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Overby Center Event: Are Centrist Politics Doomed?

At a time when American politics seem extremely polarized, a pair of prominent figures from the two major parties will discuss the prospects for more centrist views at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics’ next program Wednesday, April 3, at 5:30 p.m.

Stuart Stevens, a native Mississippian who managed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, and David Baria, a Democratic leader in the Mississippi legislature, will be guests in a conversation that will include Charles Overby, the chairman of the center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie. Both Overby and Wilkie have long experience covering national politics as journalists.

Photo provided.

“A long-held axiom is that the political center decides elections,” said Overby. “In this hyper-partisan environment, that may be changing. We will examine that question with this program.”

The event will be held in the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus. Like all Overby programs, it is free and open to the public. Arrangements have been made for parking in a lot adjacent to the auditorium, and a reception will be held afterward.

The program represents a return engagement to the Overby Center for Stevens, who has previously appeared to comment on American politics and to talk about his book, “The Last Season,” in which he wrote of accompanying his aging father to a complete season of Ole Miss football. Though a major player in national Republican circles, Stevens has become a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and his style of divisive politics.

During his tenure in the Mississippi House of Representatives, Baria, an attorney with offices in Jackson and the Gulf Coast, has become one of the Democratic Party’s most respected members in the legislature. Last year he served as the party’s nominee in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Roger Wicker.

The program will be the next-to-last on the Overby Center’s slate for the spring semester. The series will conclude April 27 with a discussion about the segregationist era by three men who graduated from Provine High School in Jackson in the 1960s — U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who now lives in San Francisco and is the author of a recently-published book, “Won Over,” Jackson attorney Danny Cupit, and Charles Overby. In his book, Alsup writes of his experiences as a child raised amid official segregation and his journey to become a civil rights advocate.

Courtesy of Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics

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