Leading expert available to comment on American politics

Matthew Lebo

While there’s never a dull moment in American politics, this is an exceptionally busy week with the Iowa caucuses, the State of the Union Address, the next Democratic Party presidential debate and the ongoing impeachment trial all happening over the next five days.

Matthew Lebo, the Chair of Western University’s Department of Political Science, is available to comment on these happenings and everything else as the United States counts down to the 2020 presidential election in November.

Lebo, who previously served as Chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of the Center for Behavioral Political Economy at Stony Brook University (New York), is an expert on political parties, Congress, the presidency and elections.

His book on the state of party politics in the United States, Strategic Party Government: Why Winning Trumps Ideology, written with Greg Koger, was published in 2017.

Lebo says:

On President Trump:

“Even while the Senate is debating his possible removal from office, President Trump is in a decent position for re-election in November. Now that we are in an election year, voters’ partisanship increasingly becomes the most important factor. Although some Republican and Republican-leaning voters may be unhappy with the president, the nearer the election gets the more they will think about their choice as ‘us vs. them.’ So with an approval rating of 43 per cent and an economy that’s in pretty good shape, the 46 per cent of the vote that was enough to elect President Trump in 2016 looks reachable again. It is going to be a very close election.”

On the Democratic candidates:

“Once the Iowa caucuses begin, things will change quickly in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. The early contests of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are keys to voters, activists, and donators deciding on which candidate to support. The majority of Democratic primary voters are either undecided or not attached too strongly to their first choice. As results come in, momentum becomes crucial as voters will quickly move to candidates that look like winners. Who will that be? Many months in, it is somewhat surprising to see former Vice President Biden’s support remain strong. So long as both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren remain in the race, they will split the votes of more liberal voters and make Biden’s path to victory easier. That is, the order in which candidates drop out will also help determine the winner.”

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.

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