State of the Parties: 2020 and Beyond Virtual Conference

November 4 - 5, 2021

The 2020 presidential election was extraordinary: waged under pandemic conditions, it produced a dramatic increase in voter turnout, many close contests, and a tenuous one-party control of the federal government.

What role did political parties play in these events? How did the party organizations fare? What are the implications for the future? Scholars and practitioners from throughout the United States will explore the state of American party organizations, constituencies and resources at the national, state and local level.


Please note the times listed on the schedule are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Conference papers will be linked to the schedule as they are received.

10:00 - 11:45 a.m. (EDT) - The Public and Partisan Polarization

Moderator: John Green, The University of Akron

  • Peak Polarization: Ideological Division, Inter-Party Hostility and the Future of American Democracy
    Alan I. Abramowitz
    , Emory University | Download Paper
  • #Polarized2020: Division and Duress in Partisan Perceptions of COVID-19
    Eric C. Vorst, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Thomas Leath, Lindenwood University | Download Paper and Appendix
  • The Influence of Party ID on COVID-19 Messaging
    Lara Wessel, Georgia Southern University | Download Paper
  • Political Identity and Beliefs about Stolen Elections in the American Electorate
    David C. Kimball, Anita Manion, and Adriano Udani, University of Missouri-St. Louis | Download Paper

12:00 - 1:45 p.m. (EDT) - Party Nominations

Moderator: David Cohen, The University of Akron

  • The Consequences of Changing Primary Participation Laws for Party Registration and Partisanship
    Barbara Norrander, University of Arizona, and Jay Wendland, Daemen College | Download Paper
  • The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Changing Electoral Rules in the 2020 Presidential Nomination
    Caitlin E. Jewitt, Virginia Tech, and Gregory Shufeldt, University of Indianapolis | Download Paper
  • U.S. Primary Election Competitiveness 2010-2020
    Chapman Rackaway, Radford University | Download Paper
  • What do the 2020 Congressional Primaries Tell Us About the Direction of the Democratic and Republican Parties?
    Robert G. Boatright, Clark University | Download Paper

2:00 - 3:45 p.m. (EDT) - State of the Parties

Moderator: John Green, The University of Akron

  • The 2020 Elections and Beyond: An Era of Unstable Majorities Continues
    Morris P. Fiorina, Stanford University | Download Paper
  • The Public versus the Activists: Party Structure in Modern American Politics
    Byron Shafer, University of Wisconsin, and Regina Wagner, University of Alabama | Download Paper
  • The Grand New Party: The Republican Party in an Era of Change
    Brian J. Brox, Tulane University
  • Support for Ranked Choice Voting and Partisanship of Voters: Results from a National Survey Experiment
    Joseph Anthony, Oklahoma State University, David C. Kimball, University of Missouri St. Louis, Jamil Scott, Georgetown University, and Jack Santucci, Drexel University | Download Paper

    4:00 - 5:45 p.m. (EDT) - Geography and Partisan Polarization

    Moderator: Ken Miller, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    • State-Level Elected Officials, National Party Organizations, and Partisan Polarization in 2020
      Anthony Sparacino, University of Richmond | Download Paper
    • The Rise of the Unaffiliated Registered Voter in North Carolina
      Michael Bitzer, Catawba College, Christopher Cooper, Western Carolina University, Whitney Ross Manzo, Meredith College, and Susan Roberts, Davidson College | Download Paper
    • Blue Metros, Red States: The Geography of the 2020 Vote in the Swing States
      David F. Damore, Robert E. Lang, and Karen A. Danielsen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Download Paper
    • Turning the Natural State Red: The Rise of the GOP in Arkansas
      John Davis, University of Arkansas at Monticello | Download Paper

    10:00 - 11:45 a.m. (EDT) - Trumping the Party?

    Moderator: Matthew Akers, The University of Akron

    • From Tea Party to Trump Party
      Ronald B. Rapoport and Henry Crossman, William and Mary | Download Paper
    • Democracy and Disinformation: Trump, the Republican Party and the 2020 Election
      Brian Conley, Suffolk University | Download Paper
    • The Divided Republicans: How the ‘Paranoid Style’ is Re-Shaping Party Politics
      Peter L. Francia, East Carolina University
    • Riot in the Party: Voter Registrations Following the January 6, 2021 Capitol Insurrection
      Daniel A. Smith and Sarah Loving, University of Florida | Download Paper

    12:00 - 1:45 p.m. (EDT) - Partisanship and Identity Politics

    Moderator: Mitchell McKinney, The University of Akron

    • Strategic Primordialism: How Political Parties Organize Identity Politics
      Shaheen Mozaffar, Bridgewater State University | Download Paper
    • Party Factions Among the Voters
      Stephen K. Medvic and Berwood A. Yost, Franklin & Marshall College |Download Paper and Appendix
    • Orwell’s Collapse: Partisan Polarization and Its Effect on Language Use
      Jakob A. Miller, Taylor University | Download Paper
    • The Partisan Dynamics of Women in Elective Office: 2020 and Beyond
      Laurel Elder, Hartwick College | Download Paper

    2:00 - 3:45 p.m. (EDT) - Party Resources

    Moderator: Stephen Brooks, The University of Akron

    • Super PACs as a New Source of Gender Inequality in Congressional Elections
      Paul S. Herrnson, University of Connecticut and Jennifer Heerwig, Stoney Brook University | Download Paper
      • The Contribution Conundrum of Republican Female Congressional Donors
        Anne Baker, Santa Clara University, and Monica Schneider, Miami University of Ohio | Download Paper
      • Empty Seats, Political Imbalance, and Partisan Asymmetry at the Federal Election Commission
        Karen Sebold, University of Arkansas | Download Paper
      • American Party Politics: Organizational Asymmetry and Raising Stakes in the Competition for Votes Cast Abroad
        Anca Turcu, University of Central Florida | Download Paper

      4:00 - 5:45 p.m. (EDT) - Party Activities

      Moderator: John Green, The University of Akron

      • State Party Organizations, Independent Expenditures, and Spending Strategies
        Jaclyn J. Kettler, Boise State University, Charles R. Hunt, Boise State University, Michael J. Malbin, University of Albany-SUNY, Brendan Glavin, The Campaign Finance Institute, and Keith E. Hamm, Rice University |Download Paper
      • Nationalized Spending in the 2020 House and Senate Campaigns
        Kenneth M. Miller, University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Download Paper
      • Are Super PACs Super-Efficient? Independent Expenditures in House Elections
        Dante J. Scala, University of New Hampshire | Download Paper
      • The Ground Game in 2020
        Paul A. Beck, The Ohio State University | Download Paper

      Download the schedule


      • Registration for the conference is closed

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      Contact: Kim Haverkamp
      Phone: 330-972-5182