Mexican government hesitates to respond to Trump campaign promises

Tower Center Academic Director Jim Hollifield and Executive Director Luisa del Rosal were quoted in the My Statesman article “Mexican official strikes cautious tone when discussing Trump’s policies” Nov. 14.

Paulo Carreño King, Mexico’s undersecretary to North America, said he wouldn’t respond to Donald Trump’s campaign policies until he is in office Jan. 20, according to My Statesman reporter James Barragan. Mexico is waiting to see what his next move will be, and Hollifield said it’s a smart decision.

“They want to be a partner and want to give the benefit of the doubt because the relationship is so critical, and they want to show how critical it is by being the friendliest neighbor possible,” del Rosal said of the Mexican government.
Read Barragan’s article here.

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“We’re talking about Brexit times 100” if Trump unravels NAFTA

Tower Center Academic Director Jim Hollifield and Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center Executive Director Luisa del Rosal were quoted in the Dallas Morning News discussing the future of trade under President Trump.

Donald Trump has said he will rip up NAFTA and he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hollifield says if he makes good on these promises “we’re talking about Brexit times 100” for Texas.

But from the high level support he will need from Congress to the immense legal implications that would follow, it won’t be easy for Trump to get rid of NAFTA. Del Rosal said it will ultimately be up to the business elite of both Texas and Mexico to influence policy makers

Read DMN economy reporter Jill Cowan’s article here.

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Q&A with Director Jim Hollifield | What we can expect from a Trump presidency

The contentious 2016 election came to an end early Nov. 9 with a result that surprised many — Donald Trump won the presidency. In his victory speech, Trump promised to be a president for all Americans. “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said.

Below, Tower Center Academic Director Jim Hollifield gives his insight on what to trumppossibly expect out of an unexpected Trump presidency.

Tower Center: What was your initial reaction to the election results?

Jim Hollifield: I was surprised but not too surprised. If the vote was going to be decided by white working class voters in the upper-Midwest then Clinton would lose the election, and that’s essentially what happened. These are the people who were once called “Reagan Democrats”, many of them are unionized voters. They were the critical swing vote that gave the election to Trump.

Trump has been seen as a wild card candidate. What do you expect to happen under a Trump Presidency?

He’s different, there’s no question about that. He has changed the whole dynamic of American politics — shuffled the deck. He’s breaking up what was the traditional consensus in American politics that we’ve seen since 1945 — that we need to work on protecting the rights of women, minorities and immigrants. That we need to continue to lead the world, open the world to trade, help to promote international business, and a stable financial and exchange rate system. He has really taken on the post-war liberal consensus and promised to upend that. We’ll see if he is able to pull it off.

What does this mean for international trade?

This is complicated. You can’t just snap your fingers and abrogate international trade agreements — there are all sorts of legal issues, not to mention political issues. Reversing these trade agreements, the president doesn’t really have the authority to do that. The Congress will have to be involved in this somehow, and this will take time. It will mean that the U.S. will have to repudiate, not just repeal, international binding agreements. This will affect many different businesses in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This is potentially a big dagger in the heart of a North American community.

What are the implications of a President Trump for our relationships in Europe?

His policies are going to very dramatically affect our relationships in every region of the globe. He has an isolationist foreign policy. He wants to withdraw American commitments to NATO and Europe, as well as East Asia and the Middle East. This will clearly upset the balance of power in these regions. It will be a great opening for our adversaries — the Russians and the Chinese. There’s a reason why Vladimir Putin likes him so much. He plays right into the hands of the Russians. He gives the Russians an opportunity to sow discord and division within the Western democracies. This is a gift delivered on a silver platter to Vladimir Putin.

If Trump does what he says, this will create a lot of instability in world politics.

What about the Middle East?

The biggest thing is his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. He also says he has a plan for ISIS, that he knows better than the generals how to do this. I don’t know what that plan is. There’s going to be a tremendous amount of concern and uncertainty across the Middle East about his policies.

As Trump gained ground in battleground states Dow futures fell 750 points and the Mexican peso fell to a record low. What does a Trump victory mean for the economy?

