Dedman College 2016 Election Experts


Need insightful perspectives and accurate interpretations of all things election relation? See Dedman College experts below:


Jeffrey A. Engel

Jeffrey A. Engel, Director of the Center for Presidential History
He is an award-winning American history scholar and an expert on the U.S. presidency and American diplomatic history. He has authored or edited six books, including Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War


Cal Jillson, Professor of Political Science
One of the nation’s foremost political experts, he regularly provides journalists thoughtful insight on Texas and U.S. politics. He is the author of the political classic Pursuing the American Dream, as well as Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy and American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change


Joshua Rovner, Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics & National Security Policy
He writes extensively on strategy and security. His recent book, Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence, is a wide-ranging study about how leaders use and misuse intelligence. His research interests also include international relations theory, nuclear weapons, grand strategy, and U.S. defense policy.


Matthew Wilson, Associate Professor of Political Science
He specializes in religion and politics, as well as public opinion, elections and political psychology.



Tom Fomby, Professor of Economics
He can discuss the Texas economy vs. the rest of the nation, what the unemployment rate means for Texas and political promises about the economy.



Pia Orrenius, Fellow at SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies
A senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, her research focuses on the border region and the causes and consequences of Mexico–U.S. migration, illegal immigration, and U.S. immigration policy. She is the author of Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization.


Joe Kobylka, Political Science, participated as a distinguished scholar in a history conference for public school teachers in Houston

Your Houston News

Originally Posted: August 3, 2016

Two Spring ISD teachers were selected to attend “America from Jefferson to Jackson,” a professional development institute sponsored by Humanities Texas and the University of Houston.

Robert Mallory, who teaches U.S. History at Dekaney High School, and Crystal Parliament, who teachers U.S. History at Bailey Middle School, were among of 54 Texas public school teachers invited to attend the Houston institute, which took place from June 6-9.

The program consisted of three days of dynamic presentations and small-group seminars, studying central topics in early American history, including the development of political parties; Thomas Jefferson’s, James Madison’s, and Andrew Jackson’s presidencies; the Marshall court; slavery; the American economy in the 1820s and 1830s; the Monroe Doctrine; the displacement of Native Americans and the rise of sectionalism.

Daniel Walker Howe, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles, delivered the institute’s keynote presentation on economic issues of the 1820s.

Other faculty included Denver Brunsman of George Washington University; Jesus de la Teja of Texas State University; Daniel Feller of the University of Tennessee; Todd Kerstetter of Texas Christian University; Angela Pully Hudson of Texas A&M University; Joseph F. Kobylka of Southern Methodist University; Nikki Taylor of Texas Southern University; Jennifer Weber of the University of Kansas and Jeremy Bailey, Matthew Clavin, and Eric Walther of the University of Houston.

“I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of life in the early nineteenth century through the office of the President. The valuable information I gained will be passed to my students and colleagues,” said Parliament.

Mallory stated that he will “use the information learned at the institute to go past just the TEKS” with his students, which will “help them have a true understanding of history.”

“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor ‘America from Jefferson to Jackson,’” said Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Giving talented teachers the opportunity to interact with their peers and leading scholars will enable them to engage students with exciting new perspectives on our nation’s history.”

“America from Jefferson to Jackson” was made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Howe’s lecture was supported by a generous grant from the Pulitzer Centennial Campfire Initiatives.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

For more information about Humanities Texas, visit For information about the University of Houston, visit

Cal Jillson, Political Science, President Obama’s trashing of Donald Trump is unique for the modern era

Christian Science Monitor

Originally Posted: August 6, 2016

The 2016 presidential campaign has broken the mold in so many ways. Start with the first woman major-party nominee in Hillary Clinton and practically everything about Donald Trump’s candidacy. Now, add President Obama’s role as an attack dog.

At the Democratic National Convention last week, Mr. Obama launched a withering attack on the Republican nominee, accusing Trump of selling the American people short, cozying up to autocrats, and offering no solutions. In his choicest dig – a warning about “homegrown demagogues” – Obama alluded to the billionaire-turned-politician, but didn’t mention Trump by name.

This week, Obama became even more pointed. “I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president,” he said flat out on Tuesday. Two days later, Obama warned the candidates that “if they want to be president, they got to start acting like president.” He used the plural “they,” but everyone knew who he was talking about. READ MORE

SMU remains weapons-free under Texas ‘campus carry’ law

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 27, 2016

SMU prohibits the possession of any dangerous weapon (either openly or in a concealed manner), or facsimiles of dangerous weapons such as water guns or toy guns and knives, on all University property, athletic venues, passenger transportation vehicles and any groups or building on which University activities are conducted.

Student-owned sporting firearms or other weapons (including all BB and pellet guns) are the responsibility of the owner and must be stored at an appropriate location off campus.

