SMU Expert confirms Boehner’s departure is victory for Tea Party

North Dallas Gazette

Originally Posted: September 25, 2015

Just want you think the Republican Party cannot go much further to the right, they prove you wrong. Today, House Speaker John Boehner announced his retirement.
SMU Associate Professor of Political Science Matthew Wilson declares this a victory for the Tea Party – one they have wanted for a long time.

“It reflects the triumph of conservatives within the house caucus,” Wilson says. “This is a big scalp taken by the Tea Party movement because they’ve been gunning for Boehner for a long time, and it certainly does signal a more combative caucus on Capitol Hill moving forward. He will be replaced by someone more confrontational than he is.”

Naturally Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus had pleasant things to say about the service of Boehner. He released the following statement today:

“I want to thank Speaker Boehner for his efforts to make our party, the state of Ohio, and our nation stronger. He has been a tireless advocate for conservative principles who has raised millions to elect and re-elect Republicans to the House of Representatives. Our party owes him a great debt, and I wish him and Debbie the best as he continues to make contributions to the Republican Party and America.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Eyes glued to Susan Hawk in planned return to Dallas County DA’s office

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 24, 2015

It began as a courthouse whisper, morphed into happy hour gossip and now has bubbled up to the highest levels of Texas’ political circles.

The question on everyone’s mind: Can Susan Hawk survive her first term as Dallas County’s district attorney?

“Everybody’s talking: What’s the over-under on when she leaves office?” said defense attorney Al Gilbertson. “It’s not even a negative on Susan Hawk as much as an assessment of how bad this situation has become, with apparently no end in sight.” READ MORE

LISTEN: SMU religion experts Matthew Wilson and Charles Curran on KERA


Originally Posted: September 21, 2015

Pope Francis Comes To America

This week, Pope Francis visits the U.S. for the first time, making stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. This hour, we’ll talk about what his visit means for American Catholics – and about how their beliefs align with church teachings, with SMU religion experts Matthew Wilson and Charles Curran. LISTEN

SMU faculty to assist area history teachers in tackling immigration

DALLAS (SMU) — Immigration has rarely been so controversial or prominent a topic as it is today, which makes it all the more challenging to teach it to middle-and high-school students. SMU and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture are partnering with Humanities Texas and the Texas Historical Commission to present a conference at the museum on the history of U.S. immigration from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, to help area teachers tackle this hot-button topic in the classroom. READ MORE

Matthew Wilson, Political Science, Six things to look for in tonight’s GOP debate

Originally Posted: September 16, 2015

The second Republican presidential debate, airing on CNN Wednesday night, promises to bring more drama and conflict to an already-unpredictable race. Here are six key things to watch out for (and one not to) as the candidates crowd the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

The Fiorina Factor

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was already one of the most buzzed-about participants in Wednesday’s debate even before front-runner Donald Trump appeared to insult her looks in a Rolling Stone article. After Trump’s comments, and Fiorina’s super PAC response, the prospect of the two candidates facing off on stage has become highly anticipated.

“I’m hoping to see if Carly can tame Trump,” Dr. Allan Louden, professor and chair of the communications department at Wake Forest University, said. “Because I think that Trump gets away with being Trump because it’s kind of entertaining.”

The other candidates may approach Fiorina cautiously to avoid appearing anti-female, but Trump has shown little interest in holding back and she likely will not either.

“It’s a big deal for Trump because of the way he’s perceived to have treated women in general, and the thing he said recently about Fiorina, for him it makes a big difference for her to be on the stage,” explained Dr. Matthew Wilson, an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University.

“I’d expect she’s pretty willing to throw a punch,” Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, said. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Rick Perry suspends 2016 presidential campaign

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 13, 2015

Some candidates flare and fade. Others never catch fire.

Rick Perry has now done both.

His swift demise in this campaign sent no tremors whatsoever through the GOP presidential field. But it should put several contenders on notice: Experience of the sort voters used to demand — running a state, for instance — no longer counts for much.

Perry was one of seven current or former governors running for the GOP nomination. Together, they barely muster support from 1 in 4 voters in national polls.

That’s not what Perry expected. From the outset of his comeback bid, he pitched voters on the need for seasoned, proven gubernatorial leadership. READ MORE

Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, Searching for strategy in Putin’s Russia

War on the Rocks

Originally Posted: September 14, 2015

Putin may be good at sticking his thumb in America’s eye, but no matter how you cut it, he has led his country down the road of decline.

Critics of Vladimir Putin charge him with serious strategic blunders. Russia is paying a high price for annexing Crimea and intervening in the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine. The Russian economy, already in shambles from mismanagement and corruption, can hardly afford such costly gambles. Putin’s military adventurism also puts at risk his ambitious plans for military modernization. Worse yet, he has alienated the countries he needs most to rescue Russia’s economy. Instead of cultivating European leaders, he caused them to rally around the NATO flag. A leader who weakens his own economic and military power while uniting his adversaries qualifies as a bad strategist. READ MORE

Tower Center launches research program for policy-based analysis of Texas-Mexico relationship

Program announced during Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s historic visit to Mexico

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is launching an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.

The program is made possible through a $1 million gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation with global reach headquartered in Dallas. The program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens. Plans include:

  • Texas-Mexico research, grants, reports and white papers
  • Binational and bilingual annual conferences
  • Academic seminars and public forums


Dedman College Alumni Celebrated at Homecoming

Congratulations to Dedman College alumni Bess Enloe ’60, finance educator and the Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters ’02, ’06, ’12. Mrs. Enloe will receive a Distinguished Alumni award while Rev. Waters will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the past 15 years. READ MORE

SMU expected to announce that it will establish a Tower Center program to study the Texas-Mexico relationship

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: September 5, 2015

On first official trip to Mexico, Gov. Abbott must balance politics, diplomacy

Arizona, long a hotbed of anti-immigrant sentiment, finally swallowed its pride and sent a delegation to Mexico City, a mission designed to beckon Mexican shoppers north. The 2013 trip was known as the apology tour. Last year, California retooled its Mexico City office and hosted the Mexican president for his first U.S. state visit.

Following years of acrimonious relationships with Mexico, U.S. states along the Mexican border are finding that a little good-neighbor outreach serves their economic interests. Texas is about to take what some experts call a similar mea culpa journey as Gov. Greg Abbott visits Mexico with a top-level business delegation beginning this weekend.

For Abbott, the fine line between diplomacy and keeping his conservative base happy will be tested when he meets with the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, who’s facing his own internal struggles as he enters the third year of a six-year presidency. The visit comes as presidential candidates, led by GOP front-runner Donald Trump, fan the fires of border fears with polarizing issues, from building more walls to denying birthright citizenship to children of unauthorized immigrants.

“Governor Abbott’s visit to Mexico comes at a sensitive time,” said Christian Zlolniski, director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. “It’s a litmus test of his willingness to develop a friendly and mutually productive relation with the neighbor south of the border. How he responds to this challenge will shape the relationship of his administration with Mexico in the future.”

Southern Methodist University is expected to announce during the Abbott visit that it will establish a Tower Center program to study the Texas-Mexico relationship. READ MORE