This is a lot like Brexit. A lot of investors are unsure whether Trump really means what he says. The same was true in Brexit; people couldn’t really believe that Britain was going to leave the EU or how Britain was going to leave.  The effects of the election are not going to be felt overnight. The markets are going to be much more focused on what the Federal Reserve is doing than what Trump is going to do. Trump doesn’t come to power until January.  As we get closer to the transition of power, we will see who Trump’s advisers are going to be and who is on his team. If he does something that’s really scares the markets we could see a massive sell off and a very steep recession.

The executive power of the president has expanded in recent decades. To what extent will this allow Trump to implement his proposals unchecked?

This will be a test of the American constitutional system of separation of powers and a test of the American Republic. What you have to watch is what Congress is going to do, and how radical Trump will be in his policies and proposals.

The Republican Party is already split. If he’s not careful, there might be an anti-Trump alliance or coalition that will emerge in Congress that could then block many of the things he wants do to. All of this depends on how he deals with Congress. We don’t yet know how this is going to work.

One thing is for sure, he’s a neophyte. He’s never been elected, never tried to govern, so he will discover fairly quickly that this is not like running a business. It’s going to get much more complicated and I’m sure he’s going to get angry and frustrated very fast when he runs into a lot of political, institutional, constitutional and legal roadblocks.

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Tower Center Team Chairs Graduate Seminar at ASHE Conference

School of Education – SOE - Dean Dr. Michael McLendon – Barfield Drawing Room - Burleson Quadrangle – 06/26/2015

Dean Dr. Michael McLendon, Baylor University

Tower Center Senior Fellow Dr. Michael McLendon is chairing a preconference seminar with the assistance of Tower Center Executive Director Luisa del Rosal and Program Specialist Olisa Dellas for the 41st annual Association for the Study of Higher Education Conference.

The Graduate Student Public Policy Seminar, in  Columbus, Ohio Nov. 9-10, is exclusive to graduate students who have been nominated by their advisors through an application process. The seminar runs like a think tank, according to del Rosal, with a focus on discussion.

“This is a great opportunity for graduate students to learn from prominent public policy scholars for universities around the nation,” del Rosal said.  “We come together for two days of discussion, ideas sharing, policy and a bit of practice at our workshop session.”

Students accepted into the seminar are all PhD candidates and will have the opportunity to talk about their research with a panel of experts. Follow Luisa del Rosal on Twitter for Conference updates at @LuisaMdRB.

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Brexit judgment proves exclusion of Parliament from Article 50 is illegal

The High Court of Justice ruled Nov. 3 that Parliament must vote in order to activate Article 50, which would begin the process of the UK leaving Europe. Tower Center Fellow and constitutional law expert Sionaidh Douglas-Scott responded in a statement on Queen Mary University of London’s website.

Douglas-Scott said allowing the UK government to enact Article 50 without a vote from Parliament goes against the strengthened, independent democracy voters were seeking in the June referendum.

“That would be extremely undemocratic, and democracy is what we are constantly told the EU referendum was about,” Douglas-Scott said.

The UK government said it will appeal the court’s decision, though Douglas-Scott says it will be hard to overturn.

Read her full response here.

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Fairooz Adams | Identity Politics and anti-Assimilation in the U.S.

Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar Fairooz Adams, class of 2018, published two essays in the University Honors Program’s publication Hilltopics. The first looks at the push for political correctness on college campuses and the second addresses the importance of assimilation for immigrants in the U.S.


Adams examines a wave of student activism that has broken out in reaction to alleged racism on campuses such as Yale University, the University of Missouri and the University of Oklahoma. Adams argues this activism has resulted in an assault on free speech on campuses across the nation.

“Young college-aged liberals in particular have embraced the movement to create socially hypersensitive utopias on college campuses,” Adams wrote.

Read his full essay here.


Adams talks about the importance of assimilation for immigrants in the U.S., something that he argues is necessary for the long-term stability of the nation. Adams says the lack of immigration culture in places like Europe has lead to increased violence in those regions.

