Brexit De-Brief: 10 Things Learned at Tower Center ‘Populism’ Talk

Overheard @SMU

Originally Posted: June 24, 2016

European political insider Sergey Lagodinsky was guest speaker for the recent “Populism in Europe and Germany” event sponsored by SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies. Lagodinsky, a Berlin-based attorney/author/political commentator who heads the EU/North America Department of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, was introduced by Tower Center Director James Hollifield. (Photo credit: Flickr)

1) “Reactive populism is on the rise in Europe and the U.S.,” Hollifield said before the talk. “Until recently Germany has escaped this trend. The bitter experience of Nazism seems to have inoculated Germany from radical-right politics. But will Germany continue to buck the trend?”

2) “Welcome to the Age of Populism.” Opening his discussion with this remark, Lagodinsky explained that while populism in America traditionally has been viewed as a positive reinforcement of democracy, “in Europe it carries a negative connotation of nationalism, distrust of government, anger over a stagnant economy and, chiefly, the growing migrant crisis.”

3) Populist parties vary, but share one “zero point”: “The European Union represents everything they dislike,” Lagodinsky said.


Democrats End Sit-In with No Vote on Gun Legislation


Originally Posted: June 23, 2016

After a sit-in that lasted more than a day, House Democrats walked out of the Capitol on Thursday without any scheduled votes on gun control, which had been their goal in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida nightclub.

“It’s a new dawn and a new day in our fight,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The Democrats sat on the floor of the House, and members spoke for more than 24 hours. They are calling for background checks on every gun sale and banning gun sales to anyone on a no-fly or terror watch list.

In a very chaotic scene that broke protocol on the floor, Democrats screamed as House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called for a vote on a matter unrelated to the gun issue during the sit-in.

Ryan called the sit-in a publicity stunt, but U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, who was on the floor for the demonstration, disagrees.

“I think this is awful to call this a publicity stunt when you talk about the lives that have been lost, when you are talking about the public safety of America,” said Veasey.

Lawmakers pleaded with the public to call their representatives to ask for a vote. NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine checked with members of the Texas delegation about this.

Veasey’s office said their phone was ringing off the hook. Most other representatives said they have heard from voters, too, but some say they have heard more from voters who are against more gun regulation.

“We have never seen this takeover of the floor. It reminded me of what other countries, third-world countries, do in their legislative bodies, not the United States. A true disappointment,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.

Cal Jillson, professor of politics at Southern Methodist University, believes the Democrats did accomplish something.

“Well, at the end of the day it increases the visibility of these gun issues, and to the Democrats’ benefit and the Republicans’ detriment, because about 85 percent of the American public believe it makes sense to have gun control – stop someone on a terrorist watch list who couldn’t get on an airplane from buying a gun,” Jillson said. “The Republicans are saying, ‘No, that’s too strict,’ the public is saying, ‘What, that’s too strict? These are potential terrorists.'”

“The Republican argument is that people can get on the watch list wrongly, but a lot of people are on there are on there rightly rather than wrongly. And so the Republicans are in a very difficult position on the terrorist watch list issue and the greater scrutiny of guns bought at gun shows,” Jillson added. READ MORE

Mixed opinions on Susan Hawk’s ability to remain district attorney

Fox News

Originally Posted: June 21, 2016

Public officials in Dallas are taking different sides about Susan Hawk and her fitness for office after she announced Monday she’s checking into mental health treatment for a third time.

Some say she is not doing the job she was elected to and that she should resign for the good of her health, the DA’s office and her political party. Others are concerned about her health and defending her office in her absence.

Hawk has checked into an Arizona psychiatric facility for continued treatment of her major depressive disorder. In May she sought treatment at a facility in Houston. The district attorney’s office has been managed by First Assistant DA Messina Madsen.

Democratic Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins was measured in his comments on Tuesday.

“Right now I think the concern is on a person’s healthand I don’t want to get into comments or speculation about anything other than wish her the best on her health,” Jenkins said.

Republican commissioner Mike Cantrell defended the Republican district attorney.

“That first assistant is operating that office under polices set by Judge Hawk and they’re running that office according to those policies and its being operated in a very professional and efficient way,” Cantrell said.

SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said Hawk should resign to get healthy.

“As an objective matter she was elected to be district attorney for a 4-year period during which she has a lot of responsibilities. I don’t think she is fulfilling those responsibilities and for her own good you would think that she would resign,” Jillson said.

If Hawk resigns before Aug. 19, then the DA’s race would be on the November ballot. Should she step down after Aug. 19, Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint someone to finish out the nearly two years remaining on her term in office. READ MORE

Who Will Win?