SMU has been a weapons-free campus since at least 1994. See for the full policy.

Any violation of this policy is considered a serious offense. If you have questions about this policy, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3388. READ MORE

Clinton promises steady hand in dangerous world

Fox 4

Originally Posted: July 29, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Promising Americans a steady hand, Hillary Clinton cast herself Thursday night as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world. She aggressively challenged Republican Donald Trump’s ability to do the same.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination for president. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” READ MORE


The Democrats have Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys; GOP has Scott Baio. Does it matter?

Dallas News

Originally Posted: July 28, 2016

If celebrity endorsements determined the next president of the United States, The Donald wouldn’t stand a chance against the Democratic juggernaut.

The Democrats filled their primetime schedule this week  with A-list celebrities who the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The Republicans, on the other hand, struggled to lure stars not named Trump last week in Cleveland. Scott Baio, of Happy DaysCharles in Charge and more recently Arrested Development, Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty and two daytime soap-opera actors were the biggest- named celebs aboard the Trump Train.

Trump, no stranger to to TV stardom, had promised serious star power for the  convention. Tim Tebow, Mike Tyson, Tom Brady and Serena Williams were all rumored to appear, but none did.

“For people in these high-profile entertainment fields, association with Donald Trump could be toxic for their careers,” said Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

“There is a real concern that being associated with the Trump campaign could get you black-listed or boycotted.”

The Republicans have not always had this amount of trouble landing A-listers. In 2012, Clint Eastwood made headlines in which he had a conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama during a GOP convention address. READ MORE

Will Hillary Clinton be overshadowed by guests at her own party?

Washington Examiner

Originally Posted: July 27, 2016

The final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is supposed to be all about presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but she is in danger of being overshadowed by guests at her own party.

By scheduling former President Bill Clinton to speak on Tuesday and President Obama to address the convention on the eve of her acceptance speech, Clinton and her running mate, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, must now compete with two of their party’s most celebrated public speakers.

“Hillary Clinton is not a good speaker,” political commentator Jon Ralston told the Washington Examiner’s media desk. “She has to worry about being overshadowed by two of the best speakers her party has ever seen.”

“She is just not a dynamic speaker,” he added. “I’ve seen her when she gives pretty good speeches. But generally she … is just not nearly as dynamic as either Obama or Clinton.”

J. Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at the Southern Methodist University, agreed, and told the Examiner separately that the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential ticket stands a good chance of being outdone by guests at the convention in Philadelphia.

“Neither Hillary Clinton nor Tim Kaine is renowned as a particularly powerful orator,” he said, adding, “There is definitely a danger that Obama and Clinton overshadow Clinton and Kaine, particularly given that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are both regarded as good speakers.”

“Hillary Clinton does not have the rhetorical gifts of either the two former presidents. And that’s a comparison some people will draw,” Wilson said.

Bill Clinton spoke Tuesday evening at the Democratic convention, and delivered a lengthy address in which he praised the former secretary of state as a progressive trailblazer.

Though his prepared remarks drew some mild media criticism, they provoked deafening cheers and applause from the audience inside the Wells Fargo Convention Center. READ MORE

Dedman College faculty expert recap of day 1 and 2 of the Democratic National Convention


SMU Associate Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson analyzes the Democratic Convention on FOX4 Tuesday – Friday of this week at 7:20am. More detailed comments from SMU experts can be found here.

Here are the Fox4 highlights from Day 1 and Day 2.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image


State officials work to shut down casino-style gaming in East Texas

Star Telegram

Originally Posted: July 26, 2016

For the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, this could become a case of deja vu.

In 2002, a casino the Indian tribe operated in East Texas was closed by state officials who successfully argued that state law trumps national Indian law — and casino gambling isn’t allowed in Texas.

The tribe reopened a casino-like facility two months ago, after national Indian and federal officials ruled that the tribe can oversee gaming at its 10,000-acre reservation south of Livingston, about 240 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

Now, court documents filed in Lufkin’s federal court show state officials have made the first move to again shut the gaming down.

“This certainly was expected,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “The Indian tribal leadership has attempted to fine tune, or tweak, the types of games they offer in order to satisfy the political officials in the state of Texas this time.

“I don’t think they’ll be successful,” he said. “State officials have always been reluctant to allow gaming in the state because they are so deeply concerned about our morals.” READ MORE

Matthew Wilson, Political Science, in USA Today commenting on Hillary Clinton’s choice for VP

USA Today

Originally Posted: July 23, 2016

“It’s a good pick. It’s a safe pick,” said Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, of Kaine. “Kaine doesn’t have many vulnerabilities or weaknesses. He won’t fire up the liberal base, but Hillary Clinton thinks Donald Trump will do that.” READ MORE