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terry smith

Commentary: The Angry Voter

Aug 7, 2019

When I attended the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in April I sat in on a number of good panels and brought back much good content for my classes at Columbia College and for these commentaries.  In a panel on the 2020 election one author made the case that the traditional metrics used to predict presidential elections may not apply in 2020, just as many of them failed in 2016.


In 1932 and 1933 Joseph Stalin deliberately starved between three and ten million residents of Ukraine – no one knows the number for sure – and he tried to keep it secret.  When a later official Soviet census showed a multi-million person decline in Ukraine’s population, Stalin did the only thing he could do.  He had the top officials of the census executed.

So the pollsters recently fired by President Trump because internal polling showed Trump was behind in several battleground states should consider themselves lucky.  But Trump has a point.  People: IT IS A YEAR AND A HALF UNTIL THE ELECTION.  


Commentary: The Realities of Clean Missouri

Jan 9, 2019

Missouri voters used to be in the news because we were the bellwether state for presidential elections.  For 100 years with one exception Missouri voted for the winner – until 2008.

Now we are in the news because we are a trending red state that votes for progressive ballot initiatives.  Republicans have super majorities in both houses of the state legislature, control all but one statewide office, including both Senate seats, and six of eight congressional seats.  Yet in 2018 voters defeated right-to-work, approved a state minimum wage, approved medical marijuana and passed the “Clean Missouri” amendment, strengthening ethics laws and changing the way state legislative districts are drawn.

Commentary: Missouri's Confused Political Culture

Aug 21, 2018

I am about to conclude that the reason we are called the Show Me State is because we Missourians are confused about our identity and need someone to show us who we are.  I’ve lived in Missouri most of my life and am as curious as anyone.

Commentary: Greitens and Trump

Jun 19, 2018

In early 2016 I watched the presidential and Missouri gubernatorial campaigns with great curiosity.  After the April GOP debate in Columbia not only did I believe that Eric Greitens would not be the nominee, I was fairly sure the most traditional candidate, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, would be.  During the spring GOP presidential candidate debates I did not know who the nominee would be, but I was fairly sure it would not be Donald Trump.  Silly me.  Silly lots of us.

A year ago last week Donald Trump was officially chosen president by the Electoral College.  Had 77 thousand voters in three states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – voted for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, Ms. Clinton would have not only won the popular vote by three million, she would also have narrowly won the Electoral Vote. 

Commentary: Soccer and Foreign Policy

Nov 14, 2017

  President Trump’s Asia trip makes me think of – soccer. I love soccer. Columbia College has two nationally-ranked teams and I’m a big fan. I help my daughter coach a recreation league team here in Columbia that my granddaughters and grandson play on. I coached youth soccer for many years when we lived in Kirksville.

Commentary: Wendy Noren Did Her Job the Right Way

Jun 20, 2017

In the last six months Boone County has seen two exemplary public servants step down.  In January Karen Miller left the Southern District County Commission seat she had held for 24 years.  Last week Wendy Noren resigned from her position as Boone County Clerk after 35 years.

Commentary: Trump's Imprint

Jun 14, 2017

Please indulge a few seconds of personal history.  One of the reasons Columbia College, where I teach, has prospered in recent years is its online program.  I have been heavily involved in online from its first days in the late 1990s and now teach online classes.  I also update courses previously developed by other faculty.

As I speak I am redeveloping our online class on the presidency.  There are some, uh, challenges in updating a college course on the presidency in the summer of 2017.

Commentary: Two Wacky Weeks

May 19, 2017

Remember Pope Benedict the Sixteenth?  I’ll return to him in a moment.

The news is so dynamic just now.  It’s like waiting for the next shoe to drop from a centipede – not when but how many?  The humorist Dorothy Parker had an appropriate phrase: “What fresh Hell is this?”  

Commentary: Democratic Dilemmas

Apr 18, 2017

Here are three things Democrats should not do if they want to regain the majority.

They should not be like Donald Trump and use profanity in public.  Last week it was reported that the Democratic National Chairman said in public one of the words you can’t say on TV, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said one of the other ones, in its gerund form.  Lots of Millennials talk this way and for some reason Trump can get away with talking this way.  But “I am authentic because I am vulgar” is not a winning strategy for Democrats.

Commentary: The Fragility of the Trump Rebellion

Mar 30, 2017

During the 1991 Gulf War military commanders kept talking about a “target-rich environment” in Iraq and Kuwait.  And indeed it was.  And so is American politics in 2017.  There is no shortage of subjects for analysis.

So forgive me for returning to the same one repeatedly: President Trump.  My shorthand for explaining Trump – or at least describing him – I’m not sure anyone can explain him – still works.  In seven words: won’t change, doesn’t care, not a Republican.  Interestingly, this shorthand is also beginning to describe Trump supporters. 

Commentary: "A Proper Funeral"

Feb 14, 2017

An important part of the research I do for these commentaries is to listen – to my students and coworkers at Columbia College, at my church, over my dinner table.  Last summer and fall I was hearing.  But I wasn’t listening.  Had I actually been listening I would not have had Hillary Clinton all elected and inaugurated.  It was an embarrassing and humbling experience.  Here is – hopefully – a reset.

If, as the old saying goes, past performance is the best predictor of future behavior, then I have a pretty good idea of what we can expect from President Trump. 

Next week I’ll give you most of my predictions for key elections.  I’ll give you one today: Hillary Clinton will win the presidential election. 

