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"First Hand" is the Yale Politics Initiative's workshop series on the practical skills and techniques that fuel political campaigns. Participants will learn from the country's top experts in ad-making, data analytics, debate prep, speechwriting, and opposition research in interactive workshops.

To apply for workshops with our upcoming guests, click the buttons below. Each skill (ad-making, data analytics, debate prep, speechwriting, and opposition research) has a unified application. Your application will be considered individually for each workshop that you select within each unified application. Our master classes are comprised of students with a wide range of academic and extracurricular interests.


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Presidential Debate Prep

One-time workshops with two of the country’s top presidential debate prep experts: Brett O’Donnell — who led debate prep for John McCain and Mitt Romney — and Karen Dunn — who led debate prep for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Your application will be considered individually for each workshop that you select.

Each class will be highly interactive and will center on a group exercise in which students will participate in and critique a mock debate.

February 26, 4:00-6:30pm - Brett O’Donnell (John McCain and Mitt Romney)

Date TBA - Karen Dunn (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama)

 
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Political Ad-Making

One-time workshops with six of the country’s top Republican and Democratic ad-makers. Your application will be considered individually for each workshop that you select within the unified form.

Each class will center around a group exercise: participants will be split into small groups and tasked with scripting a thirty-second ad spot based on a prompt of the ad-maker's choosing. The ad-maker will offer candid feedback on each script and conclude the class by presenting his take on the prompt.

January 22, 4:00-6:30pm - Fred Davis (John McCain “Celebrity,” Carly Fiorina “Demon Sheep”)

January 28, 4:00-6:30pm - Jon Downs (Jeb Bush “Honor”)

January 30, 4:00-6:30pm - John Del Cecato (Barack Obama “Firms”)

February 6, 4:00-6:30pm - Mark Putnam (Jason Kander “Background Checks,” Amy McGrath “Told Me”)

February 12, 4:00-6:30pm - Julian Mulvey (Bernie Sanders “America”)

February 20, 4:00-6:30pm - Jim Margolis (Hillary Clinton “Captain Khan,” “Mirrors”)

 
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Progressive Data Analytics

One-time workshops with six of the country’s top progressive data scientists and analysts. Your application will be considered individually for each workshop that you select within the unified form.

Each class will feature three analysts, who will each present the details of a case study in political data analytics. Participants will then have the chance to engage in a conversation with the guests, moderated by a leading political data science professor.

January 26, 2:30-5:00pm - Amber Carrier (DCCC), Becca Siegel (BlueLabs), and David Shor (Civis)

February 4, 4:00-6:30pm - Jonathan Robinson (Catalist), Josh Rosmarin and Mahelet Fekade (Analyst Institute), Kass DeVorsey (Minerva Insights), and Sadia Iqbal (270 Strategies)