At a time when American politics seem hopelessly polarized, a pair of prominent figures from the two major parties discussed the prospects for more centrist views at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics’ program in April.
Stuart Stevens, a native Mississippian who managed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, and David Baria, a Democratic leader in the Mississippi legislature, were guests in a conversation that included Charles Overby, the chairman of the center, and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie. Both Overby and Wilkie have long experience covering national politics as journalists.
The event was held in the Overby Center Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus. Like all Overby programs, was free and open to the public.
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.