Lucas, Deutchman on GOP Debate – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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Lucas, Deutchman on GOP Debate

Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of Faculty DeWayne Lucas, and Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman were featured in a recent front page Finger Lakes Times article previewing the Republican presidential candidates’ debate cohosted by Fox News and Facebook.

In the article, Lucas and Deutchman offered similar views on the structure of the Aug. 6 debate, suggesting that an imposed time limit was obstructive to viewers who would try to recognize the differences between candidates. Each of the 10 Republican candidates had only a few minutes to gain attention from voters.

“For the average watcher who’s saying, ‘OK, here’s my first opportunity to check out who the Republicans are,’ 10 people? Are they even going to be able to differentiate one from another?” Deutchman questioned.

Lucas also said he believes little would be gained from the brief remarks unless one makes an interesting comment which would stimulate follow-up.

“I don’t think decisions are going to be made based on this debate, but this is really sort of an introduction to the top 10,” he said.

Discussion also included acknowledgement of Donald Trump’s confrontational demeanor, prompting questions regarding the effectiveness of his approach compared to other candidates.

A member of the faculty since 2000, Lucas holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his M.A. and Ph.D. from State University at Binghamton. His scholarly interests center on legislative politics, political parties, American political institutions and American political behavior. Lucas is the author or co-author of many publications, including collaboration with Deutchman. Associate Dean of Faculty, Lucas’ primary responsibilities deal with faculty and curriculum development and support. He represents the Provost on the Committee on Academic Affairs, coordinates the First Year Seminar Program, and chairs the Bidisciplinary programs.

Deutchman holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in political science and economics. She is a professor of more than 20 years who has worked on two continents (Australia and North America). She has a long list of publications in major journals, the latest of which are “Electoral Challenges of Moderate Factions: Main Streeters and Blue Dogs, 1994- 2008,” The Forum, Vol. 8: Iss2, Article 2 (2010) (with DeWayne Lucas); “Five Factions, Two Parties: Caucus Membership in the House of Representatives, 1994- 2002,” Congress and the Presidency, 36:62-84, 2009 (with colleague DeWayne Lucas); and “Fundamentalist Christians, Raunch Culture and Post-industrial Capitalism,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Summer 2008.

The full Finger Lakes Times article follows:


Finger Lakes Times
10 GOP hopefuls square off tonight

Jim Miller • Aug. 6, 2015

Too many candidates, too little time.

That’s the opinion of two Hobart and William Smith Colleges professors about tonight’s inaugural Republican debate, at least when it comes to the potential for meaningful discussion. 

“I don’t have any expectations of this,” said DeWayne Lucas, a political science professor. “This is 10 people for 90 minutes – with commercials and other [interruptions], we’re looking at less than eight minutes on average each.” 

Lucas’ colleague Iva Deutchman agreed. 

“For the average watcher who’s saying, ‘OK, here’s my first opportunity to check out who the Republicans are,’ 10 people? Are they even going to be able to differentiate one from another?” Deutchman said. “Will they remember, OK, that guy was Bush, that guy was Kasich? … Assuming nobody does anything terrible, then my guess is, the lesser-known candidates will remain lesser known.” 

The Republicans in fact have 17 candidates. The 10 chosen for the main debate – Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Chris Christie – at 9 p.m. on Fox News are those with the best poll numbers. The remaining candidates will participate in a debate of their own at 5 p.m. 

Despite that abundance of presidential hopefuls, Ethel Peters does not share the professors’ concerns.

“I feel it should be very interesting and very informative,” said Peters, who chairs the city of Geneva’s Republican committee. “Of course, this is the first, I’m sure, of many, many [debates], and no decision can be made from just hearing one debate.” 

Peters said she’s interested in many of the candidates but has not made up her mind about which one to support.

All are well-qualified and each has strengths, she said. 

“At least it’ll be a beginning for me,” she said of the debate.

Much of the pre-debate attention has focused on Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Lucas and Deutchman are both curious to see how he does.

“It will be interesting to see how he handles answering a straight question, what is your position on this or what would you do, because he hasn’t spoken much on that,” Deutchman said. 

Lucas said he’ll be watching to see how the other candidates interact with Trump and whether Trump continues his confrontational approach to the campaign. 

Lucas is also curious to see whether the candidates manage to distinguish themselves from each other in the limited time allotted. 

“Unfortunately, I think the best way is going to be for them to do something confrontational,” he said. “I think what’s going to stand out is going to be the one-liners, the zingers, that successfully, if possible, synthesize their messages. I’m sure they’ve worked on a number of one-liners, but the question to me remains are those oneliners going to be effective?” 

Deutchman, however, questioned the wisdom of candidates trying to “out Trump Trump.”

“I’ve got to be honest with you: If I were somebody’s adviser, I’d tell them I saw more danger in that,” she said before referring to a recent incident in Kentucky. “The kid who screams and cries gets all the attention, but he’s also the kid that gets handcuffed – and not somebody that we’re going to elect.” 

However, Deutchman sees little danger for Trump himself. The limited amount of time he will have to speak will mitigate the impact of any errors, she said, unless he gets something completely wrong or insists on talking past his time. 

Overall, neither she nor Lucas thinks viewers will learn much from the debate, but Lucas thinks an interesting comment from one candidate or another might spur people to follow-up and learn more.

“I don’t think decisions are going to be made based on this debate, but this is really sort of an introduction to the top 10,” he said.