“Assimilation and social cohesion are critical components of a nation’s success,” Adams wrote. “For a country to remain intact, its citizens must share a common affinity for one another. That is nationhood.”

Read his full essay here.

Tower Center Scholars PortraitsFairooz Adams is a pre-law junior majoring in political science, and intending to major in international studies and communication studies. Adams is president of SMU College Democrats, cofounder and Secretary of the United Students Association, Dedman Senator and Vice Chairman of the Student Concerns Committee in Student Senate, and Chairman of the Organizations Committee for Not On My Campus, as well as an AIPAC campus liaison. He is the treasurer of the Young Democrats of Denton County. Upon completion of his undergraduate career, Adams intends to attend law school and later enter public service.

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Tower Scholar Interviewed on Al Jazeera

Tower Scholar Kovan Barzani, class of 2017, was interviewed on Al Jazera about canvassing in North Dallas. Barzani is managing Jim Burke’s campaign to be elected as Texas State Representative for District 114. Burke is running against Jason Villalba, who is serving his third term. The district hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1971, according to Barzani.


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Victoria Farrar-Myers | Social Media’s Influence on Elections

Tower Center Senior Fellow Victoria Farrar-Myers was part of a panel for the McCuistion episode “How Social Media and Technology Influence Elections” Oct. 30.

Farrar-Myers talked about the research she did for the book she edited “Controlling the Message: New Media in American Political Campaigns” during the 2012 presidential election.

“Social media really affected at the margins,” Farrar-Myers said. People used social media to reinforce what they believe, and it hardened their positions. She also found that while it’s essential for campaigns to have a social media presence, the fundamentals of campaigns, i.e. having a clear message and a ground team, haven’t changed.

Watch the episode here.

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Adam Levine | How Political Rhetoric Engages and Demobilizes Citizens


Adam Seth Levine, professor of government from Cornell University, gave his talk “How Political Rhetoric Engages and Demobilizes Citizens”  at the Tower Center- Latino Center for Leadership and Development joint policy forum Oct. 28.

Conventional wisdom about political rhetoric leads people to believe talking about problems increases engagement. Levine argues that political rhetoric is self-undermining. While it leads to increased concern about problems, it also inflames them and decreases political activism.

He used Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign as an example. At the third presidential debate, Trump would not commit to accepting the election results if he loses. He has repeatedly claimed that the election is rigged, and Levine argues that this hurts his campaign.

In his research, Levine found that telling people their voice isn’t being heard, doesn’t make them want to participate. Instead it serves as an anti-Get out the vote effort for Trump.

This theory holds true with other political rhetoric. Talking about economic insecurity in a campaign reduces financial and time donations to causes. “When you tell people they’re poor, they don’t want to spend money on your cause,” Levine said.

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Latino Catholics more likely to vote Democratic than Protestants


Latino Public Policy postdoc Alicia Reyes-Barrientez presented on her dissertation, “Divided by Faith? An Examination of Religious Affiliation as a Determinant of Group Consciousness Among Latinxs” at the Tower Center Oct. 26.

Reyes-Barrientez found that Latinos have historically voted Democratic, with the Democratic Party receiving 58 percent of their vote on average from 1977-2014. The Republican Party has received only 19 percent on average, with the years 2000 and 2004 as an exception when George W. Bush received more than 40 percent of the vote.

According to a Pew Research poll, 55 percent of Latinos in the U.S. identify as Catholic, and 22 percent are Protestants. In her research, Reyes-Barrientez looked at four sub-groups to better understand how religion affects voting habits: evangelical Catholics, mainline Catholics, evangelical Protestants and mainline Protestants, with the evangelicals being more religiously traditional.

While these groups share traditional values that should align them with the Republican Party, such as being pro-life and anti-gay marriage, they vote Democratic because that Party is perceived as what is best for the group. The more connected Latinos feel to each other, the more likely they are to vote Democratic.

This means, Reyes-Barrientez argues, that Catholics, and even more so evangelical Catholics, are most likely to vote Democratic; belonging to the Catholic Church enhances group consciousness and promotes political unity among Latinos.

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