Neither Liberal nor Conservative

Neither Liberal nor conservative: top strategists and scholars debate campaigning in polarized america

The consensus in today’s political spectrum is that Americans are extremely polarized and can’t agree on anything. Surprisingly, though, truly ideological liberals and conservatives exist in a distinct minority and only among those who are deeply engaged in political life. The panel was inspired by new research released in “Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public,” in which Donald Kinder and Nathan Kalmoe, assistant professor at the Manship School, argue that American public opinion is in a state of ideological innocence. If this is the case, how do Americans make election and policy decisions? What are the implications for campaign and issue strategists? The panel explored these questions.

Political strategists and Dr. Kalmoe discussed how practitioner knowledge of ideology among the public affects, or doesn't affect, the shape of voter messaging. Practitioner panelists include Terri Broussard Williams, vice president of government affairs at the American Heart Association-SouthWest and Manship School alum; Trey Ourso, senior political strategist at Ourso Beychok; and Bill Skelly, partner and co-founder of Causeway Solutions. The Manship School of Mass Communication’s Martin Johnson, associate dean for graduate studies and research, moderated the panel of political research and strategy experts.




Meet the panelists!

Terri Broussard Williams

Terri Broussard Williams

Terri Broussard Williams currently serves as the Vice President of Government Relations for the American Heart Association-SouthWest Affiliate, which covers Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming. In her current role, she is responsible for managing thought-leadership, industry trends and fighting heart disease and stroke through public policy. Terri leads a team staff lobbyists, grassroots organizers, contract lobbyists and volunteer advocates in her region.

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Bill Skelly

Prior to starting Causeway Solutions, Bill spent over a decade at the Republican National Committee leading a team that revolutionized how political data is used and generated in campaigns. As a self-taught programmer, Bill has an exceptional talent for distilling vast quantities of information in a way to make very complex concepts approachable and understandable. He has become a leader in helping campaigns and organizations use data in the most impactful and cost effective ways.

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Trey Ourso

Trey Ourso's work for the Gumbo PAC during the Louisiana governor’s race earned him the AAPC Pollie Excellence Award for 2015 Campaign Strategist of the Year. Trey is the former Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party and former National President of the Association of State Democratic Executive Directors. He was the first state party executive director to address a national convention at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, CA.

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Nathan Kalmoe, author of "Neither Liberal nor Conservative"

Nathan Kalmoe, Ph.D.

Nathan Kalmoe's book with Donald Kinder on the scarcity of mass ideology, Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public (2017, University of Chicago Press), is the inspiration and basis for the panel discussion. His other research focuses on mass political behavior through communication, psychology, and history.

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Kalmoe's book, Neither Liberal nor Conservative, on which the panel was based
Nathan Kalmoe and Donald Kinder's book, Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public inspired the panel. Read it today!


Martin Johnson, moderator

Martin Johnson, Ph.D.

Martin Johnson is the Kevin P. Reilly, Sr. Chair in Political Communication and Professor of Mass Communication and Political Science at LSU. He studies media, politics, public opinion, political psychology, and public policy. His book, Changing Minds or Changing Channels: Partisan News in an Age of Choice (2013, University of Chicago Press, with Kevin Arceneaux), uses novel experiments to investigate how the choices viewers make shape the influence of political media. It was co-winner of the 2014 Goldsmith Book Prize awarded by the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy.

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