Register Now


Mon, Dec. 09, 2019
8:20 am - 5 pm
(GMT-06:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall

As the 2020 election approaches, the nation is deeply polarized. Public distrust in politicians, the media and public institutions continues to grow amid ongoing impeachment proceedings and heightened concerns about America’s future.

Against this backdrop, the Presidential Elections Program conference convened academics, political experts and journalists from around the country to explore the state of the 2020 presidential campaign season and the challenges that lie ahead. The event featured a luncheon discussion between the honorary directors of the conference, political consultants Mary Matalin and James Carville, which was moderated by Karen Johnson Rove. Four panels further explored the political and cultural issues surrounding the 2020 election, including political polarization, waning public confidence in social and political institutions, and the complexities of primaries and caucuses.

Watch video of the conference below: 

To view the entire conference, please click below:

Panel I
Panel II
Luncheon Armchair
Panel III
Panel IV 





8:20 am



Breakfast and Registration

8:40 am


Opening Remarks

The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian
Director, Baker Institute

8:45 am



Panel I — Rising Polarization

Moderator: The Honorable Edward Martin Emmett, Former Harris County Judge

John D. Arnold
Founder and Co-chair, Arnold Ventures

Stephen Hawkins
Director of Research, More in Common

Jeffrey B. Lewis, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles

10:00 am



10:15 am    

Panel II — Trust and Confidence

Moderator: Lisa Falkenberg, Editor of Opinion, Houston Chronicle 

Michael Dimock, Ph.D.
President, Pew Research Center

Jennifer L. Merolla, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, University of California, Riverside

Daron Shaw, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Government, The University of Texas at Austin

Lynn Vavreck, Ph.D.
Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics and Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles

11:30 am    


12:15 pm



Luncheon and Discussion with James Carville and Mary Matalin

Introduction: The Honorable James A. Baker, III, Honorary Chair, Baker Institute

Moderator: Karen Johnson Rove, President and Founder, Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.

1:15 pm




1:30 pm


Panel III — Primaries and Caucuses

Moderator: Mark P. Jones, Ph.D., Fellow in Political Science, Baker Institute 

O. Kay Henderson
News Director, Radio Iowa

Neil Levesque
Executive Director, New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Saint Anselm College

Josh Putnam, Ph.D.
Founder and Administrator, FrontloadingHQ

Jon Ralston
Editor, The Nevada Independent

David Woodard, Ph.D.
Thurmond Professor of Political Science, Clemson University

3:00 pm




3:15 pm


Panel IV — The 2020 Election

Moderator: Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent, ABC News

John Anzalone
Partner, ALG Research

Jason Johnson
Owner, J2 Strategies

Lisa Lerer
Reporter, The New York Times

Karen Tumulty
Columnist, The Washington Post

4:30 pm


Closing Remarks


Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter and join the conversation with #BakerPresElections.



Register Now
Register Now


Mon, Dec. 09, 2019
8:20 am - 5 pm
(GMT-06:00) America/Chicago


James A. Baker III Hall