Keynote Speakers Alex Castellanos and Mark Shields Opine on the Legislative and Electoral Landscapes for March on Washington Attendees
Prominent political analysts joined by NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris for a Q&A Session covering the current DC environment as well as 2014 and 2016 Elections
March 26, 2014 07:35 AM
Republican Analyst Alex Castellanos, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris and Syndicated Columnist Mark Shields at this year's March on Washington
In the first General Session of the second day of NAHC’s March on Washington, Republican political strategist Alex Castellanos and syndicated columnist Mark Shields offered their insight and opinions on the state of the country, the legislative environment in Congress and what lays in store for the 2014 and 2016 elections. The keynote speakers followed an earlier portion of the General Session that focused on post-acute care bundling. The session concluded with a Q&A between Mr. Castellanos, Mr. Shields and NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris.
Alex Castellanos was first to address the General Session, and offered his “laws of politics” that will shape the 2016 presidential race, but also apply to all election cycles. Among his rules are the “Elvis” rule that you should never run against someone with a famous name – a law that may be broken if Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush both choose to run for president. Other laws that Mr. Castellanos explained were the “law of completion” that states that Americans want to finish what they started when it comes to elections – particularly when it comes to electing the first woman president – and the “law of irony,” which states that a president who runs against his predecessor will look very much like him by the end of his term.
When his presentation shifted to why certain candidates attract large segments of voters, Mr. Castellanos said, “you can’t run and win elections just by burning your opponent’s house down. You need to build a place to live.” In other words, campaigns and candidates need to give voters a reason to support them – a law that also applies to advocates when meeting with lawmakers and their staffs.
Another rule that Mr. Castellanos described in terms of both political campaigns, that also applies to home care and hospice advocates, is that, “being able to own ideas in politics is key.” In fact, Mr. Castellanos stated that the home care and hospice community do own important ideas in how to reform healthcare, and that will serve those who came to the March on Washington well during their Capitol Hill visits.
After Mr. Castellanos spoke, Mark Shields took to the podium to offer his insight on the legislative and political landscape in DC and the country in general stating that, “the midterms should be a good year and a great election cycle for Republicans, even though the party faces a significant problem: the country is changing and they are not.”
Mr. Shields supported his analysis with historical voting trends that the party that controls the White House tends to lose seats in both the House and the Senate during midterms, and also illustrated the changing demographics of the country: “in 1988, George H. W. Bush got 56 percent of the white vote and won in a landslide. In 2012, Mitt Romney got a larger share of the white vote, and lost the election handily.”
After both Mr. Castellanos and Mr. Shields had an opportunity to address the General Session, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris joined both speakers for a Q&A session, asking both men to predict what Congress will look like after the 2014 midterm elections. There was agreement that the House will stay firmly in Republican control, and the Senate is up for grabs. Said Alex Castellanos, “it will be tough for Republicans to pick up the six seats they need to regain control of the Senate, but the electoral field is expanding.”
When Mr. Halamandaris asked each speaker for advice for the homecare and hospice advocates who came to Washington to attend the March on Washington, Mr. Castellanos stated aptly that, “the power we all have in politics is to find something big and true and important that’s worth fighting for and elevate it in a powerful way. Home care’s chance to do that is now.”