Published: 27 October 2020

Department of Politics hosts upcoming US election plenary

On the eve of the 2020 US election, the Department of Politics is delighted to present this timely online plenary with a range of high-profile guests, as well as members from the Department itself, who’ll be exploring the domestic and foreign policy implications of the election, and its possible consequences.

The event will be held on Tuesday 3 November from 5-6 pm and will be chaired by Professor Amelia Hadfield.

Panel members include:

  • Amy Pope, Deputy Advisor to President Obama. Amy will be discussing: The US Election 2020: Highs, Lows and Everything In Between
  • Stephen Fidler, London Bureau Chief at the Wall Street Journal. Stephen will be discussing: The Role of the Media
  • Dr Jamie Shea, Visiting Professor, University of Surrey, is focusing on: Biden vs Trump: Transatlantic Implications
  • Dr Ciaran Gillespie, Department of Politics, will be exploring: Trump vs. Trumpism

The future of American democracy?

Regarding the event, Dr Nicholas Kitchen, Lecturer in International Relations and Co-Director of the Centre for International Intervention, gave his insights on the upcoming election: “Why are people saying this will be the most significant US election in generations? Not just because the outcome will impact America’s constitutional order in ways that will fundamentally alter and shape the rights of its citizens and determine which of them have a voice in American democracy.

“It matters for all the column inches devoted to the rise of China and the decline of American power. How the United States behaves remains the single most important determinant of international cooperation and whether that will be able to address the health and economic challenges of the pandemic. There are also the security challenges of building a new nuclear order and regimes to govern cyber and outer space. And the question of whether humanity will be able to address climate change, or if the coming decades will mark the beginning of the sixth mass extinction event on this planet.”

Dr Ciaran Gillespie, who will be discussing ‘Trump vs Trumpism’ at the plenary, added: “One of the things I found most interesting about this year’s presidential election was the absence of foreign policy discussion. It was given just 12 minutes in debate, which – to put it into perspective – is less than a minute per second that it takes to read these two sentences!”

A boost for transatlantic relations?

Dr Jamie Shea, who will be discussing ‘Biden vs Trump: Transatlantic Implications’ at the plenary, commented: “Many Europeans are hoping that a Biden victory will put the clock back to a golden age of transatlantic relations pre-Trump. But they should be careful and look to history. That age never existed.

“Every US presidency, Republican or Democrat, has brought a mixture of good and bad for Europe, depending on the country and the issue. Tensions, disagreements and anxiety about the future are as much part of the transatlantic relationship as talk of common values and standing together against threats.

“So, while Europeans hope for more calm and more engagement, they should keep an eye on the longer-term trends that are shaping America’s role in the world. They might think that a Biden victory would be a good pretext to slow down their efforts to invest in their own defence or develop their own common foreign policy. But they’d be making a grave mistake.”

We look forward to welcoming you to what will be an extremely interesting plenary – to sign up, please register through Eventbrite.

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