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  • U.S. Elections Insights

  • A national election—especially a presidential election—raises important policy questions and priorities, debated by the candidates, discussed by voters and enacted by the new administration. More taxes or fewer? Embrace immigration or resist it? Pro-business or pro-environment? Free-market versus government regulation? The list goes on and on.

    In every corner of the Maxwell School are experts on these topics. Presented below are clips featuring Maxwell faculty speaking to various aspects of U.S. presidential elections.

  • Reeher discusses Biden's debate strategy in The Hill

    "I think the main thing for Biden at this point is to simply show up and get through the event without a major breakdown of some kind," says Professor Grant Reeher. Most viewers are already locked in with their preferred candidate, Reeher says. "They’re just watching to see the show, or to root on their team, or to see a train wreck, and not to try to figure something out." Read more in The Hill article, "Biden's debate strategy is to let Trump be Trump."



    Stonecash provides insight on understanding the election in NY Times

    To understand the election, Jeffrey Stonecash says, we should be asking "about what values and ideas are driving polarization and which groups embrace some ideas rather than others." At the moment, he argues, Americans seems intensely divided by the question: "What defines America: is it a set of people (white, Christian) or is it a set of ideals that anyone can come and achieve. To the former immigrants are an alien threat and dangerous (as it has always been in American history). What value should prevail: individual rights and anti-government beliefs or is there a collective interest that sometimes requires some constraints on individuals?" Read more in the New York Times article, "Biden Is Not Out of the Woods."



    Cohen piece on critical race theory, US election published in El País

    "With immigration halted and immigrants who remain forced to live in terror, Trump is now delivering to his followers the next phase of his war, in which his targets are the US citizens who have long been forced to the margins of their own country," says Professor Elizabeth Cohen and co-author Jason Stanley of Yale University. "Both the 2016 campaign and the 2020 campaign are celebrations of white nationalism. Both campaigns were about race all along." Their article, "Critical race theory and the 2020 US election," was published in El País.



    Reeher discusses Biden-Trump competing town halls in USA Today

    Professor Grant Reeher says that Trump could be looking to recover after being largely criticized for his performance in the first presidential debate last month, where the candidates traded insults and crosstalk clogged much of the conversation. "I think there's more pressure on (Trump) to remedy that in terms of the way he comes across in this event," Reeher says. Read more in the USA Today article, "Here's what to know about the Joe Biden, Donald Trump competing town halls tonight."



    Reeher speaks to VOA about why the VP is important this election

    Professor Grant Reeher was interviewed by VOA Korea for a segment on why the vice president is significant for the 2020 election. Reeher cites the ages of the presidential candidates and President Trump's health issues. His comments begin at 2:50.



    Reeher weighs in on Trump's impact on Katko's campaign in The Citizen

    "Trump has become a millstone around Katko's neck," says Professor Grant Reeher. "Clearly the main campaign strategy of the Balter campaign is to associate Katko with Trump as much as possible. In this regard, the president's performance in the first debate probably hurt Katko by proxy," he says. Read more in the The Citizen article, "How Biden and Trump are helping (or hurting) Balter and Katko in CNY race for Congress."



    Banks expresses concern about election aftermath in Spectrum article

    "On a scale of one to 10, I’d say my worry is about a nine," says Professor Emeritus William Banks. "There are several plausible scenarios that could cause this election to go off the rails." Banks explains that if neither candidate gets to 270 electoral votes, the election would be decided by the House of Representatives. "On January 6, they’re supposed to count the votes. If neither candidate has 270 votes because of the circumstances you just described, there will be 1 vote per state, so 50 potential votes," he says. Each state would determine which candidate had won their electoral votes and they would pass that information along to the House. Read more in the Spectrum News article, "Trump, The Blue Shift, and The Legal Aftermath."



    Thompson discusses impact of Trump's health with CNY Central, KPCC

    "This is unusual in that it's part of a larger national story, it's not simply a story that a particular individual has contracted or a condition that a particular president has contracted. Its part of a pandemic," Margaret Susan Thompson tells CNY Central. If the president's condition worsens to the point where his presidential authority needs to be transferred to Vice President Mike Pence, it will have a major impact on the upcoming election, she says. "If he becomes seriously ill obviously it will have an impact." Thompson was also interviewed on KPCC's "AirTalk."



    Gadarian speaks to FiveThirtyEight, WAER about Trump's diagnosis

    "Attitudes and behaviors around COVID-19 have become really concrete at this point — it will take a lot to move them in a significant, lasting way," Shana Gadarian, associate professor of political science, told FiveThirtyEight. She also spoke to WAER about the impact of President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis.



    Lovely quoted in Washington Times article on Trump, Biden and trade

    "I would just say an important difference between Biden and Trump, when the smoke clears, is that Biden wants to work with the allies," says Professor Mary Lovely. She was quoted in the Washington Times article, "Trump bets on trade issues as Biden struggles to find footing."



    Reeher discusses the media's treatment of Trump in The Hill

    "I am not suggesting the media is behaving in the way the president describes or that the media is making anything up or knowingly reporting anything that is false," says Professor Grant Reeher. "But I do think it is also clear, after almost four years of his presidency, that editorial choices — about story selection, story framing and also, in particular, choices of headline — are very clearly very critical of the president." Reeher was interviewed for The Hill article, "The Memo: Media accused of using kid-gloves on Biden."



    Lovely comments on US-China tech war in Axios article

    The torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric by the Trump administration recently has been countered by much softer actions, as the administration attempts to "thread the needle" of looking tough heading into the election while having the Chinese continue to purchase U.S. goods, says Professor Mary Lovely. "The tech issue is the big one … for the long term, but for the election it’s not at all clear to me that the tech issue is the big one," she says. Read more in the Axios article, "The tech war between the U.S. and China escalates."



    Gadarian speaks to ABC News about partisanship and people's behaviors

    "We've been talking to the same [3,000] Americans since early March, every six weeks or so," says Shana Gadarian. "We had a sense that people would vary on policy beliefs based on their partisanship. What was unexpected was the big, huge difference in health behaviors — like the change in how much they're washing their hands and whether or not they stopped going to social events and whether they were staying home more," she says. Read more in the ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) article, "Coronavirus is the 2020 US election issue. But it's not changing the way Americans see Donald Trump."



    Keck comments on priority of the Supreme Court in 2020 election in SBG

    "The Republican base has been more focused on that issue [Supreme Court] than the Democratic base has from Reagan forward, roughly," says Thomas Keck, professor of political science and Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics. "There’s some evidence that that’s shifting." Keck was interviewed for the Sinclair Broadcast Group article, "As Trump spotlights judicial nominations, Biden offers little insight on his plans."



    Popp quoted in Bloomberg article on Biden's climate plan

    Measures to fight climate change tend to destroy some jobs while creating others, says David Popp, professor of public administration and international affairs. "The literature that looks at employment effects says it’s mainly about reallocating jobs from one sector to another," he adds. Fewer coal miners, more solar installers. Popp was quoted in the Bloomberg article "Biden Succeeds in Uniting Climate People and Labor People—For Now."