Bliss Institute tackles state of America’s political parties at virtual conference


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Scholars from around the nation will convene to discuss the state of American politics at the State of the Parties conference being held Nov. 4-5, 2021. Since 1993, this conference has been hosted every four years following presidential elections by The University of Akron’s Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

 The 2020 election was extraordinary in historic ways. 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?

 "Americans are more polarized than ever before," said Dr. John Green, interim director of the Bliss Institute. "And some of the country's best scholars will discuss how and why."

 This year’s conference is completely virtual, with presentations by more than 50 scholars and practitioners from across the United States. Over two days, panels and poster sessions will explore the state of American party organizations, constituencies, and resources at the national, state and local level.

 Topics range from partisan polarization, the Influence of party identification on perceptions of COVID-19, democracy and disinformation, inter-party hostilities, geography of voting in the swing states, and the dynamics of women in elected office.

Visit the State of the Parties 2020 web site to see the full agenda. For more information, call Kim Haverkamp at 330-972-5182, or email at The virtual conference is free and open to the public. Register online by Oct. 22 (registration is required to receive the event link).

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or