Cal Jillson, Political Science, Do 13 true-or-false questions predict a Trump victory?

Christian Science Monitor

Originally Posted: September 25, 2016

A professor who has accurately predicted the winner in each of the past eight presidential elections announced that his model points to a victory this November for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Instead of relying on the latest voter polls, Allan Lichtman, a distinguished professor of history at American University, answers 13 true-or-false questions, which he calls “The Keys to the White House.” The questions are written to gauge the performance of the current president’s political party.

If fewer than six answers return false, then the ruling party hangs on for another four years, according to the model. If six answers or more are false, as is the case this year, then the challenging party will win.

“So very, very narrowly, the keys point to a Trump victory,” Dr. Lichtman told The Washington Post.

The model was first used to predict President Ronald Reagan would win his bid for reelection in 1984. By design, it applies retrospectively for every prior election dating back to Abraham Lincoln’s victory in 1860.

But this could be the year that breaks his model, Lichtman said, citing the unprecedented nature of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

“We’ve never before seen a candidate who’s spent his life enriching himself at the expense of others,” Lichtman said, describing Trump as “a serial fabricator.” Trump’s numerous shocking deeds include inviting a foreign power to interfere in American elections and twice inciting violence against an opponent, Lichtman added.

“Given all of these exceptions that Donald Trump represents, he may well shatter patterns of history that have held for more than 150 years, lose this election even if the historical circumstances favor it,” Lichtman told the Post.

Trump’s departure from historical norms was well-known during the primaries, when fellow Republicans urged him to behave in a more “presidential” fashion, as The Christian Science Monitor’s Linda Feldmann reported in March.

Looking all the way back to the founding of the United States, experts see no one quite like Trump – not even in notoriously brash seventh President Andrew Jackson.

Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University, said Mr. Jackson had “a very individualistic personal style” but saw himself as “first among equals.” READ MORE

Everything you think you know about Reagan is wrong

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 22, 2016

By: Jeffrey A. Engel, an American history scholar and director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Email: jaengel@smu.edu

Woe to the Republican candidate who doesn’t pledge to be the Gipper reincarnated. But woe to the American people who try to find a candidate today who represents all they remember Ronald Reagan to have been.

Having canonized his memory, Republican nominees invoked his name 15 times at one GOP primary debate in February. God got only five mentions.

Even GOP nominee Donald Trump, a nontraditional Republican candidate for sure, willingly embraces his newfound role as Reagan’s heir, though he wasn’t always a fan. Critical of the country’s 40th president in his self-lauded 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, Trump called Reagan “a con man” who couldn’t “deliver the goods” for the American people. Asked in 2011 to name which presidents he admired most (no doubt having determined his political future was with Republicans), Trump offered a distinctly different response: “Well, I really like and knew a little bit Ronald Reagan. … I loved his style. I loved what he represented.”

Reagan’s shadow looms large over the contemporary political landscape, his core beliefs setting inviolable tenets of modern Republicanism. Reagan believed in tax cuts. So, too, does Trump, as did the other 16 GOP candidates. Reagan believed in a strong defense. Again, there was unanimous support among the GOP possibilities.

The center of American politics stands further to the right today than when Reagan took office in 1981, in large part because of the clarity of his message. Even Democrats recognize his appeal. Bill Clinton famously declared “the era of big government is over,” in 1996, sounding more Reaganesque than like his party’s own patron saint, Franklin Roosevelt. Barack Obama, too, recognized Reagan’s core appeal, modeling his own message-driven presidency accordingly. Obama said in 2008 that Reagan “put us on a fundamentally different path” because he “tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism.”

Today’s America is Reagan’s, but what if I told you everything you think you know about the man, and most everything his compatriots praise, is wrong? Americans love the Reagan they remember, not the Reagan that was. READ MORE

Congratulations to Dr. Rick Halperin, the 2016 Peacemakers Incorporated Peace Patron award winner

Originally Posted: September 26, 2016

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Congratulations to SMU Embrey Human Rights Director, Dr. Rick Halperin, who recently accepted the Peacemakers Incorporated 2016 Peace Patron award. Dr. Halperin was introduced with an inspirational testimony by Embrey Family Foundation Philanthropic Visionary and Dedman College board member Lauren Embrey. Learn more about the Embrey Human Rights Program.

 

Latest class of Dedman College Scholars shadowed doctors, founded charities before coming to SMU

SMU News

Originally Posted: September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Many SMU students come to the Hilltop for their education because they want to change the world.

Some come because they already have.

The latest class of 19 Dedman Scholars, who share a passion for academic excellence and extra-curricular achievement, includes a student who researched genetics and shadowed a breast cancer doctor, another who earned more than $1 million in scholarship offers from universities across the country, and one who founded a charitythat raised $20,000 to build an elementary school in the Dominican Republican.

All of these achievements were accomplished by the scholars before any of them graduated from high school.

“Dedman Scholars provide Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences with strong intellectual leadership,” says Dean Thomas DiPiero. “These students are always out in front doing independent research and spearheading university and civic projects.”

