October 14, 2020

Three University faculty panelists discussed the role of the electoral college in the 2020 election and the strategies that Democrats and Republicans will use to influence voters during a webinar on Sept. 30, entitled “The 2020 White House Race and the Impact of the Electoral College.” 

Panelists at the webinar, which was hosted by the Division of University Advancement as a part of its CUOnline virtual event series, included Stephen West, associate professor of history; Prasad Senesi, professor of mathematics; and John Kenneth White, professor of politics. The event was moderated by Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Thomas Smith.

The panel featured three 10-minute presentations by each panelist followed by a question and answer session with submissions from audience members. 

West, who teaches a course entitled “Electing the President,” discussed the historic perspective of the electoral college, focusing on the structure of the Constitution and disputed elections in United States history. 

Senesi, a research specialist in voting theory and mathematical modeling, described the methods voters can use to mathematically describe the distribution of power provided to states via the apportionments of the electoral college.

White, professor of politics and a member of the Catholic University faculty since 1988, presented on the relevance of the electoral college specifically in the upcoming election and the political approaches of both candidates. White defined this election as the most important of our lifetime due to the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis, racial tension, and climate change. 

“We are facing a very important presidential election this year,” said Smith. “We have a lot of differences and divisions in our country right now, but we’re all agreed on that point. The conversations that we are having about the election often generate more heat than light. However, our faculty today have terrific presentations, and I know they’ll shed more light than heat.”

A video of the discussion is available through the Division of University Advancement website. 

— Jessica Fetrow, B.A. 2021, Marketing and Communications Intern. For more information, contact communications@cua.edu