Newswise — AMES, Iowa – The following Iowa State faculty can provide expert commentary on the 2016 presidential election.

David Andersen, assistant professor of political science, dander@iastate.edu, 515-294-6928

Topics and issues: campaign strategy, polls, voter turnout and voter decision-making

How this election could change the parties: “The future of both parties is uncertain. Democrats clearly split between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the primaries and have only weakly reunited – primarily because they have a common foe. The future of the Democratic Party promises a stronger liberal push, and an expansion of government. The Republican Party is a great unknown. Its base of voters is shrinking, while the Democrats’ core is growing. It looks like the Republican Party is doomed to long-term decline. The one benefit Trump could have for Republicans would be to attract more working-class whites. This group traditionally supported Democrats because they were pro-union and aided American workers, but they now seem to be voting for Trump’s bravado about making America great again. If Trump can work that switch, he could lose the election while saving the Republican party.”

Dianne Bystrom, director Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women & Politics, dbystrom@iastate.edu, 515-294-4185

Topics and issues: Gender gap in voting, political advertising, media coverage of female vs. male political candidates, presidential debates

Role of gender in this election: “Since women outnumber men as U.S. citizens and registered voters, vote in greater proportions than men, and tend to vote for Democrats, a double-digit gender gap usually assures the election of the Democratic candidate for president. Based on recent polling, it looks like Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be propelled by the largest gender gap in the 36 years that pollsters have tracked this phenomenon. Recent polls show Clinton has a gender gap ranging from 12 to 23 points, with women providing the majority of her support among voters.”

Ben Crosby, associate professor of English and speech communication, rbcrosby@iastate.edu, 515-294-0309

Topics and issues: political rhetoric, major speeches and debates

Rhetoric in this election: “Trump has pushed political campaigning further into the realm of reality show entertainment, a genre that fits right in his wheelhouse. He has a remarkably good understanding of his audience, and must be credited on this point. No other candidate – with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders – was so aware of the segment of Americans whose sense of anger and alienation transcends public policy. For them, Trump's rhetoric is politically powerful precisely because it breaks all of the rules. His voters think the rule book is itself a scam, and they want to throw it out. So when Trump says something offensive, they take it as a sign that he is willing to do the dirty work of rule breaking. While the grotesque theatrics and animosity we are witnessing now are new to us, they’re not new to our republic. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams lobbed merciless character attacks. Each promised that electing the other would lead to rape, incest, dead children and biblically sized catastrophes.”

Michael Goebel, lecturer sociology and gender studies, mgoebel@iastate.edu, 404-895-0173

Topics and issues: gender, masculinity, media framing and inequality

On what’s fueling hatred in this election: “Much of the anxiety and anger is tied to feelings of disempowerment and an overall loss of control because of the supposed encroachment of outsiders. Because of the tone of this election, those who feel disempowered have been given sanction to direct their hostilities at the groups they feel are responsible for their loss of power and authority. This assertion of dominance through acts of hatred leads to a liberating sense of re-establishing ‘control over,’ which ultimately results in further acts of violence. There are many reasons for these disempowered individuals to be upset, but their anger is being misdirected based on overly simplified explanations for their pain, and overly simplified solutions being posed to solve what are very complex issues.”

Richard Mansbach, professor of political science, mansbach@iastate.edu, 515-294-8726

Topics and issues: U.S. foreign policy, candidate differences on foreign policy, Russia and the election

How the candidates differ on foreign policy: "This matters greatly at a time of simultaneous and dangerous challenges to the United States in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, which threaten U.S. alliance structures in those regions and growing threats from Russia, China and global terrorists. We need someone who is experienced, highly competent and knowledgeable in foreign affairs. Donald Trump has already undermined U.S. foreign policy, threatens the NATO alliance, admires several ‘strong’ dictators and is completely ignorant about foreign affairs.”

Dave Peterson, professor of political science, daveamp@iastate.edu, 515-294-9306

Topics and issues: campaign effects, media coverage and statistical models of elections

Voter attitude: “I don’t think that there is a single mood of the electorate. The country is divided and isn’t sure what it wants. That division is because of several trends in politics. The parties have grown farther and farther apart on the issues. Voters have responded by becoming increasingly antagonistic toward people of the other party. At the same time, we have become increasingly hostile toward politics in general. We really don't like the parties in general, but especially not the other party.”

Mack Shelley, University Professor and chair of political science, mshelley@iastate.edu, 515-294-1075

Topics and issues: policy issues, campaign strategies, public opinion, surveys and polling

Major policy issues in this election: “As always, policy issues play both a leading and a subordinate role in an election. Dominating issues at the national level include immigration, education, health care and national security. At the state level, key issues include water quality, rural/urban differences, Medicare privatization and taxes. However, issues in the presidential election tend to be overshadowed by candidate personality considerations, highlighted by the historically high levels of negative perceptions by prospective voters of both Clinton and Trump. The presidential race is typified in the minds of many voters as being a choice of the lesser of two evils, which does not create a particularly positive environment for energizing voter turnout and focusing attention on issues.”

Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of political science, sws@iastate.edu, 515-294-3825

Topics and issues: election projections, outcomes

How this election might change U.S. politics: “It really depends on who wins the White House and who controls the Senate and House. It could be total gridlock if it’s a split between the two parties; the GOP could be totally revamped by ‘Trumpism;’ or we could see a Clinton presidency, which would mean liberal Supreme Court appointments. In the end, both parties may want to rethink their caucus and primary process and debate rules to give more party control.”

Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor of journalism, kwinfrey@iastate.edu, 515-294-8344

Topics and issues: Gender, advertising, media coverage and women voters

Impact of media coverage during this election cycle: “Media coverage has hurt Clinton, particularly earlier in the campaign, because much of the coverage had a negative frame with issues ranging from her emails to her narrow victory in some primaries. Trump benefited from a great deal of media coverage and by how the media treated him; he was often treated more like a reality star than a serious candidate, which meant he was not as heavily scrutinized. However, these things have started to change as editorial boards endorsed Clinton and journalists cover alleged Trump scandals.”

Iowa State University News Service has a fully equipped, digital broadcast studio, available for live video interviews to broadcast networks. To arrange interviews contact: Angie Hunt, News Service, 515-294-8986, amhunt@iastate.edu; or Dave Olson, News Service videographer, 515-294-5992, dlolson@iastate.edu.