UT Wordmark Primary UT Wordmark Formal Shield Texas UT News Camera Chevron Close Search Copy Link Download File Hamburger Menu Time Stamp Open in browser Load More Pull quote Cloudy and windy Cloudy Partly Cloudy Rain and snow Rain Showers Snow Sunny Thunderstorms Wind and Rain Windy Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter email alert map calendar bullhorn

UT News

EXPERTS ADVISORY: Experts Available to Discuss Election 2016

As voters nationwide head to the polls to cast their ballots in national, state and local elections, UT experts are available to discuss the results and projected policy implications of #Election2016.

Two color orange horizontal divider
UT Austin Main Tower
A high angle shot of the main tower.

As voters nationwide head to the polls to cast their ballots in national, state and local elections, UT experts are available to discuss the results and projected policy implications of #Election2016.

For a complete list of experts who can discuss specific issues, visit the 2016 Presidential Election Guide.

Chandra Bhat, director of the Center for Transportation Research and professor of civil engineering and economics, is an expert on transportation planning who can discuss Austin’s Proposition 1 mobility bond and what it means for the city if it passes or fails.

“Prop 1 can provide localized traffic congestion relief and smooth traffic along certain corridors, but I really see it primarily as an investment in Austin’s future. We cannot build our way out of traffic congestion as our population continues to grow rapidly. In this regard, having more options and investing in a balanced way on our roads as well as our public transportation and nonmotorized mode infrastructure is important to Austin’s continued social vibrancy, community livability and economic competitiveness.”

Contact: bhat@mail.utexas.edu or 512-471-4535

Sean Theriault, professor of government, is an expert on Congress, political parties and elections who can discuss the impact of the election on the party system and the balance of power moving forward.

“All indications suggest that party polarization will be even more entrenched after the election than it is now. The candidates have retreated to their bases in order to win the election — little concern is given to the voters in the middle who are still trying to make up their minds. While that may be good for winning, it is not good for governing.”

James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, runs the UT/Texas Tribune Poll and is an expert on Texas politics and political campaigns.

“Trump’s signature positions — punitive views on undocumented immigrants, restrictive views on new immigration from Latin America and the Middle East, an aggressive law-and-order stance when it comes to race and policing (to put it politely) — mostly predate him in Texas. The polling in support of these policy positions thus signals a strong Republican Party in Texas, despite their measured enthusiasm for the candidate that emerged by the GOP primary process. If anything, the presidential campaign has underlined the tone that is likely to define any competitive races that might emerge in the 2018 GOP primary.”

Contact: j.henson@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-0090

Laurie Green, professor of history and women’s and gender studies, is an expert on the politics of race and gender in the 20th-century U.S. who can discuss what it would mean to elect the first female U.S. president.

“Whether or not they have a pantsuit to don, women across the U.S. are wearing white to the polls today to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton. The acute awareness that they are making history by reconnecting with their predecessors who struggled to make it possible to elect a woman for president is palpable. These women in white recall the suffragists whose fight culminated in the 19th Amendment in 1919. And yet it is crucial too to remember those who fought for the vote but were turned away from the polls anyway after 1920, who lived in the Jim Crow South and would be disfranchised until another movement succeeded in persuading the president and lawmakers to enact the Voting Rights Act in 1965. In 1972, the presidential campaign of Rep. Shirley Chisholm honored both movements. There are women voting today who are old enough to remember both movements. They too are wearing white to the polls.”

Contact: lbgreen@austin.utexas.edu or 512-475-7245

Michael Granof, professor of public affairs and accounting, is an expert on government and nonprofit accounting and finance who can discuss the budget issues facing the next president.

On the national debt:

“The Treasury now projects that, unless current policies are changed, by 2090, federal debt will increase to 223 percent of GDP (as compared with World War II’s historical high of 109 percent).

Some argue that we need to adopt an austerity budget, cutting back on all discretionary expenditures and reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Others contend that the current low interest rates provide an ideal opportunity to finance needed infrastructure improvements and that increased rather than reduced spending is in order to enhance social and educational programs and to strengthen our military. Moreover, some say tax cuts are needed to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The next president will have to walk a political and economic tightrope, balancing current societal needs against the long-term deleterious consequences of the projected increases in federal deficits and debts.”

On social security:

“Social Security is an issue that the new president, in good conscience, cannot ignore. In the absence of policy changes, the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2034. Short of “privatizing” Social Security by giving tax breaks to workers who contribute to privately managed accounts, ways to address this solvency problem include raising the cap on the income on which payroll taxes are calculated (currently $118,500), increasing the tax rate, increasing the ages at which benefits can begin to be received, adjusting the way cost-of-living adjustments to benefits are calculated and funding short-falls with general tax revenues. These changes will be financially painful to current workers or retirees. Nevertheless, the longer policy changes are delayed, the more severe the eventual “reforms” will have to be.”

Contact: Michael.granof@mccombs.utexas.edu or 512-471-4678

Daron Shaw, professor of government, is an expert on American politics, campaigns and elections, public opinion and voting behavior. (Available through the Wednesday, Nov. 9 only.)

Contact: dshaw@austin.utexas.edu or 512-232-7275

Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute and professor of engineering, is an expert on energy policy, alternative and renewable energy and energy in Texas.

Contact: webber@mail.utexas.edu or 512-475-6867

Sherri Greenberg, director of the Center for Politics and Governance and lecturer of public affairs, is a former state legislator and expert on Texas state government, public finance and electronic government.

Contact: srgreenberg@austin.utexas.edu or 512-656-6592

Sanford Levinson, professor of law, is an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional law.

Contact: slevinson@law.utexas.edu

William Inboden, director of the Clements Center for National Security, is an expert on national security and foreign policy.

Contact: inboden@austin.utexas.edu or 512-471-2601

Denise Gilman, director of the Immigration Clinic and professor of law, is an expert on immigration law, immigrant rights and family detention.

Contact: dgilman@law.utexas.edu or 512-232-7796

Joshua Blank, polling manager for the Texas Politics Project and UT /Texas Tribune Poll, is an expert on Texas public opinion, Texas politics and campaigns and elections.

Contact: joshmblank@austin.utexas.edu

Peniel Joseph, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and professor of public affairs and history, is an expert on political science, African studies and race, law and society.

Contact: peniel.joseph@austin.utexas.edu or 512-475-7251.