Cal Jillson, Political Science, Trump’s rise hurts Rubio, Carson, but helps Jeb Bush

The Hill

Originally Posted: July 29, 2015

Donald Trump’s explosive rise in the polls has come at the expense of every other GOP presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — who arguably have been helped by the businessman’s rise.

The media storm surrounding Trump is starving other candidates of oxygen — including major contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has seen his polling numbers plummet 3.2 percentage points since Trump’s entry. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, comparing governors and miracles

Bloomberg

Miracles are regular occurrences for governors who want to be president of the U.S.

Rick Perry’s supporters have talked about the “Texas Miracle” of job growth. Post-recession recoveries under John Kasich and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal are the “Ohio Miracle” and “Miracle on the Bayou.”

Politicians regardless of party put a supernatural gloss on economic cause and effect. Reality is more nuanced. Bloomberg News examined the records of 10 governors and ex-governors trying to occupy the White House in 2016, considering 11 economic indicators. Below is an interactive graphic that shows the numbers, and deeper discussions of governors prominent in the race. READ MORE.

Brad Carter, Political Science, to lecture on ‘politics of anger’ at Wilbur Public Library

Dallas Morning News

Wilmer Public Library will host a lecture on Tuesday (8/4/15) about politics as part of its annual summer series.

Brad Carter, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, will talk about what influences people’s views on government and the development of a “politics of anger.” He will explore the history of political parties and how they’ve changed.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be at 7 p.m. at Gilliam Memorial Public Library, 205 E. Belt Line Road. READ MORE

Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, Iran deal “neither as transformative as advocates hope nor as terrible as critics fear”

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 15, 2015

The White House announced Tuesday, July 14, that the United States and other nations had struck a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear programs in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.

Joshua Rovner, the John G. Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics and National Security at SMU, says:

As a nonproliferation agreement, there is a lot to like. The deal significantly reduces Iran’s current nuclear capabilities and enhances international monitoring, which will make it easier for inspectors and intelligence agencies to spot cheating.

But in terms of regional politics, the deal is neither as transformative as advocates hope nor as terrible as critics fear. Some advocates believe that it will signal a new era of stability and better relations between the United States and Iran. This is unlikely. Past arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, Libya, and North Korea had little effect on their relations with the United States. Better political relations can lead to more durable arms control deals, not vice versa. So while there is reason to celebrate the announcement, we should not exaggerate what it means for the Middle East or for U.S.-Iranian relations.

Meanwhile, some critics of the deal fear that offers Iran a pathway to regional hegemony. This ignores profound problems in Iran. Its economy is in shambles and its conventional military capabilities are very limited. It also suffers from political dysfunction at home, and large segments of its young population are clearly disillusioned with the clerical regime. The agreement alleviates some of the economic stress on Iran, but it does not solve these problems. Regardless of the deal, Iran will remain a struggling regional power that uses proxies to extend its influence, but not the kind of country that could make a serious bid for regional hegemony. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, quoted in the Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle

Originally Posted: July 21, 2015

As Trump shoots from the hip, Lone Ranger Perry fires back

WASHINGTON – With Donald Trump under fire, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry sat for an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night via satellite hookup, appearing by himself in the corner of a room beside a lamp, a set of books and a globe.
“I’m going to stand up to him, just like I would stand up to Vladimir Putin,” Perry said, explaining his escalating war of words with the outlandish business mogul, who had attacked Perry’s record of policing the southern border in Texas.

Perry, Hannity noted, seemed more willing than any of his GOP rivals to take on Trump, who has surged to the top of the Republican presidential primary polls. “There seems to be bad blood here growing,” he said.

“Well, I don’t know about bad blood,” Perry replied, “but when he attacks me and the bullet goes through me and hits the Texas Rangers … you better believe I’m going to stand up.”

The clip of Perry alone in a corner seemed an apt visual for a candidate who has been pushing back the hardest against the Trump phenomenon, even before the reality TV star’s incendiary remarks belittling the war record of U.S. Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam War POW.

“I have a message for my fellow Republicans and the independents who will be voting in the primary process,” Perry said last week, before Trump scrambled the GOP contest with his shot at McCain. “What Mr. Trump is offering is not conservatism, it is Trump-ism – a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.”

The contrast has been particularly stark with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who courted the Manhattan tycoon in his Trump Tower office last week. Since then, Cruz has steadfastly declined to join the GOP scrum over Trump’s controversial remarks questioning McCain’s war heroism.

