January 26–28, 2022

Virtual Events

With the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival virtual events we want to provide the community a safe way to experience quality programming. We are offering timely conversations and powerful presentations. All are welcome at these events. Please feel free to share these with friends!

President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days Conference

President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days

In partnership with USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

April 29, 2021 • 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

The Biden Administration has a full plate of major issues to tackle in the first 100 days in office. In this conference, our moderators and panelists take a deep look into what Biden has and has not accomplished in the first few months of his presidency. Our panel topics cover domestic policy initiatives, foreign policy work, the lingering impact of Trumpism, and the approaching 2022 midterms and 2024 general election.

Panel 1: How are Joe and Mitch Doing?

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Panel 2: Biden Abroad

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Panel 3: How Strong Is Trump’s Hold on the GOP?

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Panel 4: Racing Toward 2022 and 2024

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Nancy Reagan

Karen Tumulty and Patt Morrison

April 7, 2021 • 11:00 am PST

Please join us for a discussion about Karen Tumulty’s new book The Triumph of Nancy Reagan. This is the definitive biography of the fiercely vigilant and politically astute First Lady who shaped one of the most consequential presidencies of the 20th century: Nancy Reagan. This book explores the multifaceted character of Nancy Reagan and reveals new details surrounding the tumultuous presidency. The Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty spent four years interviewing the people who knew Ronald and Nancy Reagan best and draws on overlooked archives, letters, memoirs, and White House records, compiling the most extensive biography of Nancy Reagan yet. From the AIDS epidemic to tensions with the Soviets and the war on drugs, this book shows how Nancy Reagan became one of the most influential First Ladies of the century.

Conspiracies Then and Now

Conspiracies Then and Now

In partnership with USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

March 18, 2021 • 9:00 am PST

March 19, 2021 • 10:00 am PST

Conspiracy theories have captured the attention of people throughout history, and they have become especially influential in current politics. Some recent conspiracists have deliberately adopted the language of the Middle Ages to advance their agenda. In this conference we will break down the history of conspiracy theories dating back to the Middle Ages and compare them to contemporary beliefs. We’ll also discuss how the Deep State and QAnon theories influenced political messaging in the age of Trump. Each panel will conclude with an audience Q&A. Festival authors Bret Stephens and Roz Rothstein will be participating in the panels.

Panel 1: Comparing the Politics and History of Conspiracy Theories from the Middles Ages to the Modern

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Panel 2: Conspiracies around Judaism: Anti-Semitism from the Medieval Era to George Soros

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Panel 3: The Spread of Conspiracies: Heretical Groups to Social Media

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Panel 4: Templars and the Deep State

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Panel 5: Apocalypse Then and Now: Millenarian Cults to QAnon

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Making a President

The Making of the President 2020: What Happened and What’s Next?

In partnership with USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

November 13, 2020 • 11:00 am PDT

Featuring leading political figures, journalists, and scholars, this conference will offer insider perspectives into the presidential election and its aftermath.

Panel 1: Why Biden Won

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Panel 2: The Future of the Republican Party

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Panel 3: Can We Knit America Back Together?

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Panel 4: The Democratic Agenda Ahead

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Susan Eisenhower and H.W. Brands

October 22, 2020 • 11:00 am PDT

Please join us for a fascinating discussion about President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from the perspectives of his granddaughter Susan Eisenhower and historian H.W. Brands. Susan Eisenhower is the author of the recently released book, How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions, which shows us not just what a great American did, but why—and what we can learn from him today. Few people have made decisions as momentous as Eisenhower, nor has one person had to make such a varied range of them. From D-Day to Little Rock, from the Korean War to Cold War crises, from the Red Scare to the Missile Gap controversies, Ike was able to give our country eight years of peace and prosperity by relying on a core set of principles.

Susan Eisenhower is a consultant, author and expert on international security, space policy, energy and relations between the Russian Federation and the U.S. She is the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A lifelong Republican, she made headlines in 2008 by famously endorsing Barack Obama for president and leaving the Republican Party to become an Independent.

H.W. Brands holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. He has authored 30 books on U.S. history and his works have twice been selected as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.  His latest book is The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom.

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Cimate Forward

Climate Forward 2020

In partnership with USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

October 13, 2020 • 10:00 am PDT

The USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future have teamed up again to take a fresh look at how to break the gridlock preventing action against climate change.


  • Tom Steyer—Founder, NextGen America and climate activist
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham—Governor of New Mexico; former U.S. Representative (D-NM)
  • Bina Venkataraman—Editorial Page Editor, The Boston Globe; Senior Advisor for Climate Change Innovation, Obama Administration
  • Christine Todd Whitman—Former New Jersey Governor and Administrator of the  Environmental Protection Agency, Bush Administration

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Glaude Meacham

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. and Jon Meacham

August 25, 2020 • 12:30 pm PDT

Please join two esteemed historians, educators and authors, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. and Jon Meacham, in a conversation about America’s unique history of race relations and social justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matters through the lens of two civil rights icons—James Baldwin and Rep. John Lewis.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University and author of Democracy in Black and Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Message for Our Own.

Jon Meacham is a renowned presidential historian, contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, contributing editor at TIME and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. His most recent book is His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope.

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Election Dialogues

Election R&D Dialogues

In partnership with USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future

The mission of USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future is to advance civil dialogue that transcends partisan divisions and explores solutions to our most pressing national and global challenges. The Center is led by two of the nation’s most experienced and respected political experts, Robert Shrum and Michael Murphy.

Robert Shrum is the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC Dornsife and has been director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. He has a storied career as an author and campaign adviser to Democratic candidates. His numerous clients included Edward Kennedy, Joe Biden, John Glenn and Barbara Mikulski in their Senate campaigns, and John Kerry and Al Gore in their presidential races. Overseas his clients included Ehud Barak in his campaign for Prime Minister of Israel, the British Labour Party and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of Ireland and the President of Colombia.

Michael Murphy is one of the Republican Party’s most successful political consultants. Murphy has led more than 20 statewide campaigns to victory, including gubernatorial races for Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christine Todd Whitman, John Engler and Tommy Thompson as well as dozens of Senatorial, United States House and other races. He’s worked on six Republican presidential campaigns and is widely known for his work in the 2000 GOP primaries as a senior strategist for Senator John McCain. He has advised leaders in Canada, Panama, El Salvador, Europe and in the former Soviet Union. He is a widely known political pundit, appearing frequently on NBC, CNN and NPR.

Democratic National Convention 2020 Recap

August 21, 2020 • 12:00 pm PDT

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Republican National Convention 2020 Recap

August 28, 2020 • 12:00 pm PDT

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Biden/Trump First Presidential Debate Analysis

September 30, 2020 • 12:00 pm PDT

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Harris/Pence Vice Presidential Debate Analysis

October 8, 2020 • 12:00 pm PDT

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The Debate That Never Was

October 16, 2020 • 12:00 pm PDT

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Biden/Trump Final Presidential Debate Analysis

October 23, 2020 • 12:00 pm PDT

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Ambassador John Bolton in Conversation with Douglas Brinkley

July 15, 2020

A very special event with Ambassador John Bolton, an attorney, diplomat, Republican consultant and political commentator who served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006 and as the United States National Security Advisor from 2018 to 2019. Ambassador Bolton will appear in a virtual conversation with CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

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