Over the next week, we will be publishing five articles from a seminar on the 2020 election and its aftereffects. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University is an academic and public forum dedicated to strengthening global democracy. In December, it held an academic seminar, hosted by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), where distinguished social scientists spoke about what had just happened. Five of these scholars wrote short essays, updating them to take account of recent events, which will be published over the next five days. We’re grateful to SNF Agora for supporting this series of publications. Here are the authors — and what they have to say.
Hahrie Han is professor of political science and inaugural director of the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins. Liz McKenna is a postdoctoral scholar at the SNF Agora Institute and received her PhD in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2019. Their essay looks at how the Democratic Party is changing on the ground, and how the work of nonparty groups in Arizona may point to a different future for the party.
Rashawn Ray is the David M. Rubenstein fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and professor of sociology and executive director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland at College Park. His essay explains the emerging power of the Black electoral bloc in states such as Georgia, how the Biden administration is responding now, and how it may respond in future.
Lee Drutman is senior fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America and author of the recent book, “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America.” In his essay, he looks at how high turnout and democratic fragility went hand-in-hand in the 2020 election and its aftermath, and how a different approach to elections might increase turnout while making democracy stronger.
Frances Lee is professor of politics and public affairs and associate chair of the Department of Politics, Princeton University. She asks why the 2020 election was closer than many expected, and shows how it illustrates the remarkable stability of modern American politics — the country is still closely divided despite all the tumult of the past four years.
David Brady is the Davies family senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, as well as the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy professor of political science in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.Brett Parker is a JD/PhD student and Stanford University and a research assistant at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. They argue that Joe Biden won because a key segment of voters wanted to repudiate Trump and because some Republicans were worried about the coronavirus, allowing Biden to attract enough Republicans and independents to win.
This is the introduction to a seminar on the 2020 election and its aftereffects organized by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. See below for the complete list of contributions to the seminar.
Rashawn Ray: Black voters helped Biden get elected. His presidency will be defined by how he acts on racial equity.
Hahrie Han and Liz McKenna: To learn about the Democratic Party’s future, look at what Latino organizers did in Arizona.
Frances Lee: Democrats underperformed their expectations in 2020. That’s not surprising, considering where the country is.