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Presidential elections: DePaul University faculty experts discuss the 2016 campaigns, candidates, issues

Scholars available on campaign marketing, media coverage, immigration and more

American flags adorn the “Borders” public art exhibit near DePaul University's Loop Campus in Chicago. The U.S. presidential primary season is underway, and DePaul faculty experts are available to provide insight and commentary on the presidential race and issues facing voters and the candidates. (Photo by Jamie Moncrief)
CHICAGO — The U.S. presidential primary season is underway, and DePaul University faculty experts are available to provide insight and commentary on the presidential race and issues facing voters and the candidates. Scholarly experts can provide analysis on how candidates market themselves, the workings of campaigns, how the media influences elections, and current debate issues including immigration, race and the economy.

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 believes that campaign finance and media coverage tend to matter less than is commonly thought. “Candidate characteristics and political party coalitions matter a great deal more,” he said. Steger can be reached at 773-325-4240 or​.

Zachary Cook, Visiting Professor in Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Cook’s academic focus is 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​.

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 can discuss presidential nomination and election processes. 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​.

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 turn out among these groups resemble the off-year numbers of 2010 and 2014?” Mezey can be reached at 773-896-6766 or​.

Experts on campaign marketing, role of 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. “In a surprising turn from the previous two elections cycles, most of the candidates have not had a major social media presence,” said Booth. “This will change as the election grows closer and the candidates will have to appeal to fans outside their base.” Booth can be reached at 312-362-7753 or​.

Bruce Evensen, Director and Chair of the Journalism Program, College of Communication. Evensen will be 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​ or 312-362-7616.

Bruce Newman, Professor of Marketing, Driehaus College of Business. An expert in political marketing, Newman can discuss how politicians, including Donald Trump, have become master marketers. He explains in his new book “The Marketing Revolution in Politics” 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. "This is knockout time for Hillary,” said Newman. “A strong performance will solidify her position as the only feasible contender for the Democrats. She needs to be tough, but warm and fuzzy at the same time, not an easy task for her, but in alignment with her most recent image makeover. Image management is becoming more difficult in an era of social media and micro-targeting of messages that get picked up and replayed by your opponents." Newman can be reached at 312-362-5186 or​.

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

Kathleen Arnold, Political Science Department, 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,” she 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," said Arnold. Arnold can be reached at​ 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​.

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​.


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