Demystifying US Elections in the Time of COVID-19
Monday, June 1st, 2020

On Monday, June 1st, 2020, USCET launched its first Live from Washington online series focused on the 2020 US Presidential and Congressional Elections. USCET has organized election programs since 2000, and in this critical presidential race, the program has gone virtual.

The inaugural session, Demystifying US Elections in the Time of COVID-19, featured Dr. James Thurber of American University and Dr. Stephen Wayne of Georgetown University, both prominent experts in the field of US electoral politics. An engaged audience of over 130 people tuned in from China, the US, and Europe.  The speakers provided highlights of the 2020 Presidential electoral campaign thus far and offered a roadmap of what to watch out for on the way to the general election in November. The speakers also explored the significant ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the 2020 elections and gave timely insights into how the racial tensions that have swept across the US will influence voter turnout.

Both speakers spoke to the polarization of American society and public opinion, and much more.  Dr. Thurber further characterized the political context of the 2020 election as “very unique in American history.” The speakers explained that while many Americans hope for a change of leadership, the chances of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden winning the 2020 elections against President Trump still remains uncertain. Watch the event recap video for details.

The 2020 presidential election is critical, as the outcome will not only affect Americans, but also the future of geopolitics, US-China relations, and millions of lives across the world. With the ongoing pandemic, rising racial tensions, and growing political polarization, Americans are grappling with the uncertainties and anxieties of the country’s future, as these issues will play a major role in determining who will be the next president of the United States. 

Download event resources including PowerPoints, PDFs, and more here (微云) or here (Google Drive).

Speaker Biographies

Dr. James Thurber, American University

James A. Thurber is University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder (1979) and Former Director (1979-2016) of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Affiliate Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Policy at American University, Washington, D.C. He is author or editor of numerous books and more than 90 articles and chapters on Congress, the U.S. presidency, interest groups and lobbying, and campaigns and elections.

Dr. Stephen Wayne, Georgetown University

Stephen Wayne has been a Professor of Government at Georgetown University since 1989 and a Professor of Government Emeritus since 2018. He has testified before Congress, advised both the Democratic and Republican National Committees on the presidential nomination process, and worked as a consultant on various film documentaries on the American Presidency. Dr. Wayne has also served as a consultant on presidential staffing in the United States and abroad and participated in White House transition projects. He is the author of twelve books, published in 31 editions. Six of his books focus on the Presidency.