Political Power in Washington: California and the Midterm Elections

As dramatized in "The West Wing," "Scandal" and "House of Cards," the U.S. political system is teeming with entertaining twists and turns, heroes and villains and scandals. But while Hollywood is presenting 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 the L.A. Times' assistant managing editor of politics, Christina Bellantoni, this 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 potential impact of the 2018 midterm elections 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 23-27, 2018

5 Days

4 Nights

Washington D.C.

North America

History & Politics

5 Days, 4 Nights

Trip Cost, Per Traveler

$4,995 double occupancy
(Single supplement: $925)
$500 Deposit
or Call 855.890.5298
Phone Hours - M-F, 7AM – 5PM PT
Print Itinerary
Expedition Highlights

Take a private tour of Congress from the perspective of an L.A. Times reporter.

Discuss the political climate and upcoming elections with political staffers.

Explore Washington's most vibrant walk-able neighborhoods.

Attend a live taping of "The PBS Newshour" and "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

Explore Washington's culinary delights in the city's most iconic restaurants.

Our Expedition Experts
Christina Bellantoni - LA Expeditions Expert

Christina Bellantoni

Los Angeles Times Assistant Managing Editor, Politics

Day 1

Welcome to the Capital

Arrive in Washington, D.C., and transfer to your hotel in the heart of the U.S. capital. After checking into your room, join your L.A. Times expert and fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner at a local steakhouse often visited by political wheelers and dealers. After dinner, explore the city on a night tour of illuminated monuments and memorials.  (R, D)

Day 2

An Insider's Look Into Congress (aka the Corridor of Power)

Begin this morning with a crash course on California's preeminent issues - healthcare, immigration and environmentalism - from your L.A. Times expert, Christina Bellantoni. Learn how these issues play a role in the upcoming elections, and receive an overview of the impact of the midterm elections nationally. Then tour one of Washington's most iconic buildings, the U.S. Capitol, followed by a catered lunch in a private room. 

This afternoon, meet with a California representative to discuss hot topics of the upcoming election. From sanctuary cities to healthcare, learn how California is tackling issues by opposing the federal government's position.

Afterwards, attend a live taping of "Hardball with Chris Matthews." 

This evening, engage in a bipartisan discussion with D.C. staffers from the current and previous administrations at a private reception in a local D.C. lounge. (L,R)

Day 3

Behind the Scenes of Washington

Start the morning with an expert from Georgetown University's Institute of Politics to discuss polling in the 2018 midterm elections. 

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 one of Ben's family members, and learn of its roots that date back to the 1950s in this historically black neighborhood. Following lunch, visit the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, located on the Mall. 

Late this afternoon, see the inner workings of a newsroom while attending a live taping of "PBS News Hour." (L)

Day 4

Political Persuasion

Meet with a lobbying firm this morning to discuss the complexity of money, power and politics and how lobbying affects elections. Next, meet with a representative from the California State Society to discuss California-centric issues. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the Newseum, an interactive museum dedicated to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. After some time to refresh, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 5


This morning, visit the Washington office of Gov. Jerry Brown. Return to the hotel for checkout and individual departures home. 

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Political Power in Washington: California and the Midterm Elections

$500 Deposit
$4,995 per traveler, double occupancy
Sep 2018
5 Days, 4 Nights
Washington D.C.
History & Politics

Join the L.A. Times' assistant managing editor of politics, Christina Bellantoni 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. Departs September 23, 2018.

Christina Bellantoni - LA Expeditions Expert Expedition Expert
Christina Bellantoni