Rice experts available to discuss Trump’s first TV ad


David Ruth

Rice experts available to discuss Trump’s first TV ad

HOUSTON – (Jan. 4, 2016) – Rice University political scientist Mark Jones, Mexico studies fellow Tony Payan and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley are available to discuss Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s first large television commercial buy.

The ad, which will run in Iowa and New Hampshire, addresses terrorism, the Islamic State group, a Muslim immigration ban and the idea of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Jones is the chair of political science at Rice and fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

“A majority of Americans will consider the ad’s content to be simultaneously offensive (for example, a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.) and unviable (for example, building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border),” Jones said. “However, these proposals do appeal to a significant minority of Americans, a group that Trump is counting on to turn out in the Iowa Republican caucus on Feb. 1, many of whom are potentially participating for the first time.

“Trump will be saturating the Iowa TV market between now and the end of the month with $2 million weekly buys, and given that Trump’s message resonates with a significant minority of Iowa residents, Trump’s rivals have reason to be concerned that these ad buys combined with Trump’s already-strong standing in the Hawkeye State could propel him to victory on Feb. 1,” Jones said.

Payan is the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

“I think Mr. Trump is playing a dangerous game of politics,” Payan said. “I think he is being somewhat disingenuous about the importance of both Canada and Mexico to U.S. prosperity. They are both neighbors of the United States, and inextricably, economically and commercially integrated in North America.

“I don’t think that he either understands the relationship that these three countries have among themselves — and certainly the United States is the centerpiece of this — or he’s simply playing the dangerous politics of division within the United States. He’s finding culprits or scapegoats for the fears that Americans have today about terrorism and economic uncertainty.”

Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University and a leading authority on presidential history and politics, has authored books on Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Teddy Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter, along with his latest on Richard Nixon, “The Nixon Tapes.” Brinkley is also history commentator for CNN.

To schedule an interview with Jones, contact him directly at mpjones@rice.edu or 832-466-6535.

To schedule an interview with Brinkley, contact David Ruth, director of national and broadcast media at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.