Wednesday, September 2, 4:00-6:00 p.m. online via Webex

Montana State University Wonderlust will host its annual fall reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2, via WebEx featuring keynote speaker Raymond D. Strother, a nationally known political consultant.


The reception is free and open to the public, but you must register in advance. A Wonderlust membership is not required.

Register for the Fall Reception.

Upon registration confirmation, participants will receive an email with the Webex link and instructions to join the reception.


Strother’s keynote, “Those Annoying Political Television Commercials: The Evolution of Political Television,” will be followed by brief presentations, a Q&A session with fall instructors, highlights of the upcoming side trip speaker series and door prizes.

Keynote: Raymond D Strother, “Those Annoying Political Television Commercials: The Evolution of Political Television”

In his keynote address, Raymond D. Strother will discuss the evolution of the campaign message from Ike to Biden, including how the political message is crafted to solve problems and position a candidate. It is impossible this time of year to turn on a television and not be inundated by repetitious, annoying television commercials. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent promoting or trying to destroy candidates. All of the commercials look the same, but are they?

The first recorded commercials were used in the Eisenhower/Stevenson campaigns of 1952. Eisenhower hired Madison Avenue advertising specialists who used jingles and animation to win Ike’s election. From this rather simple use of television has evolved an industry of political consultants, media buyers, pollsters, targeters, fund raisers and other specialists who control the campaign message. 

The political consulting industry now has a trade association of thousands of members. Strother argues that consultants are so important that they have replaced smoke-filled rooms and political bosses. They have changed the way Democrats and Republicans are selected and elected. The political machine has rusted and been left on the side of the road and replaced by digits and video.

Bio: Raymond D Strother

Raymond D. Strother is a retired life-long political consultant, who has worked on Presidential, Vice-Presidential, Senatorial and Gubernatorial campaigns across the country and is president of the consulting firm Strother-Duffy-Strother. Clients have included presidential candidates Gary Hart and Albert Gore, and Senators Max Baucus, Lloyd Bentsen, John Stennis and Mary Landrieu. 

Previously, Mr. Strother was a reporter with the Associated Press Capitol Bureau in Baton Rouge and a partner in Weill/Strother, a public relations firm in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Strother has garnered awards for his documentaries about Senator Bentsen and U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a figure in the civil rights movement. Strother has been named to the LSU Journalism Hall of Fame, the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame, and to the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. He is a former president and chairman of the board of the American Association of Political Consultants. Strother was a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and was named a fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.

He was written essays for the Atlanta Constitution, The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post and has been called "the poet of democracy." 

Strother penned a novel, “Cottonwood,” the story of a dishonest political consultant. His autobiography is entitled “Falling Up, How a Redneck Helped Invent Political Consulting.”