SMU News

Originally Posted: June 17, 2016

Election 2016 with USA Flag in Map Silhouette Illustration

The 2016 presidential election has come a long way since the first presidential debates last fall and SMU’s election gurus have offered their insights every step of the way. Take an inside peak at the evolution of the election process through their eyes: READ MORE

“I think we’re seeing some of the weaknesses of Donald Trump as a general election candidate, as opposed to a Republican primary candidate,” Cal Jillson, political science professor

USA Today

Originally Posted: June 16, 2016

At the one-year mark, Trump campaign faces crossroads

DALLAS — One year ago, Donald Trump rode down the lobby escalator at his midtown Manhattan office tower and launched the presidential campaign that upended Republican politics — a campaign that now may be facing a make-or-break crossroads.

“Who knew this was going to happen?” Trump told supporters Wednesday in Atlanta in celebrating his first 12 months as a presidential candidate.

Yet, while marking the anniversary with a Thursday night rally in Dallas, Trump continues to face criticism from Republican lawmakers and is now looking at a loss of support in the polls after his comments following the terrorist attack in Orlando. READ MORE

North Texas Venues Reject Donald Trump Campaign

100.3 JackFM

Originally Posted: June 14, 2016

Two North Texas Cities have refused to play host to Presidential Candidate Donald Trump for a campaign rally. Both Grand Prairie and Irving have rejected Trumps’s visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Thursday.

“It’s very unusual that the Republican candidate for president in this deep red state would be having trouble finding a venue for his rallies,” said SMU Political science professor Cal Jillson.

According to CBSdfw, Trump originally requested for the rally to be held at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie. The City of Grand Prairie denied that request and blamed traffic, other events in the area, along with an inadequate police force to provide security.

Trump rallies typically involve violence and riots; however, Dallas activists insist they’ll be ‘peaceful’.

“There are various groups that are very upset on policy terms with him and they’re going to counter-demonstrate and that obviously raises security concerns particularly in the wake of Orlando,” said Cal Jillson, SMU Political Science Professor.

Last September, Trump held a rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, drawing a crowd of more than 20,000 people. AAC event coordinator – Dave Brown says there are no plans to host Trump again this time.

Irving also rejected the Trump campaign’s request for the Irving Convention Center, releasing the following statement:

“In consultation with the Irving Police Department, the city of Irving decided it was not given sufficient time – given a 48 hour notice – to gather the resources necessary to ensure the safety and security of those attending such a large-scale, high-profile event.”

The Dallas Police Department has not commented on any preparations for the convention, wherever it may be held, this Thursday night. READ MORE

“Trump is making it more and more clear he doesn’t care if people think he’s racist,” Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science

Oregon Live

Originally Posted: June 10, 2016

‘Never Trump’ leaders try to prod Mitt Romney by insisting he can be the next … Martin Van Buren

Weekly Standard editor and “Never Trump” leader William Kristol has begged for months. But everyone he’s approached to take on an independent conservative presidential run has said no.

Kristol remains determined to keep presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump out of the White House. So now he’s turned writer Jay Cost loose with a unique argument aimed at Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Party standard-bearer who has been vocal in his opposition to Trump. Writes Cost in the Weekly Standard:

“The nation needs a candidate to defend what Martin Van Buren once called ‘plain republicanism,’ and to do so regardless of the chances of victory. Van Buren himself furnishes an inspiring example.” READ MORE

Latinos see a bright economic future according to new Pew study; here’s why that’s good for Texas

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: June 9, 2016

Latinos are increasingly optimistic about their finances, a report from the Pew Research Center finds, and that’s good news for the Texas economy.

Although other measures still show that Latinos have lagged behind Americans overall since the recession, economists say those who see their financial situations as promising are more likely to make big purchases, invest in their education or start new businesses.

“This sense of optimism, while it might not quite match other economic indicators, means people are feeling confident enough to purchase a car, save money for their children’s college education,” said Mark Lopez, the study’s author and Pew’s director of Hispanic research.

In other words, your attitude makes a difference in money matters. READ MORE

Anonymous donor establishes Brad E. Cheves Endowed Tower Center Scholars Program fund

SMU News

Originally Posted: June 8, 2016

SMU Vice President Brad Cheves honored with scholars’ fund

DALLAS (SMU) – An anonymous donor has established The Brad E. Cheves Endowed Tower Center Scholars Program fund in honor of the University’s vice president for Development and External Affairs. SMU President R. Gerald Turner surprised Cheves with the announcement at the April 27 meeting of the Tower Center Executive Board of Directors.

The fund will support the Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars – a select group of students who are chosen every year to combine academic studies with experience in the real world of public policy and international affairs. Tower Scholars are enrolled in an exclusive minor in Public Policy and International Affairs, which pairs policy practitioners with SMU faculty to combine critical thinking and analytical skills within a rigorous academic framework.

The application-only minor is open to all majors across the schools, with admission based on a competitive application process. The first cohort of scholars will graduate in 2017. READ MORE