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October 09, 2020

Political science faculty to discuss what’s at stake in 2020 election

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Just when you are tired of the moniker “most important election” comes a time when the billing might actually fit.

A panel of eight political science faculty from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville will provide their expertise for the virtual discussion, “Election 2020: What's at Stake?” at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 19 to discuss the local, national and international arenas in the upcoming Nov. 3 election. 

The event is open to the public. Pre-registration is available via Zoom. A moderator will also allow time for Q&A.

Originated from E Pluribus Unum Project

Benjamin Bricker, an associate professor of political science at SIU Carbondale, said the project is an SIU System collaboration designed to enlighten students and the region on the importance of the electoral process in general and specifically, the 2020 election. Bricker is now teaching a University Honors Program class on the 2020 elections.

Bricker said the panel includes experts in presidential politics, social movement, the U.S. Supreme Court and other areas. He also anticipates the first debate between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Former Vice President Joe Biden will be part of the discussion “due to the tenor of the debate and the president’s behavior.”

The panelists are:

  • Benjamin Bricker, assistant professor, SIU Carbondale.
  • Scott Comparato, associate professor, SIU Carbondale.
  • Tobin Grant, professor and department chair, SIU Carbondale.
  • Virginia Tilley, professor, SIU Carbondale.
  • Ken Moffett, professor and department chair, SIU Edwardsville.
  • Laurie Rice, professor, SIU Edwardsville.
  • Andy Theising, professor, SIU Edwardsville.
  • Sophia Wilson, associate professor, SIU Edwardsville.

‘Testing moment’ for American democracy

Bricker said 2020 is a year where the “most important election” label truly fits. The nation, he said, is going through four crises:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 210,000 people so far.
  • Sudden loss of jobs unseen at any time in modern history.
  • Racial injustice issues.
  • Prospect of a sitting president not leaving office if he loses the election.

“We have gone through at least the first three crises before in 1920, 1932 and 1968 but not at the same time,” Bricker said. “This is a testing moment for American democracy.”

For more information, contact Karla Berry, director of SIU Carbondale’s Center for Teaching Excellence at 618-453-5493 or