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Donald Trump Didn’t Kill Political Advertising

What worked for him—social media and free media coverage of his rallies—won’t work for most candidates, especially in next year’s midterms.

The failure of campaign ads in the last U.S. presidential race became the conventional wisdom, with the general election seen as the ultimate judge. At the presidential level, the importance of ads remains an open question thanks to the sitting president.

Travis Ridout
Travis Ridout

But Travis Ridout, a government professor at Washington State University, thinks ads still matter—that they’re worth spending millions on. “There is a different dynamic at play,” said Ridout, who co-directs the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political ads. “When you’re dealing with, say, a House race, oftentimes the challenger isn’t someone people have heard of before. Advertising can be very effective at introducing a candidate.”

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New Republic

Electronic Literature Organization moves to WSU Vancouver

The Electronic Literature Organization, which promotes and preserves “born-digital literature,” is moving west to Washington State University Vancouver from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dene Grigar
Grigar

WSU Vancouver, where organization president Dene Grigar is a professor and director of the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, will host the 20-year-old organization, which migrates around the U.S. periodically, for the next five years.

Grigar said the premise of born-digital literature is that “the computer can be used as a form of creative expression.” It’s also a genre that must be read electronically; “it’s not like Emily Dickinson on the web,” she said. As examples, she cited poet Thom Swiss’ “Shy Boy,” which features music, scheduling and text animation, and screenwriter Kate Tullinger’s interactive digital novel “Inanimate Alice,” among others.

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The Oregonian

WSU News

Opinion: Incivility rooted in resistance to compromise

Cornell Clayton
Clayton

By Cornell Clayton, professor of political science and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU

Two weeks ago five people including the Republican House Whip Steve Scalise were shot by a deranged gunman as they practiced for the annual congressional baseball game in the nation’s capital. Shocked by the violence, a rare moment of bipartisanship erupted as leaders of both parties called for greater civility in our politics. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi even sat down to a joint television interview to show they could be nice each other.

Similar calls to change the tone of our political discourse came after the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011, when a national center for civil discourse was even established. Such calls for greater civility are sincere and sensible. We should be more civil. They are also unlikely to succeed absent a more fundamental change in how we think about politics.

Over the past decade the Foley Institute at WSU has hosted a series of conferences and research programs focused on political polarization and incivility. Here is what we know.

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The Spokesman-Review

Republican Handel wins Georgia House election

Republican Karen Handel won a nationally watched congressional election Tuesday in Georgia, and she thanked President Donald Trump after she avoided an upset that would have rocked Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Cornell Clayton
Clayton

Both U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Washington State University professor of political science Cornell Clayton said it’s too early to tell what the results of the election will mean for the 2018 midterm elections.

Clayton, the Thomas S. Foley distinguished professor at WSU’s Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, said the race became symbolic for both parties but may not be a bellwether for the 2018 midterm elections.

“I think it was overhyped,” Clayton said.

The fact that it was close in a traditionally Republican district could mean generic GOP candidates will have trouble next year, he said. On the other hand, the fact that a Democrat couldn’t win in a swing district where Trump didn’t do so well might mean 2018 won’t be a wave election.

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The Spokesman-Review

Study: Environmental views can come from pulpits, not politicos

For some, the battle lines over environmental policy are drawn on religious—not necessarily political—grounds, suggests a new study by sociologists at the University of Nebraska and Washington State University.

The study in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion found that religious ideologies are driving opposition to environmental spending. More specifically, evangelical Protestants—usually perceived as the most conservative of Christians—are less likely to support environmental spending based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Johnson

The findings were culled from surveys collected from 1984 to 2012. Study co-author Erik Johnson, WSU associate professor of sociology, looked at three possible causes of evangelicals’ opposition to environmental spending: church attendance, political affiliation and biblical literalism. Only biblical literalism played a significant role across all three decades studied, and when comparing evangelicals to all other religious groups.

The findings may also explain why President Donald Trump felt core supporters would approve of his June 1 action to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, despite its favorability to the general public. Evangelical Protestants, who largely supported Trump, tend to disagree.

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Nebraska Today

Beatrice Daily Sun

Religion News Service

Other sources:

America Magazine – click to view

Sight Magazine – click to view

The Northern Star – click to view

Noosa News – click to view

The Gazette – click to view