UH Experts Available to Discuss 2020 Elections

From the top of the ticket to state and local races, there is a lot riding on the November elections. One key topic: Will once reliably Republican Texas continue its shift to supporting Democratic candidates? The University of Houston has experts available to make sense of what’s happening. For assistance in reaching these experts, please contact Sara Tubbs, sstubbs2@uh.edu or Jeannie Kever, jekever@uh.edu.

National and Texas Politics:

Jeremy D. Bailey, professor of political science. Bailey can address the state of the Republican Party and conservatism and the Electoral College – how it works and why we have it, as well as constitutional issues that may arise.

Jason Casellas, associate professor of political science. Casellas can discuss U.S. politics with an  emphasis on congressional races and Texas politics, as well as Latino politics. Casellas is bilingual.

Jeronimo Cortina, associate professor of political science and associate director of the Center for Mexican American Studies. Cortina specializes in American and Latino politics; he also can discuss attitudes toward immigration policy and Latino voting trends. He is bilingual.

Renée Cross, senior director and researcher at the Hobby School for Public Affairs. Cross covers Houston and Texas politics and can discuss area Congressional and legislative races, as well as trends in voting and civic engagement.

Pablo Pinto, director of the Center for Public Policy at the Hobby School for Public Affairs. Pinto can address Latino attitudes toward immigration and other issues, as well as political participation and key races to watch. He is an expert on international trade, investment and migration. He is bilingual.

Brandon Rottinghaus, professor of political science and author of Inside Texas Politics: Power, Policy and Personality of the Lone Star State. He can address the presidency, political scandal, shifting public opinion and Texas politics, specifically partisanship and polarization in presidential campaigns, changing demographics in Texas, and the balance of power in the Texas legislature. 

Elizabeth Simas, associate professor of political science. Simas focuses on U.S. politics and political behavior, including how factors beyond public policy influence voter decisions. She can also discuss gender in politics, including how both parties are targeting suburban women.

Kirk P. Watson, founding dean of the Hobby School for Public Affairs and former state senator. Watson can address Texas politics, including Democratic efforts to gain control of the Texas House of Representatives, as well as Texas congressional races and the presidential race.

Jonathan Williamson, associate dean, academic programs and faculty affairs and Michael Andrew Little Professor at the UH Honors College. Williamson can discuss polarization in the American political system, including elections, political parties and public opinion.

Historical Perspective:

Josiah Rector, assistant professor of history. Rector can talk about the history of voter suppression in the U.S., placing contemporary issues in historical context and addressing why concerns remain widespread, particularly in communities of color.

Nancy Beck Young, professor of history. Young is a political historian and an expert on the presidency, modern American politics, first ladies and Texas political history. She can discuss U.S. politics, the history of liberalism and conservatism, and the role of political spouses in campaigns and in elected office.

Social Justice:

Summer Harlow, associate professor of journalism, can talk about immigration and social media in regard to the election, recent protests over police brutality, racial injustice, xenophobia and Islamophobia. Harlow teaches a course in “Media for Social Justice: Digital Media and Activism in Latin America and Houston.”

Election Law:

Emily Berman, associate professor, UH Law Center. Berman can address constitutional and statutory rules governing the electoral college and rules about the use of the National Guard and/or the military to deal with domestic civil unrest.

U.S. Supreme Court:

Renee Knake Jefferson, Joanne and Larry Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics & Professor of Law, UH Law Center. Knake Jefferson, whose scholarship focuses on the Supreme Court, gender and law, and judicial ethics, is available to speak about the historical process for Supreme Court confirmations, especially the selection of women for the court. She can discuss the possibility of recusal for Supreme Court justices appointed by President Trump should a dispute about the election come before the court. She also can address expanding the Supreme Court. Knake Jefferson is the author of Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court.

Heath Care:

Seth Chandler, Foundation Professor of Law at the UH Law Center. Chandler specializes in constitutional law, insurance law, health law and the application of mathematics to legal analysis. 

Helen Valier, director of the Medicine and Society Program in the UH Honors College. Valier can address voter sentiments on health care and why it has been a hot button issue for decades. She can also speak to the structure of the health care system in America and the electorate’s health care literacy.


Dietrich Vollrath, professor and chair of the Department of Economics. Vollrath’s research focuses on economic growth and development. He can address current economic conditions, the debate on another round of economic relief and the economic consequences of different electoral outcomes. 

Mental Health:

John Vincent, professor and director of the Clinical Psychology Program at UH. Vincent can talk about mental health in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic and a high-stakes presidential election have converged and how to cope with fear and anxiety during these challenging times.