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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

WSU students return as mentors at migrant academy

When Gizelle Sandoval arrived on the Washington State University Pullman campus a few years ago for the Dare to Dream Math and Science Academy, the high school junior wasn’t sure wasn’t sure she wanted to be here.

The only world she knew was helping her parents pick fruit in the Yakima Valley, and she didn’t care much for school.


The Dare to Dream Academy, an annual summer program organized by the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction’s Migrant Education Program in partnership with WSU’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), changed her life. Now a WSU junior majoring in criminal justice, Sandoval returned to the academy the last week of June as a mentor.

“As a high school student, the program’s mentors made me feel really comfortable and provided me with a great support group,” she said. “I’m really glad to have the opportunity to now serve as a mentor for others.”

About 180 high school junior and seniors, all from migrant families around the state, were invited to the academy to brush up on their math or science skills. Those who complete the rigorous curriculum taught by WSU instructors receive high school credit.

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Empire Press

WSU News

Opinion: Incivility rooted in resistance to compromise

Cornell 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

Pullman Arts Commission to seek funds to build WSU-designed bus stop

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Pullman City Council authorized—via head-nods—the Pullman Arts Commission to move forward with fundraising for a new bus stop designed in part by members of the WSU Department of Fine Arts.

The bus stop is to be built in front of Safeway grocery store and designed by the WSU Collaborative, a team of WSU art, architecture, design and engineering students and professor Ayad Rahmani.

In April, the commission chose the “Magnificent M” as its favorite design out of four presented by WSU Collaborative.

Now called Rolling Hills, the modified design shows previously sharp points of the “M” have been softened to mimic the hilly Palouse landscape. The design has also been modified to incorporate bike parking and add an anti-graffiti clear coat for wood and metal parts of the structure.

The project was originally estimated to cost $2,500. With the modifications, that estimation jumped to $5,000.

WSU is donating its time and manufacturing resources, the commission’s interim chair, Joanna Bailey, told the council. Crowd-sourced fundraising may also be utilized.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News (login required)

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

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