the largest congressional delegation led by powerful, history making senators. Understanding California’s role in federal Washington has never been more critical.
Join L.A. Times White House reporter Eli Stokols next fall for a reporter’s eye-view of Washington and learn just how accurate the dramatic portrayals of politics might be on any given day. This behind-the-scenes crash course promises special access to learn how policy is made and the opportunity to discuss the priorities for the upcoming Supreme Court term and 2020 election with lawmakers, lobbyists, and journalists. Experience the nation’s capital as the ultimate insider, visiting D.C.’s most iconic sites, exploring the city’s favorite haunts to see where deals are made, and gaining a broader insight into the intricacies of the U.S. political system from California’s perspective.
Sep 22-26, 2019
Take a private tour of Congress with an L.A. Times reporter. Listen in on briefings, and watch Washington powerhouses and staffers in their element.
Go behind the scenes in a newsroom and attend a live taping of a political radio or TV show.
Explore three distinctive D.C. neighborhoods and discover how they have influenced the city's current identity.
Take a front-row seat during a conversation with activists about how California is positioning itself on environmental, immigration and labor issues.
Arrive in Washington, D.C., and make your way to your hotel in the heart of the U.S. capitol. After checking into your room, join your L.A. Times expert and fellow travelers for a quick walking tour of the Dupont Circle neighborhood, your home base throughout your D.C. visit. Then, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at the historic Tabard Inn. After dinner, explore the city on a night tour of illuminated monuments and memorials. (R, D)
Meet with Elizabeth Wydra, the President of the Constitutional Accountability Center to look ahead to the upcoming Supreme Court term, which begins October 7, 2019. Wydra will provide an overview of the cases that will be before the Court and what these decisions might mean for the political landscape in 2020 and beyond. After, visit staff at the LAT’s Washington Bureau for a crash course on California’s preeminent issues: From sanctuary cities to healthcare, learn how California is tackling issues by opposing the federal government's position. Understand how these issues play a role in the upcoming presidential election. Midday, visit the recently revitalized and hip enclave of Shaw for lunch at a D.C. staple, Ben’s Chili Bowl. Hear the restaurant’s history from Harry Jaffe, who coauthored the book “Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington” with one of Ben’s relatives. Late this afternoon, see the inner workings of a newsroom while attending a live taping of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at MSNBC’s Washington, D.C. studio. (L)
Start your day with a walking tour of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, including stops at the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. After, visit one of Washington’s most iconic buildings, the U.S. Capitol, followed by a catered lunch in a private room. Conclude your day with an evening bipartisan discussion with D.C. staffers from the current and previous administrations over drinks in a local D.C. lounge. (L, R)
Start your day learning more about how advocacy and policy work in Washington with a visit to Waxman Strategies – a public-interest-focused policy and communications firm chaired by former California Representative Henry Waxman. The Waxman team will share insights on the complexity of money, power and politics through the lens of their work to protect the environment and ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare. Complete your adventure in Washington with a visit to the Motion Picture Assn. of America and hear more about Hollywood’s presence in the capital. Then discuss how U.S. politics is portrayed on big and small screens. After some time to refresh back at the hotel, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak, often visited by political wheelers and dealers. (D)
Check out of your hotel, and return home.