Just two days after the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S., Nareit presented a panel session featuring experts from both sides of the political aisle. Heather Podesta, founder and CEO of Invariant, brought a Democratic view, while Dave Bockorny, executive chairman and CEO of the Bockorny Group, presented from a Republican standpoint. Nareit’s Tony Edwards, executive vice president and general counsel, moderated the Spotlight Session, titled Welcome to the Second Day of the 2020 Elections.
Both panelists spoke at length about the changes in the Senate, which now has a Republican majority.
“[President Trump] is going to have not only a better working majority in the Senate, he’s also going to have a much more loyal Senate,” Bockorny said. Senate leadership will be inclined to be much more responsive to the president’s agenda, he added.
Podesta said that although this stronger loyalty from the Senate caucus may come to pass, ultimately, this will make it harder for the Senate to work. “What happened on Election Day was a hollowing out of the center of the Senate,” she said. “Losing moderates like Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill, [and] Joe Donnelly is a huge problem.”
Podesta added that for the most effective government, moderates on both sides are needed as swing votes, especially when attempting to pass important or divisive legislation.
The Congressional Black Caucus could cause another important shift after the midterms, since heading into the elections, it made clear that it wanted to see at least one person of color in one of the top two leadership slots in Senate committees.
“This election was in large part attributed to ‘The Year of the Woman,’ and you see it in this new class of members arriving next week for orientation. Sixty-five percent of the Democrats who won are women,” Podesta said, when asked about her general observations of the midterm outcomes.
Looking ahead, Bockorny said: “On this Election Day, it became clear that [Democrats] need to have a better way to talk about immigration than what their candidates were able to do, in the same way Republicans have to figure out a better way to talk about health care.”
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