Experts at DePaul University analyze presidential primaries

Scholars comment on campaign marketing, issues from race to the economy

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Election tipsheet
Presidential debates, primaries and caucuses are in full swing, and DePaul University’s experts are available to provide insight and commentary. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
CHICAGO — Presidential debates, primaries and caucuses are in full swing, and DePaul University’s experts are available to provide insight and commentary. Topics include marketing wins and failures, how elections really work, and how the economy and race relations in the U.S. are influencing campaigns. 

Experts on the topics of elections, presidential campaigns: 

Wayne Steger, Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Steger can speak about presidential nominations, election forecasting, media coverage of presidential campaigns, voting behavior and campaign finance. “Presidential nominations are largely a function of an insider game among party elites, interest groups and party activists, and a broader outsider game of appealing to the average rank-and-file party identifier,” said Steger. He can be reached at 773-325-4240 or wsteger@depaul.edu

Zachary Cook, Visiting Professor in Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Cook’s academic focus is on the politics of the millennial youth vote, the presidency, political parties, elections and campaign finance. “Political science really does not know who will win the 2016 Republican Party nomination (except that it will not be Donald Trump). And that's as it should be. It means the strategy, resources, luck and sheer grit of the candidates involved will dictate history,” he said. Cook can be reached at 773-325-8679 or zcook@depaul.edu

Nick Kachiroubas, Associate Teaching Professor, School of Public Service. Kachiroubas is an expert on leadership and its relationship to politics, policy and the presidency. He has also published a guide on the presidential election process. Kachiroubas has served in a wide range of elected and supportive roles in federal, state and local governments. “The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be a mandate on voters’ perception on trust of the candidate,” said Kachiroubas. “Voters of both major parties are moving toward candidates they believe they can trust, regardless if those perceptions are right or wrong, or the extreme nature of those candidates’ views.” Kachiroubas can be reached at 312-362-7649 or nkachiro@depaul.edu

Michael L. Mezey, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Mezey can discuss congressional and presidential elections and processes, public policymaking and the Electoral College. He is an editorial board member of Legislative Studies Quarterly, appears regularly on Chicago television news programs, and gives frequent interviews to local and national news media. He has published books on Congress and the U.S. presidency. Mezey can discuss whether Hillary Clinton can replicate the turnout numbers and enthusiasm of the Obama coalition, and if she can appeal to voters of color and young people. He pondered, “Were Obama's numbers among these groups specific to his candidacy, or will turnout among these groups resemble the off-year numbers of 2010 and 2014?” Mezey can be reached at 773-896-6766 or mmezey@depaul.edu

Craig Sautter, Visiting Professor, School for New Learning. Sautter is an expert in presidential conventions. “Since the Democratic Party’s two-thirds nominating rule was abolished in 1936, there have been 38 conventions. And only three have gone more than one ballot in the last 80 years.” Sautter can speak to the history of both Republican and Democrat conventions. He has written three books on the topic, including one with Alderman Edward M. Burke, “Inside the Wigwam: Chicago Presidential Conventions 1860-1996.” Additionally, Sautter has experience in the creation of campaign commercials and can speak on advertisement formation, implementation and effectiveness. Sautter can be reached at rcsautter@aol.com.

Erik Tillman, Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Tillman is an expert on elections, primaries and public opinion. "Party and candidate support is increasingly a reflection of personality style or worldview,” said Tillman. “Democrat and Republican voters are divided by their different orientations to threat, fairness and change. These differences even help to explain support for specific primary candidates — particularly in the Republican campaign. These different worldviews help to explain why our parties have become so polarized." He can be reached at etillman@depaul.edu and 773-325-4131.

Benjamin Epstein, Assistant Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Epstein researches American politics broadly including political communication, campaigns and elections, and racial and ethnic politics. His primary areas of research include political communication changes in the U.S. over time and the intersection of the Internet and politics today. “Political communication changes have created greater potential for a more people to gather, create, and share political information, but it has also created new challenges for both the creators and consumers of political information,” said Epstein. In a forthcoming book, "The Political Communication Cycle," Epstein explores the technological, behavioral, and political roles that interact in the recurring process of political communication change. “The current period of rapid political communication change actually has a long history that can help provide insights into how, why and when various political actors innovate their strategies and where our political communication practices might be headed,” he said. Epstein can be reached at bepstein@depaul.edu​.