I realize this revelation will send few of you to the fainting couch.  Most observers are predicting this outcome, and with good reason.

I have my reasons as well and I thought I’d look back at how I’ve been tracking the presidential race from this spot on the dial over the last year.

Last October I said: “Candidates who have the best organizations usually prevail.”  Yes, that’s one of the reasons Clinton will win.

Poor white people have been in the news a lot lately.  Most obviously they are a target voting group and natural constituency for Donald Trump.  But they are also the subject of some interesting recent non-fiction books.  One memoir entitled Hillbilly Elegy by a guy who grew up in rural Kentucky is actually a best seller, and a couple of others have had a real impact on how people think about this very large group of Americans.

Have you noticed one of the side effects of reality TV?  I guess people actually watch “Naked and Afraid” and “My 600-pound Self”.  I only know about these shows because I surf past them on the way to professional cage fighting and Real Housewives of Las Vegas.  Just kidding about cage fighting.  But seriously, this programming makes voyeurs out of normal people, but more importantly, causes them to think differently about their social and political worlds.

Commentary: Grading the Major Party Conventions

Aug 9, 2016

How did the parties do at the conventions?  Using the late journalist David Broder’s guide here’s how I think they did:

Commentary: The Art of the Acceptance Speech

Jul 26, 2016

I am not a convention junkie.  Mostly I read the day after about what went on.  But I do watch two events live: the presidential nominee acceptance speeches.

At the conclusion of each speech I turn off the TV and write down my impressions.  I am not interested in what the talking heads have to say.  Sometimes the next morning when I catch the analyses I wonder aloud: “Did those people watch the same speech I did?”

Commentary: Trump and the Media

Jun 14, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

I just finished an interesting book entitled The Republic of Spin by historian and journalist David Greenberg.  It is a history of how presidents have managed mass media.

Talking Politics - Reality Show Campaigns and Negative Ads

Apr 19, 2016
Sully Fox / KBIA file photo

I suppose it is possible for the 2016 presidential campaign to get more strange, and I expect it will.  It is the best reality show ever.  Here are some of the juicy parts:

  • Millions of voters Feeling the Bern
  • Trump and Cruz trading insults – about each other’s wives
  • A Clinton campaign that has been declared too big to fail
  • College students getting the vapors because some mean person chalked the word “Trump” on a sidewalk

Even The Donald and Megan have made up.  You can’t make this stuff up.


Talking Politics - A Huey Long Analogy

Mar 22, 2016
KBIA file photo

Earlier this year I compared Donald Trump to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi because no American came to mind.  Since then an American has come to mind.

This American was definitely a populist, finding passionate support among the dispossessed, discouraged and disillusioned.  He had an outsized personality.  He was unusually effective with his use of media.


Talking Politics- Ribbon Clerks Commentary

Feb 16, 2016
American flag
File Photo / KBIA

Welcome to Talking Politics. KBIA’s weekly show dedicated to talking about local and national politics. On this week’s show Dr. Terry Smith, KBIA’s regular political commentator and a political science professor at Columbia College is back in the studio with a commentary on what the term “ribbon clerks” means in the political arena. 

Talking Politics - Analogy on Presidential Politics

Feb 2, 2016
Trains
The Wingy / Flickr

Welcome to Talking Politics, KBIA’s Weekly show dedicated to talking about local and national politics. Today Terry Smith, a Columbia College political science professor and regular political commentator for KBIA, returns to the show for a commentary about an analogy he sees between a childhood passion of his and today’s presidential politics. The transcription of Terry Smith's commentary is below.


Talking Politics - Political Commentary

Oct 20, 2015
American flag
File Photo / KBIA

This week on KBIA's "Talking Politics" we’ve brought back a familiar voice and contributor, Dr. Terry Smith.

Dr. Smith is a regular political commentator for radio and television stations and is a political science professor at Columbia College.

Today, he tells us how the 2016 presidential election is shaping up and what some of the major differences are between the 2012 and the 2016 presidential race.


Talking Politics: Amendments, amendments, amendments

Oct 28, 2014
vote here sign
KBIA file photo

In this episode of Talking Politics, Prof. Terry Smith gives us an overview of what to expect from next week's midterm elections.

Eli Yokley of PoliticMo joined us this week to discuss Amendment 2, Amendment 6 and Amendment 10, which will each appear on ballots across Missouri next week.  They deal with everything from the use of certain types of evidence in court to the governor's ability to limit spending.

Talking Politics: 2014 Election Preview

Oct 27, 2014
State of Missouri

 

In this episode of Talking Politics, Prof. Terry Smith of Columbia College gives us an overview of the upcoming 2014 election.  Marshall Griffin gives us a look at Tom Schweich’s bid for state auditor that appears to be turning into a bid for governor. Finally, KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith will walk us through the Columbia Police Department’s implementation of body cameras.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Tuesday was the last day at work for longtime Columbia College President Dr. Gerald Brouder.

Columbia College
File Photo / KBIA

Members of Columbia College’s presidential search committee say the college has selected the Washington D.C.-based recruiters Academic Search to help find Columbia College's next president – and the committee is aiming to introduce candidates by this Fall.

Islespunkfan / Flickr

At the first major league baseball game I ever saw, as a Cub Scout in old Sportsmans Park in north St. Louis, Stan Musial got his 2500th hit, a home run.  I became a Cardinals fan and a Stan Musial fan that day.

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