“They receive up to $10,000 in scholarship money annually, they get to participate in a community of scholars that we nurture, and then we guide them through their four years on campus,” says Dedman College Scholars Director David Doyle. “The goal of all the scholars is by the end of their time here, they’re engaged in some kind of independent (research) work. So we kind of lead them along the way.”

This year’s incoming Dedman College Scholars are: Roxana Farokhnia, of McKinney; Madeline Hamilton; of Denton;Jordan Hardin, of Euless; Hideo Ishii-Adajar, of Plano; Kayla Johansen, of Midlothian; Caroline Kelm, Lindale;Hunter Kolon, of Spring; Ashley Mai, of Richardson; Mary Christine (Mimi) Mallory, of Lynn Haven, Florida;Alexandra (Allie) Massman, of Frisco; Hannah Massman, of Frisco; Alexander McNamara, of Mansfield; Lorien Melnick, of Mundelein, Illinois; Andrea D. Nguyen, of Allen; Tannah Oppliger, of Carrollton; Thomas W. Park, of Forth Worth; Aarthi Parvethaneni, of Bellevue, Washington; Anika Reddy, of Dallas; and Cambley Sassman, of Mansfield.

“The 2020 class of Dedman Scholars is the largest in the history of the program and I’m thrilled to have them on campus this fall,” DiPiero adds. “Dedman College will provide these students with the resources and support they need to achieve their lofty dreams, and I look forward to seeing what ambitions they set their sights on during their four years at SMU.”

The Dedman College Scholarship is a donor-supported program, and those interested in supporting it may contact Mary Lynn Amoyo at 214-768-9202 or mamoyo@smu.edu.

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The Dedman College Scholars Program is designed to enrich the University’s intellectual life by providing unique learning opportunities for selected academically strong students seeking a major in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The program offers a merit-based scholarship award, an actively engaged community of peers and close faculty guidance and mentoring.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

Jo Guldi, History, Between Experts and Citizens

Boston Review

Originally Posted: September 20, 2016

It is safe to say that the Brexit vote—only the third nation-wide referendum in the history of the United Kingdom—disrupted ordinary political norms and expectations. There was the surprise of the vote itself, and David Cameron’s quick abdication; the baffling disappearance of Boris Johnson, followed by his appointment in Theresa May’s new government; and then the failed coup in the Labour Party, leaving Jeremy Corbyn at the helm. Britain’s systems of representational democracy have traditionally functioned to block popular disruptions of this kind. What historical forces are behind Brexit’s spectacular exception to this rule?

One answer begins in the second half of the twentieth century. Several commentators have read the vote as the result of a 1970s turn toward neoliberalism that left the working class behind in a program of coal pit closures and denationalization. Historian Harold James has underscored that the European Monetary System (EMS) grew out of proposals for an international money market that promised escape from national cycles of monetary expansion and inflation. From 1977 onward, the EMS made cheap credit, backed by European nations, available to private banks. In James’s account, this stability-focused monetary policy created a twenty-first century economy that was unaccountable to the working class, diminishing national and local control.

The identity of the European Union is wrapped up in hopes for peace after decades of war. But the neoliberalization narrative also sees in the EU a symbol of the rise of rule by financial experts and the discounting of class-based, representational politics. The financial management once beholden to local and national politics was placed in the hands of an international body, and national governments lost control—or simply divested themselves—of the levers they once had claimed for raising wages. Among the casualties of this transformation were the nationalized industries disassembled under Margaret Thatcher, which had leveraged the power of the state in bargaining between workers and employers. In short order, CEO pay ratcheted up and wages stagnated, and a landscape of ruins was left behind. In place of factories and state housing there were fewer jobs but a growing number of prisons and detention centers for illegal immigrants.

This account of Brexit, drawing on the framework of class-consciousness, turns on the rise of a reactionary electorate outside of London. The idea, in short, is that the United Kingdom has witnessed the lumpenproletariat exact uncertain revenge upon the nation’s ruling elite. This narrative more or less parallels Marx’s account of the December 1851 coup in France in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. Marx blamed the rise of the dictatorship on the greed and disappointment of the petite bourgeoisie, who revolted against the Second Republic and the interest of the workers. This betrayal, Marx argued, precipitated an era of rule by political moron, encapsulated in the premiership of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (figured as a template for Boris Johnson by some and for Jeremy Corbyn by others), whom Marx memorably dubbed a “grotesque mediocrity.” Leaders such as these, several commentators have implied, are a parody of the great leadership demanded by the moment. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Campus carry in Texas: At what cost?

The Star Telegram

Originally Posted: September 18, 2016

The predictions last year were ominous.

Allowing concealed handguns on Texas college campuses could create conflict and cost around $50 million over the next few years.

But now, more than a month since campus carry became law, the only real cost — just a fraction of the original projections — has been to put up signs on college campuses statewide letting people know where licensed Texans may not carry concealed guns.

