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Politicon 2019

On October 26th and 27th, Millennial Action Project Founder and President Steven Olikara traveled to Nashville to participate in Politicon, an annual event that brings together some of the most recognizable and influential names in politics to discuss and debate the most prominent current political issues. Olikara participated in four separate panels, acting as a moderator for some of the marquee pairings that convened at the event. 

On Saturday, Olikara moderated three different discussions throughout the day. The first of these panels brought together the Conservative firebrand, Anne Coulter, with former George W. Bush speechwriter and current Atlantic columnist, David Frum. The talk focused on the current state of the Republican party, with Coulter and Frum debating the merits of Trump’s Presidency, and how the party’s current stances on key issues will influence the future of the GOP. The conversation, both enlightening and entertaining, highlighted different visions for the Republican party and what issues are driving current conservative ideology. Coulter views the Trump Administration as a step in the right direction for the party, whereas Frum calls on Republicans to hold Trump accountable, in an effort to defend and protect the party.

The following discussion, billed as one of the marquee sets at Politicon, was an informal debate between Sean Hannity and James Carville. The personalities are leading voices on opposite sides of America’s political debates, and they provided their opinions on current political affairs in America. The freewheeling discussion dove into the accomplishments and failures of President Trump and how they believe the impeachment proceedings will play out. While the two disagreed adamantly on just about every issue discussed, they expressed their mutual admiration and respect for each other and their effectiveness in their work. 

At the conclusion of the Hannity-Carville debate, Olikara immediately moved over to moderate a discussion between former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Donna Brazile, and former Republican National Committee Chairman and former Chief of Staff to Donald Trump, Reince Preibus. Brazile and Preibus are perhaps the two most well-positioned people to give insights into the political strategies of the two parties in the current moment. Olikara guided the discussion between the two to cover the results of the 2016 election, how well the parties are positioned going into 2020, and what potential changes the parties might need to make based on hypothetical outcomes of the 2020 election.

Olikara’s final moderating job was to facilitate a debate between Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, and Kyle Kulinski, the co-founder of Justice Democrats. The young debaters have become popular warriors in their respective parties’ movements, and their debate reflected the passion that currently exists in our political landscape. Olikara steered the debate through the topics of the President's call with Ukraine, to foreign election interference. While Olikara acted as a referee between the two political stars, their arguing needed little directing as they leaped from contentious issue to contentious issue.