Political experts to present lessons learned from 2012 election on March 5

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Dianne Bystrom

AMES, Iowa – Many people are still digesting what happened during the 2012 presidential election. Two political experts from Iowa State University, Dianne Bystrom and Steffen Schmidt, continue to analyze the ever-changing process of politics and watch the transformation of elections take its course each term. On Tuesday, March 5, they will present "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" of the 2012 elections.

Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, and Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science, will highlight the interesting events that happened during the primary season leading up to the general election. The March 5 lecture will be at 8 p.m. in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union and is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Spring Dean’s Lecture.

Steffen Schmidt

“We’re not giving a paper at a conference to a room full of specialists,” said Schmidt. He adds that politics can be weird, funny, or embarrassing and from these contingencies people should draw a lesson for the future.

Both Bystrom and Schmidt agree there is never a quiet moment in politics and it will forever be a changing subject. They recognize it was a long campaign, with a record amount of money spent. Bystrom and Schmidt want to highlight these circumstances and bring insight to what can be learned for the future.

Bystrom has studied political campaigns for more than 25 years and is a frequent commentator on women and politics. “Following the 2012 elections, the number of women in the U.S. Congress is at an all-time high,” she said.

Nationally, women now hold a record of 98 seats in the 113th Congress – 20 women (16 Democrats, 4 Republicans) serve in the U.S. Senate and 78 women (58 Democrats, 20 Republicans) serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bystrom’s research is focused on the styles and strategies used by female and male political candidates and their coverage by the media. She has resided at Iowa State as the Catt Center director and an adjunct professor since 1996.

Schmidt, also known as “Dr. Politics,” is a coauthor of the best selling textbook American Government and Politics Today. He said the most surprising aspect of the 2012 elections was the Republican Party’s inability to stay on track with the changing demographics of the American voters. They never followed up on the fact of gradually losing female, Hispanic and youth votes over past elections, he said.

Schmidt joined Iowa State’s political science department in 1970. He is a frequent guest on public radio and has become one of the most quotable political science experts in the media on the U.S. presidential elections.

The March 5 lecture is free and open to the public. The Dean’s Lecture Series is coordinated by Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is cosponsored by the University Committee on Lectures (funded by the Government of the Student Body).

See the flyer.

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About Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a world-class learning and research community. Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. College faculty design new materials, unravel biological structures, care for the environment, and explore social and behavioral issues. From fundamental research to technology transfer and artistic expression, the college supports people in Iowa and around the world.


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University

Contacts: Ashlee Clark, Liberal Arts & Sciences Communication, (515) 294-7742, (amclark1@iastate.edu) Laura Wille, Liberal Arts & Sciences Communication, (515) 294-7742, (lge@iastate.edu)