Experts on campaign marketing, social media: 

Paul Booth, Associate Professor of Media and Cinema Studies, College of Computing and Digital Media. Booth is an expert in the use of social media and how candidates use it to reach their fans. “One of the most effective uses of social media in this election is to garner fans,” said Booth. “Candidates will have to appeal to different groups at different times.” Booth can be reached at 312-362-7753 or pbooth@depaul.edu​

Maria De Moya, Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication, College of Communication. De Moya can discuss how public relations campaigns target ethnic communities, specifically Latinos. She studies how immigrants are treated in the media, as well as how ethnic organizations communicate. She believes presidential candidates are portraying Latinos as “saints or sinners,” polar opposite stereotypes that will alienate many Latino voters. She can speak to issues that matter to Latinos and effective messages that will resonate with voters. De Moya is fluent in Spanish and can be reached at 312-362-6099 or mdemoyat@depaul.edu​.  ​

Bruce Evensen, Director and Chair of the Journalism Program, College of Communication. Evensen is teaching a course this winter called “The Press and the Presidency” and can speak to the role of mass media in presidential campaigns, including how candidates attempt to use the media, and how media use the candidates in the presidential race to garner page views. “Having a reality TV star leading the Republican field focuses on the entertainment aspects of presidential elections that began in the Log Cabin campaign of 1840, and now reaches new heights on this side of this digital divide through the use of social media,” said Evensen. He can be reached at bevensen@depaul.edu or 312-362-7616. 

Bruce Newman, Professor of Marketing, Driehaus College of Business. An expert in the application of marketing technology to politics, Newman can discuss how leading candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential race are becoming master marketers in a high-tech marketplace. "Bernie Sanders’ reliance on Snapchat helped him secure a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton in Iowa,” said Newman. “The use of customer analytics and micro-targeting by Ted Cruz helped him win in Iowa and upset the Trump juggernaut.” Looking ahead, Newman says candidates will use the same technological tools to raise more funds, build up a voter base and create distinctive images. Newman’s book “The Marketing Revolution in Politics” explores how recent U.S. presidential campaigns have adopted the latest marketing techniques, learning from the winning formulas President Barack Obama’s campaigns pioneered. Newman was a communication adviser to the senior staff in the Clinton White House in 1995 and 1996. He is the author of several books on the subject, including “The Marketing of the President,” and is editor of the Journal of Political Marketing. Newman can be reached at 312-362-5186 or bnewman@depaul.edu

Experts on debate issues, including economy, immigration and race:

Kathleen Arnold, Political Scientist, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Arnold is a political theorist and immigration expert who has written on the use of executive authority under the Obama administration and previous administrations. “The presidential election is heavily focused on immigrants and immigration. While current debates are interesting, most are fairly inaccurate,” Arnold said. “For example, black and white terms such as legal and illegal do not fairly represent the lives and conditions of immigrants. While introducing punitive measures for criminals is logical, criminalizing immigrants may not be so logical or even moral," she said. Arnold can be reached at karnol14@depaul.edu or 773-325-4736. 

Valerie Johnson, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Johnson can talk about U.S. politics, African-American politics and urban politics, multiracial political alliances and the politics of urban education. “The presidential primary season is in full swing and has once again brought issues of race to the forefront. Recent verbal attacks against Mexicans and Asians by leading Republican candidates, and police shootings and racial discord in Ferguson, Missouri; Charleston, South Carolina; and Baltimore have unmasked America’s continuing racial dilemma,” said Johnson. “Until we fully reckon with the cumulative socioeconomic advantages and disadvantages associated with past and continuing racism and white privilege, and begin open and honest public dialogue about race, all of our hopes and dreams of a democratic society will remain unrealized. It is imperative that presidential aspirants lead the way." Johnson can be reached at 773-325-4731 or vjohnso5@depaul.edu

Michael Miller, Associate Professor of Economics, Driehaus College of Business. An expert in the areas of monetary and fiscal policy decisions, Miller believes the key to economic success going forward is economic growth, not income redistribution. “Government fiscal policy must be devised so as to allow the American economic engine to grow at its full potential, which will be rooted most firmly in the encouragement of entrepreneurship,” said Miller. “The funding of social programs and having workers realize the fruits of their hard work cannot occur without this growth.” Miller can be reached at 312-362-8477 or mmiller@depaul.edu.

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Media Contacts:
Kristin Claes Mathews
312-241-9856

Wendy Zamaripa Smit
312-362-7749​