Up close, Inauguration Day 2021 looked like any other—the chief justice of the US Supreme Court administering the oath of office to the new president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. But pull the lens back and this was anything but a typical election and transition of power. In A Return to Normalcy?, Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and J. Miles Coleman bring together respected journalists, analysts, and scholars to examine every facet of the stunning 2020 election and its aftermath, and how these events will impact American politics moving forward. In frank, accessible prose, each author offers insight that goes beyond the headlines and dives into the underlying forces and shifts that drove the election from its earliest developments to its chaotic conclusion. A Return to Normalcy? is an indispensable read for political junkies and all students of American politics.
Larry J. Sabato is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and director of its Center for Politics. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books on American politics and elections.
Kyle Kondik is the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the Center’s nonpartisan newsletter on American campaigns and elections.
J. Miles Coleman is associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ nonpartisan newsletter on American campaigns and elections.
About the Authors
Chapter 1: Larry J. Sabato: A Return to Normalcy? Taking Stock at the End of the Trump Presidency
Chapter 2: Rhodes Cook: The Off-Kilter Presidential Primaries of 2020
Chapter 3: David Byler: Was Joe Biden’s Primary Win Inevitable Or Accidental?
Chapter 4: Alan Abramowitz: The Politics of Good Versus Evil in a Polarized America
Chapter 5: J. Miles Coleman: A Political Road Trip Across the Country: Presidential Trends in Some Swingy, And Not-So Swingy, States
Chapter 6: Kyle Kondik: The House: A Blue Wave Reduced to a Blue Trickle
Chapter 7: Madelaine Pisani: The Senate: How Democrats Found the Most Difficult Path to a Majority
Chapter 8: Mary Frances McGowan: Governors and State Legislatures: Republicans Retain Strength as Redistricting Looms
Chapter 9: Theodore R. Johnson: Parties, Presidents, and the Black Electorate’s Gender Gap
Chapter 10: Diana Owen: Media Coverage of the 2020 Election: Journalists and Influencers in the Misinformation Age
Chapter 11: Grace Panetta: Defending Democracy During a Pandemic
Chapter 12: Michael Toner/Karen Trainer: The $14 Billion Election: Emerging Campaign Finance Trends and Their Impact on the 2020 Presidential Race and Beyond
Chapter 13: Sean Trende: Was Trump Worth It for Republicans?
The 2020 election was, by any metric, the most controversial in U.S. history. Donald Trump’s long-running rhetoric espousing the false notion of election irregularities culminated in a violent, deadly insurrection in Washington, DC, marking the first time the country did not have a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. With the dust just barely settled, veteran political analyst Sabato and a stellar coterie of reporters, pundits, and scholars from the University of Virginia Center for Politics gets first-out-of-the-gate status as they try to make sense of all that went on in the months leading up to and in the aftermath of this unprecedented election cycle. Why were some down-ballot victories unexpected? How did social media messaging influence voter turnout? From demographic patterns to pandemic-delayed primaries, from bitter political divides to profligate super PAC spending, Sabato and company parse the 2020 election via a data-driven set of analytics displayed in useful charts and graphs, drawing conclusions that will satisfy hard-core political junkies and provide a solid foundation for everyone looking ahead to 2022 and 2024.