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Political experts from DePaul University discuss Republican and Democratic national conventions

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Political experts from DePaul University are available to discuss the Democratic and Republican national conventions. (Image by iStock)

CHICAGO — Ahead of the Democratic and Republican national conventions, DePaul University faculty experts are available to provide insight and commentary. Their expertise includes history of political conventions, presidential nominations, voter behavior, political marketing and the role of the news media.

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. “The intense polarization of the political parties and the strength of partisan identification means that the vast majority of people have already made their decision and know who they will vote for this fall. The big questions are who will vote or stay home, and what will this election mean for the party coalitions,” said Steger. He can be reached at 773-325-4240 or 

Bruce Evensen, Professor of Journalism, College of Communication. Evensen teaches a course on “The Press and the Presidency” and can speak to the role of mass media in presidential campaigns, including how candidates attempt to use the news media, and how media use the candidates in the presidential race to garner page views. “Conventions can harm a candidate more than help,” said Evensen. “Ask Hubert Humphrey, who narrowly lost the 1968 election to Richard Nixon after his disastrous convention in Chicago that featured the ‘battle of Grant Park.’” He added: “Trump presides over a divided Republican Party, with many party elders sitting it out. He has to create the impression of unity as further inducement for Republicans and like-minded independents to come home in November. Hillary's task is less daunting. Few of Bernie's supporters will migrate to Trump. But if they stay home in the fall because of a lack of enthusiasm that could also prove devastating as she tries to cobble together the old Obama coalition.” Evensen can be reached at or 312-362-7616. 

Nick Kachiroubas, Associate Teaching Professor, School of Public Service. Kachiroubas is an expert on leadership and its relationship to politics, policy and the presidency. Kachiroubas has served in a wide range of elected and supportive roles in federal, state and local governments. “In the recent past, the nominating conventions have served as an opportunity for each party to solidify its message and promote its nominee for president. Media attention is generally used to broadcast that message to the more general voting population and to energize as well as expand the party's typical base of voters. The question for the 2016 conventions is if Donald Trump will be able to broaden his base to bring back establishment Republican voters and if Hillary Clinton will be able to energize former Sanders supporters to get out and vote for her,” Kachiroubas said. He has also published a guide on the presidential election process, online at He can be reached at 312-362-7649 or​

R. Craig Sautter, Adjunct Faculty, School for New Learning. Sautter is an expert in presidential conventions and elections and can speak to the history of both Republican and Democrat conventions and elections. “The 2016 Cleveland and Philadelphia presidential conventions have some distinctive similarities to notable past conventions. For example in 1940, a boisterous, independent industrialist, Wendall Willkie stormed to the nomination by beating several party favorites. He had no campaign staff, no campaign funds, carried his own bags, and served as his own campaign spokesperson. In 1912, the Republican Party split in half when Progressives walked out like current Republicans threaten to do with Trump. There are many other similar situations that have an air of relevance to the wacky 2016 election.” Sautter has written three books on the topic, including one with Chicago 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

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 general election is in full swing and has once again brought issues of race to the forefront. Recent police-on-black violence and the retaliatory shooting of law enforcement officers in Dallas 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 the presidential nominees lead the way." She can be reached at 773-325-4731 or

Bruce Newman, Professor of Marketing, Driehaus College of Business. Newman is an expert in political marketing. “It is not necessary anymore for a U.S. presidential candidate to get the nod of the political party to attract the attention of the media,” said Newman. “Donald Trump, unlike any other candidate in the history of this country, took full advantage of the new marketing rules in politics and rose to become his party's nominee, much to the chagrin of the establishment within the hierarchy of the Republican Party.” An expert in the application of marketing technology to politics, 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

Zachary Cook, Adjunct Faculty in Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Cook’s academic focus includes the politics of the millennial youth vote, campaign finance, voter turnout and political parties and polarization. He can discuss day-to-day tactics and news narratives of the 2016 presidential campaign, and its broader democratic significance. Cook can be reached at 773-325-8679 or

Erik Tillman, Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Tillman is an expert on elections, primaries and public opinion. "The outcome of the general election will depend on the following two questions. First, most partisans will 'fall in line' and vote for their party's candidates – with few voting for the other party's candidate – but will either candidate suffer enough defections to third parties, or from those not voting, to affect the result? Second, how will circumstances such as the economy, terrorism, etc., change voters' perceptions of whether the country is on the right track? The more that voters are confident and hopeful, the more likely they are to vote for a continuation of Obama's policies." He can be reached at and 773-325-4131.

Michael L. Mezey, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Mezey is an expert in congressional and presidential elections and processes, public policymaking and the Electoral College. He can discuss current polling, the Electoral College, and the electoral coalitions that both Clinton and Trump need to assemble and energize in order to prevail. He is also interested in the larger meaning of the Trump candidacy for the process of presidential selection. Mezey is an editorial board member of Legislative Studies Quarterly and gives frequent interviews to local and national news media. He has published books on Congress and the U.S. presidency. Mezey can be reached at 773-896-6766 or 

Benjamin Epstein, Assistant Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Epstein researches American politics broadly including political communication strategies, campaigns and elections, electoral participation among various demographic groups, 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. 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​.​


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