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The year 2020 will remain in the American conscience as the year of two major challenges: the COVID virus and the BIG Lie undermining voter confidence in the 2020 election results. Both were fraught with polarized thinking and positions. It is not partisan to declare that there was no voter fraud. Every election expert whether Republican or Democrat, plus the various Courts ruled the elections were properly conducted. What could be more clear? Yet, millions of Americans deny the results of the presidential election including some in Congress. What does this mean for the future of Democracy? Can America get back on track and what will it take?

Larry M. Bartels holds the May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science at Vanderbilt University. His scholarship and teaching focus broadly on American democracy, including public opinion, electoral politics, public policy, and political representation. His most recent books are Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age (2nd ed.) and Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government (with Christopher Achen). He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and of occasional pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Salon, and other media outlets. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.


Susan Herbst, discussant/moderator, is University Professor of Political Science and President Emeritus at the University of Connecticut. Herbst served as the 15th President of the University of Connecticut from 2011 to 2019, and returned to the faculty of Political Science in 2019.  Prior to her appointment to the presidency, Herbst served as provost, dean and department chair at multiple universities across the nation. Born in New York City and raised in Peekskill, N.Y., she received her B.A. in Political Science from Duke University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.  Herbst joined Northwestern University as an assistant professor in 1989 and remained there until 2003.  She is a scholar of public opinion, media, and American politics.  Her new book, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press is A Troubled Birth:  The 1930s and American Public Opinion.