Rice U. election experts and watch parties

David Ruth

Rice U. election experts and watch parties

HOUSTON – (Oct. 25, 2016) – Rice University experts are available to comment on the 2016 elections now through election week, and two election night viewing parties on campus Nov. 8 will provide photo ops for news media.

Vote 2016A viewing party for students, faculty and staff is being co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership. While the event is for the Rice community, media are welcome to do short interviews and get B-roll. The party will begin at 6 p.m. in Rice Memorial Center’s (student center) Grand Hall, 6100 Main St. The activity will include election coverage, election-themed trivia contests and a photo booth where attendees can get their picture taken “with” the candidates.

Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy will hold an election night viewing party for the institute’s fellows, scholars and invited guests. Registration is free for Roundtable and Roundtable Young Professionals members and $25 for nonmembers. The viewing party begins at 7 p.m. News media are welcome to attend this event also to get short interviews and B-roll.

Media planning to cover the viewing parties should RSVP to David Ruth at david@rice.edu. They are advised to park in the Central Campus Garage. For a map of Rice’s campus with parking information, go to rice.edu/maps.

The following Rice experts are available for news media interviews through election week:

Dan Wallach, professor of computer science and a Rice Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute, is available to discuss the security of electronic voting machines. Wallach is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the topic and recently testified before Congress on the issue. A recent Politico story, “How To Hack an Election in 7 Minutes,” provides an example of his expertise.

Michael Byrne, professor of psychology, has been teaching a class on voting machine security this semester with Wallach and Robert Stein, professor of political science. They have agreed to invite the news media to their classroom the day after the election, Nov. 9, when they are planning an “election post-mortem.” Contact David Ruth at david@rice.edu if you want to visit the class Nov. 9 or before the election. The class is held Wednesdays from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Syria and to Israel, is available to comment on the next administration’s challenges in the Middle East.

Mark Jones, professor of political science, chair in Latin American studies and a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, said, “Here in Texas we’ll be watching closely to determine the extent of the collateral damage inflicted by Donald Trump on down-ballot Republicans, with particular focus on the country’s third-most populous county, Harris County, where heated battles are taking place for powerful countywide offices, such as district attorney and sheriff, and on approximately a dozen Texas House races, where the Republican incumbents could be vulnerable if there is a Trump-inspired blue tsunami that sweeps across the state.”

Paul Brace, professor of political science, can discuss how “Election 2016 has provided a shock to our electoral system and governing processes. It is unprecedented in our history, with effects that will not end when the final ballots are counted.”

Ric Stoll, professor of political science and a Rice Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute, said, “If Clinton wins, I expect foreign policy to be similar to that of the Obama administration … but, perhaps, a bit more aggressive but still working with our traditional friends and allies. If Trump wins, I expect much more of a go-it-alone approach to foreign policy.”

Anthony Pinn, professor of religion, can comment on religion and the presidential election, as well as race and the presidential election.

Vivian Ho, professor of economics and chair in health economics at the Baker Institute, said, “Trump’s health care proposals, including the repeal of Obamacare, would double the number of uninsured in the U.S., while adding $490 billion to U.S. debt over the next 10 years.

“(Hillary) Clinton aims to enhance the subsidies provided for insurance under Obamacare. Doing so increases access to health care but will raise costs for the taxpayer. While she acknowledges the need to reduce waste in the health care system, I worry that she hasn’t developed specific strategies for doing so. I applaud the government’s move toward value-based reimbursement of health care providers, but I worry that the accompanying regulations are too cumbersome for many physicians to meet,” Ho said.

Kirstin Matthews, fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute, recently released a science and technology report for the next administration. Matthews said, “If Clinton is elected, we expect to see her nominate a science adviser during the transition period and use the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to push her agenda, including climate change policy. In contrast, if Trump is elected, there will likely be a delay in identifying someone in the position, potentially as long as we saw with G.W. Bush in 2001, when the director was not in office until October.”

Joe Barnes, Baker Institute fellow, is available to discuss a Clinton or Trump presidency and foreign policy implications in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere. Visit Barnes’ “research library,” where he has written on Trump, Brexit and foreign policy and the 2016 election.

Tom Kolditz, director of Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, said, “Campaigns are mostly about power, but accomplishing presidential goals is about leadership. Both candidates’ poll numbers suggest that they are long on power and short on leadership ability, which makes for interesting predictions about how their respective presidencies might unfold.” A retired brigadier general, Kolditz led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point for 12 years. In that role, he was responsible for West Point’s teaching, research and outreach activities in management, leader development science, psychology and sociology.


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This news release can be found at news.rice.edu.

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 happiest students 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/RiceUniversityoverview.

About David Ruth

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