Och Tamale Fall 2020 - University of Redlands

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By Lilledeshan Bose

How are the pandemic, a recession, heightened political polarization, and civil unrest changing the way the United States is conducting a presidential election? And how will these issues impact its results?


here’s no denying that 2020 has been a historic year on many counts. A pandemic rages, businesses are shuttered, civil unrest erupts across the nation, and unemployment has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression almost a century ago. “Every presidential election cycle, we hear ‘This is the most critical election of our time,’” says Steve Wuhs, a political science professor and assistant provost for

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internationalization at the University of Redlands—noting this year it might be true. “We’re certainly in a moment where lots of things are happening that we didn’t think were possible,” says School of Education Professor Brian Charest. How will the confluence of today’s issues impact the November elections? U of R experts weigh in with perspectives from a variety of fields.

Campaigning during a pandemic COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way candidates interact with voters. There are few giant rallies or high-profile, in-person fundraisers. Instead, with voters homebound, candidates are sending out more mailers and buying more online ads. “They’re putting money where people are—sitting in front of their computers,” says Political Science Professor Renee Van Vechten.