Political science faculty members discuss key topics for upcoming election

By Janae Mosby, Staff Reporter

Eight political science professors from SIU Carbondale and Edwardsville held a virtual discussion on Oct. 19 to discuss the upcoming election.

The panel consisted of four professors from SIU, associate professor Benjamin Bricker, associate professor Scott Comparato, professor and department chair Tobin Grant and professor Virginia Tilley.

It also consisted of four professors from Edwardsville, professor and department chair Ken Moffett, professor Laurie Rice, professor Andy Theising and associate professor Sophia Wilson.


The panel discussed foreign affairs, Congress and the Supreme Court.

The seminar started by discussing the polls of this election. Polls have shown Joe Biden is in the lead, but polls have also shown that most Americans think that Donald Trump will win.

Rice said these polls are similar to the ones during the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

“The first thing we need to realize is that polls aren’t designed to predict the outcome, they are designed to show us where the race is at any particular point,” Grant said.

In this election, Biden is up by nine percentage points and, in the competitive states, Biden is up by six percentage points in Pennsylvania, seven points in Michigan and eight points in Wisconsin, Grant said.

“The election polls were not bad last time and if things break in a similar way this time we should see Biden win the election, unless something happens between now and election day,” Grant said.

The panel also discussed why foreign policies should be covered more in this election.


 The president has more power when it comes to directing foreign affairs than domestic affairs, Rice said.

“While some presidents have supported an active role in foreign affairs, others like President Trump have promoted more of an isolationism strategy,” Rice said.

Tilley went into more detail about the isolationism strategy that has been used by President Trump.

“This has been a long standing controversy in American politics, it goes way back through the 20th century,” Tilley said.

It has been President Trump’s view that an America first position is going to help the United States and that is not going to happen, Tilley said.

President Trump views jobs abroad as being jobs lost for the United States. His approach was to put tariffs on China. 

The results of these tariffs have had a negative impact on lower income people because the cost has amounted to $800-1,000 per consumer, Tilley said.

“There are several other areas in which President Trump’s policies are having this effect, the loss of US prestige abroad and treaties broken,” Tilley said.

The global opinion of the United States is low and this means that other countries will cooperate with the US less on global interests.

“The impact of all of this is going to hit in the next few years and somebody is going to be left holding these pieces. It is going to take a few years to repair it,” Tilley said.

Congress has become more diverse in the last couple of years than it has been before. Moffett discussed the benefits of this diversity and the implications it has.

“Congress is more diverse now than it has ever been before, which is striking considering how overwhelmingly white and male Congress is now relative to the public at large,” Moffett said.

Some benefits that diverse legislatures bring is that minority policies interests are getting more effectively represented and articulated.

As Congress diversifies, we see more racially inclusive policies and there is more attention on civil rights and social welfare issues, Moffett said.

Theising discussed how people can get information on local elections and he encouraged people to pay attention to what is on their local ballet.

“One of the great things about getting information on local elections is that there is a lot of local media and there are plenty of media resources in all cities,” Theising said.

The last topic that was covered by the panel was the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Comparato and Bricker lead the discussion about the nomination.

Comparato said the Supreme Court is going to get significantly more conservative after Barrett’s confirmation. 

The conservatives will have a six to three majority on the Supreme Court, Comparato said.

Court packing has been discussed in the Supreme Court due to the conservative majority. Court packing is a plan to expand the Supreme Court.

Barrett’s confirmation came so close to the election and that has caused some debate.

“Democrats are upset. Their own election year nomination in 2016 was stalled purposely for a year and now this nomination is being pushed through very quickly,” Bricker said.

Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at jmosby@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

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