Partisanship v. Pandemic: Common Enemy, Disjointed Response

WED, JUL 29, 2020

Times of crisis require governments to cooperate and coordinate large-scale responses. Yet Congress and the President are inherently partisan actors in a federal system — negotiating the competing pressures of obtaining concrete results for constituents, but not being seen as too accommodating of political rivals.

What are the main political takeaways from legislating in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic? How have motives of major actors shifted or changed and how has this impacted the federal response? Does President Trump still dominate the GOP? Also, what electoral outcomes might we see in November, given what current polling, favorability ratings and climbing COVID cases and deaths tell us?

This Suffolk University lecture series, presented with the Ford Hall Forum and WGBH Forum Network, is designed as a broad examination of the themes of interest to political scientists and public policy experts. The series is part of a novel online course offered to incoming Suffolk students and made available to the public.

+ BIO: Julia Azari

Prof. Julia Azari is Associate Professor and Assistant Chair in the Department of Political Science at Marquette University. She holds Ph.D., M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in political science from Yale University, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research and teaching interests include the American presidency, American political parties, the politics of the American state, and qualitative research methods. Her research has been supported by the Marquette University Regular Research Grant, the Harry Middleton Fellowship in Presidential Studies, the Gerald Ford Presidential Library Foundation Travel Grant, and the Harry Truman Library Institute Scholars Award.

Prof. Azari is a regular contributor at the political science blog The Mischiefs of Faction. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog and in Politico.

+ BIO: Brian Conley

Brian Conley is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the program director of Applied Politics and Global Public Policy at Suffolk University.

+ BIO: Sarah Binder

Sarah Binder is a professor of political science at George Washington University and a
senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, specializing in Congress and legislative

She is most recently the co-author with Mark Spindel of The Myth of Independence: How
Congress Governs the Federal Reserve (Princeton University Press 2017), which was
awarded the Richard F. Fenno Jr. Prize for the best book published in legislative politics
in 2017 and the Gladys Kammerer Award for the best book published in 2017 on U.S.
national policy. Her earlier books include Minority Rights, Majority Rule: Partisanship
and the Development of Congress (Cambridge University Press 1997); with Steven S.
Smith, Politics or Principle? Filibustering in the United States Senate (Brookings
Institution Press 1997); Stalemate: Causes and Consequences of Legislative Gridlock
(Brookings Institution Press, 2003) (awarded the Richard F. Fenno Jr. Prize) and with
Forrest Maltzman, Advice and Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary
(Brookings Institution Press 2009). Her work has also appeared in the American Political
Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, the American Journal of Political Science, and

Binder was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015. She is also a
political science editor at The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, a former co-editor
of Legislative Studies Quarterly, and serves as president of the Midwest Political Science
Association (2019-20).

Binder received her B.A. from Yale University in 1986 and her Ph.D. in political science
from the University of Minnesota in 1995. She joined Brookings in 1995 and George
Washington University in 1999.


Ford Hall Forum
Politics In The Time Of Global Pandemic