“This has been much ado about nothing,” said state Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball, who authored campus carry. “When I laid the bill out, one of my arguments was that there’s no justification that this could cost that much money.”

Officials say there haven’t been any problems with campus carry, which went into effect Aug. 1, although there was one incident recently where a gun accidentally discharged in a Tarleton State University dorm. There were no injuries.

As for the overall cost, statewide totals aren’t available.

But a Star-Telegram survey of colleges in Tarrant County shows that officials spent less than $20,000 putting the new law in place locally.

“With campus carry costs, it was a policy debate,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Each side gave the furthest edge number that would support their position.

“Those who had reservations about campus carry in general estimated high on the cost,” he said. “It was an attempt to get the Legislature to think seriously about this and back off or give campuses more flexibility.” READ MORE

Looking back and moving ahead with SMU’s Willard Spiegelman

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 16, 2016

Every day he taught a class at Southern Methodist University, Willard Spiegelman wore a bow tie and a jacket. Every day in every class he taught, students were expect to write. For 45 years, it was this way.

On a Friday afternoon in early September, Spiegelman wears just khakis and a button down shirt, sleeves rolled to his elbows. He’s spent the past few months packing up his office, giving away volumes of poetry to students and colleagues from his bookshelves, preparing for his move to Manhattan, where he will spend his retirement. For decades he’s split his time between Dallas and the East Coast, where his partner of many years resides.

But before he goes, he’s making appearances to celebrate a new collection of essays, Senior Moments (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24), which reflects on the life that made him an icon on campus and respected nationally for his wit and insight.

A native of Philadelphia, Spiegelman arrived in Dallas via undergraduate studies at Williams College and doctorate work at Harvard University. He says his original selling point to academia was as an English Romanticist who built much of his career on poets like Keats and Shelley. Poetry, which became his vocation, was his second love. In childhood, he says, he “took to books.”

Spiegelman grew up in a suburban Jewish household without a lot of books. Education and learning, while valued, were not necessarily tied to the liberal arts. His father grew up in the Depression and studied to become a physician. His mother stocked the house with   Reader’s Digest Condensed Books , but as Spiegelman writes in the first essay from Senior Moments, the house was a place of raucous conversation, not silent reflection. READ MORE

Fondren library closed Saturday, September 17th

Fondren Library will be closed this Saturday, September 17th for Game Day. Regular hours will resume Sunday September 18th at Noon. READ MORE 

Skip Hollandsworth talks about new book during lunchtime lecture series

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 13, 2016

Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly journalist and author of “The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer”, kicked off the six-part, lunchtime lecture series, hosted by the Clements Center for Southwest Studies on Wednesday. Beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Hyer Hall, students, faculty, and guests were invited to attend the presentation followed by a short question and answer session and book signing.

Presenting to a room of approximately 50 attendees, Hollandsworth walked the audience through a timeline of events highlighted in his book that surrounded a mysterious string of gruesome murders that occurred in Austin, TX in 1885.

Through use of vivid language and photographs, Hollandsworth painted a picture of what Austin, TX looked like during the 1800s as technological advances began to emerge.

“Austin was transforming from a sepia-toned old west town into a new age. The phrase ‘everything is bigger in Texas’ existed even at that time,” Hollandsworth said as the crowd chuckled.

The lecture attracted people of all ages as Hollandsworth warmed the room with his passion for crime and unsolved mysteries.

Tommie Ethington, who attended the lecture after reading Hollandsworth’s book said, “I was fascinated by learning about the history of Austin. You learn so much about the city in addition to the murders.”

The Center for Southwest Studies puts on public programming each year, beginning with the lunchtime series, in an effort to promote their own research fellows and to engage a broad public interest.

“I have worked with Skip on a couple of events in the past and I thought his book would be a great way to begin the year,” said Andrew Graybill, co-director of Clements Center for Southwest Studies. READ MORE

Income up, poverty down: Texas exceeding U.S. in key economic numbers

Dallas News

Originally Posted: September 15, 2016

Texas rode the national wave of rising incomes and decreased poverty last year — a combination economists and demographers found surprising, given turbulence in the state’s energy industry.

“It’s a great report and it’s great for us,” said Pia Orrenius, a senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve. “You don’t see any impact from the oil bust.”

Experts said the Lone Star state didn’t merely keep pace with the rest of the country; it exceeded national averages in key economic measures included in new Census Bureau data released Thursday.

For the first time since 2009, the national median household income grew significantly, jumping 3.8 percent from $53,713 in 2014 to $55,775 in 2015. The phenomenon spanned racial categories and age groups.

Economists celebrated that boost as a sign that one of the most stubborn remnants of the recession — stagnant wages — is finally dissipating.

In Texas, though, the number was a full percentage point higher. Here, median household income jumped 4.8 percent, from $53,105 in 2014 to $55,653 last year.

Texas’ percentage of residents living in poverty also dropped faster than the nation’s overall, by 1.3 percentage points, compared with the national rate dropping 0.8 percentage points. READ MORE