Before, during and after elections, news media keeps LAS experts busy

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Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center for Women and Politics

It’s been a busy election season for the political experts in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The news media repeatedly came to the Department of Political Science and the Catt Center for Women and Politics for Iowa insight.

With Joni Ernst vying to become the state’s first female U.S. senator, Dianne Bystrom’s observations were in high demand. Writers from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times were among those who interviewed her this week.

Bystrom, director of the Catt Center, spent election afternoon and evening in Des Moines at the WHO-TV studios providing live and recorded election commentary. (See one of Bystrom’s interviews.) She was not surprised with the Ernst win.

“Throughout her campaign to become the first woman to represent Iowa in the U.S. Congress, Ernst has benefitted from both timing and a well-run political campaign with memorable messaging,” Bystrom said. “Her primary ads were clever, and caught the party’s attention to unite both the most conservative and also more mainstream Republicans behind her campaign.”

Ernst, by the way, is an LAS alumna – 1992 psychology grad.

Once the polls closed Tuesday, Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of political science, was doing live chatting for the Des Moines Register website. Diverse participants rooted for both sides.

“Obviously, by 10:45, it quickly turned into a huge and frightening disappointment for Democrats and liberals,” Schmidt said. “There was a consensus among the bloggers that Obama failed to ‘sell’ the successes of his six years in the White House and that Democrats made a huge mistake not selling the stronger economy, more jobs, lower food prices and the popular things about Obamacare.”

Schmidt also did live commentary for Iowa Public Radio where he used a Fox News tweet to announce that Ernst had been declared the victor. “I scooped the Ernst race [on Iowa Public Radio] because I was on two computers and three national news feeds as well as live blogging and doing IPR.”

Schmidt also was scheduled to be the guest of New Hampshire talk show host and political analyst Arnie Arnesen on Nov. 5.

David Andersen, assistant professor in political science, was scheduled to appear on the Wall Street Journal online coverage Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 5) to provide post-election coverage. He discussed state elections on Iowa Public TV’s Iowa Press on Sunday with Christopher Budzisz, director of the Loras College Poll.

In the U.S. Senate, Bystrom said Ernst enters an environment in which women from both political parties have tended to get along and reach bipartisan compromises on several issues. “Yes, they often break along party lines, but seem more willing to get together socially outside of work and to treat each other with respect.”

– Steve Jones