“I recognize that folks in the press love to see Republican-on-Republican violence, so you want me to say something bad about Donald Trump or bad about John McCain or bad about anyone else,” Cruz told reporters in Iowa. “I’m not going to do it. John McCain is a friend of mine. I respect and admire him and he’s an American hero. And Donald Trump is a friend of mine.”

Analysts say both Texans have been hurt by Trump, who has co-opted both of their messages on border security and immigration. He once even publicly questioned Cruz’s Canadian birth.

But the new conflagration also presents opportunities. For Cruz, a Trump implosion – still by no means certain – would be a chance to reclaim the anti-Washington part of the GOP base that has rallied around Trump’s no-holds-barred tactics.

“It’s a bet that at some point, Trump disappears,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson, explaining Cruz’s reluctance to go after Trump. READ MORE

Political Science professor quoted in Fortune Magazine article

Fortune Magazine

Originally Posted: June 30, 2015

Chris Christie 2016: Should a bully be president?

For presidents, success is most often achieved not by pummeling opponents into submission but by schmoozing instead.

Of all of the printable words used to describe Chris Christie—bold, brash, boisterous—bully might be mentioned the most.

The Republican New Jersey governor has garnered a reputation for being short-fused, with a habit of countering slights with immediate, precise, and perhaps disproportionate retribution.

The New York Times in 2013 published a rundown of incidents in which Christie used his political power to administer payback to his opponents, no matter their prominence.

There were video clips of Christie publicly dressing down teachers who spoke out against his plan to cut public employee benefits. A New Jersey state senator, who’d previously served as governor, lost his security detail after Christie said he delayed a cabinet nominee. An institute run by a Rutgers professor lost funding after the professor sided with New Jersey Democrats on a redistricting plan. Then there were allegations from the mayor of Hoboken, who said Christie’s office threatened to withhold recovery aid for damage due to Hurricane Sandy if she failed to approve a development project. And most notably, investigations into the Bridgegate scandal revealed that Christie’s associates had ordered the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which caused a mammoth traffic jam, after the mayor of nearby Fort Lee, N.J., declined to endorse the governor for reelection.

At one point, Christie’s unfiltered and flamboyant style catapulted him onto the national stage. He reasserted himself there on Tuesday, announcing his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Christie’s trademark combativeness will distinguish him from the crowd of Republican competition, but will it make him a good president?

“Christie may well find that kind of aggressive demeanor to be better attuned to campaigning than governing,” says Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Lights… cameras… committees!

WFAA

Originally Posted: July 6, 2015

DALLAS —At Dallas City Hall, they’re stringing cable and installing video cameras. The city is investing $2.5 million in new equipment that will broadcast city government to a wider audience.

Before now, many committee meetings were not televised, and none were archived for easy public access. Now — after the City Council returns from its July recess — citizens will have access to 200 hours of live and recorded meetings every month.

“We feel it will make it easier for our residents to understand our business; how Council members arrive at the policy decisions that they’re making; and, at the end of the day, just making what we do easier to understand,” said city spokeswoman Sana Sayed.

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at SMU, applauds the high-tech access. “I think openness and transparency are always a good thing,” he said.

Committee meetings are where much of the heavy policy work is done — like drafting a plastic bag ban or writing rules so Uber can operate in the city. It’s also where citizens get more time to speak their mind.  READ MORE

Pamela Corley receives Supreme Court Historical Society Award

Associate Professor of Political Science Pamela Corley was recently awarded the Hughes-Gosset Award for the best article published in the Journal of Supreme Court History in the previous year. Professor Corley received this prestigious award at the Supreme Court Historical Society during the Annual Meeting on June 1, 2015. The title of Professor Corley’s article is “Revisiting the Roosevelt Court: The Critical Juncture from Consensus to Dissensus” and she co-authored the work with Amy Steigerwalt (Georgia State University) and Artemus Ward (Northern Illinois University).

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Professor Corley (second from left) is pictured receiving the award from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Texas GOP Immigration Crackdown Fizzled … What Gives?

San Antonio Current

Originally Posted: June 10, 2015

AUSTIN — The 2015 session of the Texas Legislature, which ended last week rather unceremoniously, was widely panned as a bust.

Immigrant advocates couldn’t be any happier. They’re claiming victory.

“We were very excited, but it kept us on our toes,” Chloe Sikes, a member of the Coalition to Save In-State Tuition, told the San Antonio Current.

