American politics expert available to comment on U.S. presidential debate and hot topics

Matthew Lebo

The first U.S. presidential debate of 2020 is tomorrow night, exactly five weeks ahead of Election Day. Matthew Lebo — the Chair of Western University’s Department of Political Science — is available to comment on the televised showdown between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden and the possible topics to be deliberated, including the recent New York Times’ story on the president’s tax records.

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 the presidency, political parties, elections and Congress.

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:

“Presidential debates rarely move the needle in terms of voters’ preferences and this year it is likely that very few people will watch without already having chosen their favourite candidate.

“Still, the debates offer the possibility of high drama and, perhaps, provide key sound bites that will make their way into campaign commercials and speeches in the remaining weeks. The debates are a rare time when the president will be confronted by questions from an opponent rather than a deferential press. Expect both candidates to be on the attack.”

He continues:

“The New York Times story reporting that President Trump has not paid income tax in 10 of the previous 15 years is likely to be argued in the debates too. The president is calling the story ‘fake news’ and promising, again, that he might release his tax returns. But with his opponent on stage, the president will get more push-back on the issue than he is used to receiving.”

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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