D.C. Politics: California’s Capital Presence

September 22-26, 2019

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 American 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 a L.A. Times expert 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 impact and intersection of the 2018 midterm elections and the new state leadership 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 the deals are made, and gaining a broader insight into the intricacies of the U.S. political system from California’s perspective.

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Welcome to the Capital
Arrive in Washington, D.C., and make your way to your hotel in the heart of the U.S. capital. After checking in to your room, join your L.A. Times expert and fellow travelers for a quick walking tour of the Dupont Circle neighborhood, known as a pioneering alternative-lifestyle community. Then enjoy 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)

An Insider’s Look at Congress (aka the Corridor of Power)
Begin this morning with 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 gubernatorial elections. After a quick walking tour of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, 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 at a private reception in a D.C. lounge. (L, R)

Politics Is Local
Start the morning with an orientation of the historic Georgetown neighborhood. Then head to the university that bears its name to hear experts from the Institute of Politics to discuss the impact and intersection of the 2018 midterm elections and the gubernatorial leadership polling. 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. Later this afternoon, see the inner workings of a newsroom while attending a live taping of “PBS NewsHour.” (L)

Political Scenes and Screens
Start your day learning more about how advocacy and policy work in Washington. Meet with a lobbying firm this morning to discuss the complexity of money, power and politics and how lobbying can influence elections and laws. Complete your adventure in Washington with a visit to the Motion Picture Association 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 a local restaurant. (D)

Departure Day
Check out of your hotel, and return home.

trip details

Dupont Circle Hotel
The Dupont Circle is a four-star boutique hotel ideally located in Northwest Washington, D.C., just minutes from historical landmarks, shops and restaurants. https://www.doylecollection.com/hotels/the-dupont-circle-hotel

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