Michael Nelson

Nonresident Faculty Senior Fellow

Fast Facts

  • Editor of American Presidential Elections book series
  • Expertise on political science, Richard Nixon

Areas Of Expertise

  • Governance
  • Elections
  • Federalism
  • Political Parties and Movements
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Michael Nelson is the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College. He has published multiple books, including Resilient America: Electing Nixon, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government (2014); The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776–2014, with Sidney Milkis (2015); The Presidency and the Political System, 10th ed. (2014); and The Elections of 2016 (2017). He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Politics and Political Science Quarterly and in periodicals such as Virginia Quarterly Review, the Claremont Review of Books, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Although most of his articles have been about American politics and government, he also has written about C. S. Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Charles Dickens, Garrison Keillor, football, and baseball. More than 50 of these articles have been reprinted in anthologies of political science, history, and English composition. He is editor of the American Presidential Elections book series for the University Press of Kansas and is currently writing a book about the 1992 election.

Michael Nelson News Feed

Political scientist Michael Nelson discusses his new book, Clinton's Elections: 1992, 1996, and the Birth of a New Era of Governance, with Russell Riley, co-chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program.
Michael Nelson Miller Center Presents
Professor Michael Nelson, an expert on the American presidency, joins Transition Lab to discuss the political dynamics that define a president’s first and second term. Nelson explains how new presidents can maximize their impact during their first year in office and outlines the challenges two-term presidents face during their fifth year.
Michael Nelson Transition Lab Podcast
Brilliant. Brave. Charismatic. That was Nathan Bedford Forrest. Cruel. Racist. Treasonous. That was Nathan Bedford Forrest, too. It’s just a few days until the Tennessee Capitol Commission meets on February 20 to decide whether to begin the process of moving Forrest’s bust out of the state capitol building in Nashville. If it votes to recommend removal, the matter will end up in the hands of the Tennessee Historical Commission, where a two-thirds vote to take out the bust would be required.
Michael Nelson History News Network
“If you look at what people historically have considered to be acceptable characteristics of their presidents, in terms of ­social characteristics — white, male, married, Christians, neither too young nor too old — those categories have all been shattered,” said Michael Nelson, a political scientist who teaches at Rhodes College. “Not that we’ve elected a woman, but a woman has made it to the finals. The same might be true of sexual orientation.”
Michael Nelson The Washington Post
Michael Nelson, an editor of a book of essays on the Bush presidency called “41,” said the Horton episode led to far more overt plays to race in American politics, all the way up to President Trump. “In some ways, the Willie Horton ad is the 1.0 version of Trump’s relentless tweets and comments about African-Americans,” he said.
Michael Nelson The New York Times
Political science professor Mike Nelson assesses the first year of the Trump presidency.
Michael Nelson C-SPAN