The Making of the President 2020: Modern Presidential Campaigns and the Election of 2020


INSTRUCTOR: Charles Shields


SCHEDULE: Thursday, 5:00 – 7:40 PM

Course Description

The race for the presidency is the most salient and most visible political affair in the nation. Indeed, it is for many Americans their only direct interaction with the political system. The evolution of the presidential campaign cycle – which now endures for all four years of a presidential term – has coincided with powerful structural social change, especially the advent of mass popular media; the rise of the internet and social media; and the highest levels of partisan polarization ever measured. This course is dedicated to examining the day-to-day realities of the campaign for the American presidency, including its evolution and historical context, the tactics and strategies pursued by presidential campaigns, and the long-term effects of the ¿constant campaign¿ on the legitimacy and efficacy of the presidency. The course is constructed as an interdisciplinary, interpretive survey of presidential campaigns in the modern era. We will examine works from experts and observers including social scientists, journalists, historians, and campaign professionals, and readings will incorporate both contemporary analyses and classic works on presidential campaigns.