This November marks the 59th presidential election in the United States. It has been, as commentators often say, “unprecedented.” Indeed, there have been—and surely will continue to be—newsworthy fireworks.  Some are standard-variety; some are not. All have been contentious, and some raise serious questions about the American political order.

The faculty of Hunter’s Political Science department addresses many of the issues raised in the 2020 elections every day, in their classes and research. Now, in a Roosevelt House forum, five of them offer their professional judgments. They will provide information, analysis, perspective, and educated judgment about what is going on and what may occur between now and January 20, 2021. They will make brief individual presentations, after which there will be an opportunity for exchanges between the panelists and the audience.

The panel and forum will be introduced and moderated by Professor John R. Wallach.

Issue areas to be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • The Supreme Court: What are we to make of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, including its timing relative to a presidential election? What may be the role of the Supreme Court in selecting the next President after this election, which it did in 2000?
  • Immigration: What have been the policies of Donald Trump? What are Joe Biden’s views on immigration? What role do immigration-issues play in swing states?
  • Racism: What role is it playing in this election?
  • Climate Change Policy: Trump’s and Biden’s positions on climate policy will be discussed, along with how legal, institutional, and economic constraints are likely to affect U.S. climate policy during the next four years.
  • Election Forecasting: How does the economy affect elections? What other factors help us understand election outcomes? Is this election all about the pandemic?


The principal speakers are well-known for their knowledge about these areas—whether by their teaching, publications, or both.  In alphabetical order, they are:

Erin Mayo-Adam (The Supreme Court)

Assistant Professor of Political Science Department at Hunter College, and a Faculty Associate at Hunter’s Public Policy and Human Rights programs at Roosevelt House. Her book, Queer Alliances: How Power Shapes Political Movement Formation (Stanford, 2020), focuses on the problem of building alliances across and within rights-based minority movements in struggles to overcome inequality and oppression.


Lina Newton (Immigration)

Professor of Political Science at Hunter College. She is the author of Illegal, Alien, or Immigrant: The Politics of Immigration Reform (NYU Press, 2008). Her work on immigration policy, American federalism, and the rise of intergovernmental conflict in the states has appeared in several scholarly journals, most recently in Publius: The Journal of Federalism (2020) and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2018).  Professor Newton is a member of the Hunter College Public Policy Program Faculty Committee at Roosevelt House.


Sanford F. Schram (Racism and American Politics)

Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center.  He is co-author with Richard Fording of the new book, Hard White: The Mainstreaming of Racism in American Politics (Oxford 2020).  Professor Schram serves on the Faculty Committee of the Hunter College Public Policy Program at Roosevelt House.


Roger Karapin (Climate Change)

Professor of Political Science at Hunter College. His book, Political Opportunities for Climate Policy: California, New York, and the Federal Government (Cambridge University Press) won the 2018 Caldwell Prize, awarded by the American Political Science Association for the year’s best book on environmental politics and policy.


Charles Tien (Election Forecasting)

Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. A Fulbright Scholar, he is the current co-editor of both Polity and the “Politics Symposium on Forecasting the 2020 Elections” in PS: Political Science and Politics, which can be viewed at:


John R. Wallach (Moderator)

Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. A political theorist, his special interests include democratic ethics, ancient Greek political thought, the history of western political thought, and human rights. His most recent book is Democracy and Goodness: A Historicist Political Theory (Cambridge, 2018).  He was a co-founder and the first Chair of the Hunter College Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House and currently serves on its Faculty Committee.


To all our Roosevelt House participants, visitors, and guests: we are grateful and comforted to know that you remain connected to the Hunter family during this difficult moment in history.  As we work to put our programming archive at your disposal, we are also aware that some Hunter students now face daunting challenges regarding lost jobs, diminished income, pending bills, and access to computers and software that will enable them to continue their semesters through Hunter online learning.  Please consider supporting Hunter students by making a gift to the Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Fund. Thank you.
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Politics, Partisanship, and the 2020 Elections: Fresh Perspectives from Hunter’s Political Science Department | Posted on October 14th, 2020 | Public Programs