For Texas and national perspectives, our experts are available to discuss the 2004 campaigns. Quick with interviews, provocative talkers and experts in their fields, the following professors at Southern Methodist University will be watching the race closely, and can give context to the style and substance of the campaigns.

SMU also has experts available to speak on issues related to North Texas' Martin Frost/Pete Sessions Congressional race, including Cal Jillson, Dennis Simon, Ruth P. Morgan, and Matthew Wilson.

Cal JillsonTexas and National Politics and Third-Party Candidates

Considered one of Texas' top political observers, Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, has studied President Bush’s rise to power first in Texas and then nationally. He is the author of several books, including his new one, Pursuing the American Dream: Opportunity and Exclusion Over Four Centuries, as well as a widely used American government textbook. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Jillson is available to speak on the following topics:

  • The rise of George Bush
  • Wedge issues (such as gay marriage)
  • Third parties
  • Texas primaries
  • The partisan divide
  • State of the Union Address
  • Political/nominating conventions
  • Presidential primary season
  • McCain-Feingold Law and campaign finance reform
  • Redistricting fights
  • Martin Frost/Pete Sessions Congressional race

Harold StanleyVoting Rights, Nominating Conventions and Southern Strategy

Harold Stanley, SMU political science professor, views American politics through the lens of the South. He researches presidential nominations, partisan change and voting rights and is the author of a widely used book on American political statistics, Vital Statistics in American Politics. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Stanley is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Southern politics
  • Southern strategy
  • Political statistics
  • Voting rights
  • Presidential nominations
  • Electoral change

Dennis SimonPolling and the Student Vote

Dennis Simon, SMU associate professor of political science, has criticized the current presidential primary system and called for extensive reforms. “The system marginalizes a substantial portion of primary voters and robs them of any meaningful choice,” he says. An expert on polling, public opinion and Congress, Simon can talk on a variety of issues. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Simon is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Polling
  • Student vote
  • Presidential primaries
  • Southern strategy
  • Wedge issues
  • Past elections
  • Constitutional amendments
  • Congressional elections
  • Debates
  • Martin Frost/Pete Sessions Congressional race

Media and Politics

Tony Pederson holds the Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism. While executive editor of the Houston Chronicle, he chaired Texas Media, a coalition of groups focused on open government, and he served as a member of the Legislative Action Committee of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, the industry watchdog group for open government in the Texas Legislature. Call 214-768-7650.

Pederson is available to speak on the following topics:

  • First Amendment
  • Newsroom decisions
  • Political coverage

Ruth MorganVoting, the Presidency and the Electoral College

Ruth Morgan, SMU professor emerita of political science, is a specialist in the U.S. presidency. She served for 13 years as state elections analyst for ABC News election coverage. Her books include Governance by Decree: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas, published in spring 2004, and a previous book titled The President and Civil Rights: Policy-Making by Executive Order. Contact her at 214-691-5944.

Morgan is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Supreme Court intervention (Bush v. Gore)
  • Election reform
  • Electoral college
  • Voting rights
  • Redistricting
  • Presidential primaries and caucuses
  • National party conventions
  • Inaugural and State of the Union addresses
  • Role of the media

Political Communication

Rita Whillock, a specialist in political communication, is an SMU professor of public affairs and corporate communications. She is the author of Communication Strategies in State and Local Elections; Soundbite Culture: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World; and Hate Speech. In addition, she has consulted on communications strategies for state and national campaigns. Contact her at 214-768-7650.

Whillock is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Political rhetoric
  • Blogs
  • Hate speech
  • Political advertising
  • Debate preparation
  • Women's issues
  • Media and politics
  • Martin Frost/Pete Sessions Congressional race

Foreign Affairs and Presidential History

Thomas Knock, SMU professor of history, says Howard Dean may be out of the running, but the early front runner managed to have an impact on his opponents “He held their feet to the fire on issues like the war in Iraq,” Knock says. He is working on the first political biography of former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. His other book is To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Knock is available to speak on the following topics:

  • American diplomacy
  • Presidential history
  • Foreign policy
  • Defense and national security
  • The United Nations
  • War and politics

Catholic Vote and Politics of Blame

The research interests of Matthew Wilson, SMU assistant professor of political science, are wide and varied. He is frequently asked by state and national legislatures to testify on the drawing of new legislative districts and is currently working on a book about the political attitudes and behaviors of American Catholics. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Wilson is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Politics of blame
  • Redistricting
  • Battleground states
  • Catholics and politics
  • Voting reforms
  • Voting eligibility
  • Public opinion
  • Religion and politics
  • Martin Frost/Pete Sessions Congressional race

Robin LovinReligion and Politics

Robin Lovin, SMU ethicist, studies the way people relate their faith to their families, communities and the broader society in which they live. Twenty years ago, he started the Project on Religion and American Public Life, which today still surveys American religious attitudes. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Lovin is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Religion and politics
  • American religious attitudes
  • Ethics
  • Religious rhetoric in campaigns
  • Young people and spirituality

Frederick Schmidt, Episcopal priest and SMU professor, says since early America, religion has shaped politics and visa versa. Without room for religion in some aspect of the public square, Schmidt fears that the common good is merely an economic goal. Director of Spiritual Life and Formation in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, Schmidt is the author of A Still Small Voice: Women Ordination and the Church; The Changing Face of God; and When Suffering Persists. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Schmidt is available to speak on the following topics:

  • American religious life
  • Religious appeals in politics
  • Social issues
  • Church and state
  • Religious rhetoric

James HollifieldImmigration and World Affairs

James Hollifield, SMU political science professor, pioneered the study of immigration. He is currently participating in a study funded by the National Science Foundation that looks at new immigrants to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Contact him at 214-768-7650.

Hollifield is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Immigration
  • Bush's Guest Work program
  • Mexico and U.S. relations
  • Foreign policy
  • Trade and immigration
  • Western Europe
  • United Nations

Tax Cuts and Deficits

Kathy Hayes, SMU economics professor, is an expert on how such measures affect the economy. A staple of political campaigns, do taxes help or hurt a candidate's message? How do they affect the economy, and are the candidates' tax policies realistic? Contact her at 214-768-7650.

Hayes is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Tax cuts
  • Deficit spending
  • American economy
  • State budgets

John SlocumLeadership Style

American presidents have included lawyers, generals, actors and a peanut farmer. President Bush is the nation’s first M.B.A. president. SMU Business Professor John Slocum is an organizational behavior expert who has studied hundreds of companies, and can comment on how their backgrounds shape their leadership style. Contact 214-768-7650.

  • Leadership style
  • Communication
  • Organizational behavior of campaigns



Mark BaxterThe Politics of Oil

Energy expert Mark Baxter tracks the daily rise of world oil prices. Baxter has more than 25 years experience in the energy business and heads a think-tank at Southern Methodist University, the Maguire Energy Institute, devoted to the study of energy issues. He is a frequent commentator for The New York Times, USA Today and national network news. Call 214-768-7650.

SMU Student Feedback

There are at least 10 million voters under the age of 25, and their support could determine the outcome of the next presidential election. Student turnout is expected to reach record numbers. SMU students are available to give their perspectives on campaign 2004.

  • Classroom discussions
  • SMU radio show “Let’s Talk Politics”
  • Debate watching parties
  • Student party leaders
  • Student political clubs