CNN journalists discuss impact of policy on upcoming midterms

CNN hosted an event with four journalists who discussed national and local policies that could affect the upcoming midterm elections at the School of Media and Public Affairs Wednesday.

Journalists Gloria Borger, David Chalian, Kasie Hunt and Jasmine Wright talked about political issues like the overturning of Roe v. Wade, immigration and inflation and how they might impact American voters’ choices in the 2022 midterm elections. About 200 community members attended the fourth installment of the civic engagement-focused CITIZEN by CNN series hosted in partnership with GW at the Jack Morton Auditorium.

Sam Fiest, CNN’s Washington bureau chief and senior vice president, introduced the other journalist speakers and endorsed the partnership between GW and CNN, including the recently established Ted Turner Endowed Fund, a fund seeking to raise $6 million to help create a new professorship in SMPA that will focus on environmental journalism.

Kasie Hunt, a CNN anchor and chief national affairs analyst, moderated the event and discussed her perspective on national topics like former President Donald Trump and how his rhetoric could affect the election outcomes in November.

“I was talking to a Republican candidate who actually had worked for Donald Trump and ended up being the sort of more mainstream of the candidates in this particular race,” Hunt, a GW alum, said. “And this person pointed out to me, he was meeting voters on the trail day in and day out, who were absolutely convinced of the things that Donald Trump was saying about the election in particular, that it was stolen from Donald Trump”

Gloria Borger, CNN’s chief political analyst, spoke about motivating voters when it comes to midterm elections. She said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to fly immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard provided Republicans and Democrats the opportunity to motivate their respective bases.

“It’s cliché but midterm elections, especially, are about turnout,” Borger said. “And so what you’re seeing is both parties trying to figure out a way to get their people to the polls.”

David Chalian, CNN’s political director, spoke about the potential opportunity created for Democrats following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Chalian said while abortion restrictions are being implemented around the country, the possibility of state-wide abortion bans will motivate a new electorate of single-issue voters that will rally around protecting abortion access during the midterms.

“Look for where abortion rights are going to be an actual issue on the ballot, like in a referendum where voters are voting,” Chalian said.

Voters in Kansas rejected a ballot measure that would have removed abortion rights protections in the state’s constitution in early August. It was the first state to hold a vote on abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

Jasmine Wright, a CNN reporter covering the White House, talked about Democratic candidates’ attitudes toward Biden leading up to the midterms. When answering a question about President Joe Biden’s approval rating, Wright said across the board there has not been a total rebuke of his leadership because of policies the White House implemented like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Wright also said Biden’s attempts to shift national attention toward Trump and Republican extremism could shift votes during the midterms.

“He’s making it a referendum, not on himself, so much of what he’s done in office, but on former President Trump, even though he is not on the ballot,” Wright said.

The journalists finished the discussion by offering advice to students who want to get involved in fields like media and politics. Hunt talked about being persistent in the face of rejection from jobs and recommended students keep in contact and build relationships with people who may be involved in careers they are interested in.

“I would just recommend to you that if you are rejected, don’t let it get you down,” Hunt said. “Don’t let it stop you. Don’t let it get into your own head and make you judge yourself because if you work hard enough, the right thing will come your way.”

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