A slew of proposals cracking down on undocumented immigrants — from repealing in-state tuition to targeting disadvantaged children in medical care programs — died on the vine as time expired on their proponents.

Post-battle, those in the political trenches described behind-the-scenes machinations that dealt the fatal blows to the anti-immigrant bills. Scenes of high drama — suffused with broken loyalties, clash of wills, moral indignation — that would’ve made Shakespeare raise an eyebrow.

Sikes’ group primarily focused on SB 1819. The proposed legislation by State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, would have repealed a 2001 measure (signed by fellow Republican Rick Perry, former Texas governor now on his second presidential quest) allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

After spurts surfaced threatening to advance Campbell’s bill, it finally died on May 20 after the deadline for discussion passed.

“It was extra concerning the repeal effort was put forth in this session,” Sikes said. “Texas was the first to pass that type of legislation,” she noted with palpable pride. Indeed, many other states followed in the Lone Star State’s footsteps.

Other anti-immigration measures died a slow death on the rotunda floor, most notably SB 1252, directing the governor to negotiate an interstate border security compact toward federal immigration law enforcement; SB 185 aimed at outlawing so-called sanctuary cities; HB 2835, which would’ve given lower priority to taking undocumented children off medical waiting lists.

The mainstream media attributed the mass death of bills to the GOP focus on gays and guns. But battle-worn lawmakers who fought the latest anti-immigration bills described a wholesale change in dynamics from past sessions, prompted by the upending of the two-thirds rule in the Senate. In January, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ended the 70-year practice of requiring the support of two-thirds of senators to bring up a measure in favor of a three-fifths majority. The old rule was in place to protect minority interests, a less-than-opaque measure by Patrick to push his party’s priorities.

“While it was definitely a loss for the Senate, it has empowered the House,” said State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat.

“The truth of the matter is there was no appetite for that kind of conversation in the state House, which is a more mature body,” Martinez-Fischer added. “Most of those bills originated in the Senate, but died a slow and painful death on the House floor.”

Indeed, SB 1819 and SB 185 never made it out of the Senate, while SB 1252 withered away in committee.

State Sen. José Menéndez, another SA Democrat, described a similar sense of empowerment in killing off bad bills — a rallying cry that even lured some Republicans to discreetly stray from party lines. The same three-fifths rule implanted this year now requires 12 senators to block a bill, prompting recruitment of dissenters across party lines.

“The Republicans who joined us think it’s not in the best interest of the state to be anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant and don’t agree with those politics,” Menéndez told the Current.

The turncoats’ identities are being jealously guarded to shield them from potential backlash from their base in the next election cycle, Menéndez noted.

“We tried to provide them anonymity so they don’t get beat up in the next primary election,” he said.

The rise of the Tea Party and the intractable stance on social issues among its rank and file also increasingly complicates the way business gets done at the Legislature — prompting some Republicans dissenting from party ideology to quietly support Democrats with votes. “It’s caused so many moderate Republicans to be kicked out by these far-right Tea Party members,” Menéndez noted.

Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, said that anti-immigration bills largely failed — for the second consecutive legislative session — because they ran counter to the powerful businesses lobby.

Jillson invoked the trope of “campaigning in poetry and governing in prose” to further his argument.

“Texas has seen the value of a substantial supply of cheap labor. The anti-immigrant rhetoric and border security rhetoric is standard fare of elections, and that rhetoric is very effective,” he explained. “But when you get into governing, you have the lobbies pushing in a different direction.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Former Gov. Perry to announce his second White House campaign

Texas Public Radio

Originally Posted: June 4, 2015

When the state’s longest serving governor announces his second presidential run Thursday, he is going to be surrounded by a star-studded group his campaign calls “patriots.”

At the Addison Airport just north of Dallas, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 65, will be flanked by decorated soldiers, including former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, who wrote the book, Lone Survivor. Taya Kyle, the widow of the celebrated military sniper and author, Chris Kyle, will also be there.

In a growing field of more than a dozen Republican presidential candidates, Perry will try to remind voters he served six years in the Air Force during the Vietnam era.

Political Science Prof. Cal Jillson, from Southern Methodist University, thinks that message is a stretch for Perry. “He’s one of the few Republican candidates, other than Lindsey Graham, who has military service, but it was a very long time ago,” says Jillson. Jillson says Perry’s stronger message will be that he presided over the State of Texas during an economic boom that, on his watch, created more jobs in Texas than any other state.  LISTEN