Press Room

Communication Scholars Available to Discuss Third Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

September 12, 2019
Experts Available

The third presidential primary debate will feature the top 10 candidates based on polling data and individual donation numbers. The National Communication Association can put reporters in touch with leading Communication scholars who specialize in political communication and presidential rhetoric. These experts are well-equipped to address a variety of questions about the debates and the Democratic primary: 

  • How can candidates differentiate their messages and stand out?
  • How does the format of the debate affect candidates’ messages? 
  • What strategies are candidates likely to use to assert themselves during the debate? 
  • What might candidates do and say to try to increase their traction with voters? 


Mary Banwart, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor of Communication Studies, University of Kansas

Mary Banwart's research focuses on political campaign communication and the influence of gender in political campaigns, with specific attention directed toward political advertising, campaign web sites, and mixed-gender debates. Banwart has authored book chapters and journal articles examining the strategic use of advertising in political campaigns, gendered uses of communication on campaign web sites, the gender gap, and news coverage in mixed-gender campaign races. She co-authored the book, Gender and Political Candidate Communication: VideoStyle, WebStyle, and NewsStyle.

John Murphy, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

John Murphy studies the history of American Public Address and political rhetoric. He is the author of John F. Kennedy and the Liberal Persuasion, a critique of President Kennedy's greatest speeches and the liberal tradition. He studies the evolution of political language, and has written on John and Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King. Jr., George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Murphy’s commentary on the presidency and presidential rhetoric regularly appears in media outlets such as The Conversation USA, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and USA Today. 

Allison Prasch, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Allison Prasch is a scholar of U.S. presidential rhetoric, foreign policy, and the Cold War. She has authored book chapters and journal articles analyzing the rhetoric of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Her current book project, The Global Rhetorical Presidency: Cold War Rhetoric on the World Stage, examines how U.S. presidents used their rhetoric overseas to extend the United States’ global influence, expand the reach of presidential power in foreign affairs, and bolster their own image at home and abroad at a time of significant global expansion and integration. 


To schedule an interview with any of these experts, please contact Grace Hébert at or 202-534-1104. 

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion. 

For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter at @natcomm, and find us on Facebook.