America Decides 2020: Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute series

9 October 2020

Confused about the US presidential election? Starting on Monday and leading up to the election and beyond, Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute (RAI) is offering America Decides: 2020, a series of online events and talks, bringing together leading commentators, political insiders and academics from both sides of the Atlantic.

The series will cover the critical issues and provide credible, reasoned discussion around what is an extremely hotly-contested race for the White House.

‘This looks to be the most consequential presidential election for many decades, and it’s taking place during the most extraordinarily turbulent and uncertain circumstances. I’m delighted that thanks to generous support from the US Embassy, we’ve been able to bring together some of the sharpest minds to offer insight into what’s happening and why,’ says US political historian, Professor Adam Smith, the RAI Director.

America Decides kicks off at 5pm on 12 October with The 2020 Presidential Election: Who’s winning? The hour-long event will look at what is really happening in the US election: who is up and who is down, what is happening with early voting and those presidential debates.

Chaired by Professor Smith, it promises to be an evening of insightful analysis. Panellists include David Wasserman, House Editor for the Cook Political Report, Samara Klar, Associate Professor in Politics from the University of Arizona, and legendary New York Times journalist Thomas Edsall.

With calls for racial justice reverberating across the US – and the world – the next event in the series [26 October] considers the impact of race on the election. The panel will include Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Wesley Lowery.

On 2 November, the eve of the election, you will be able to hear from young Oxford academics researching women’s issues, sport and the presidency, African foreign policy, trade and the ‘revolution of 1800’ and how this research connects with the current presidential race.

After the election, the series continues with a review of the result on 4 November and concludes on 16 November with analysis of what the 2020 presidency means for the US and the world. Speakers will include Lord Darroch of Kew, the former British Ambassador to the United States during the Trump presidency, and Amy Pope, a national security official in the Obama Administration.

Notes for Editors

1. Professor Adam Smith is director of Oxford's Rothermere American Institute and the Edward Orsborn Professor Professor of US Politics and Political History.
2. These events are open to all, via Zoom.
3. More information, including links to register and full panel details, can be found at
For any queries, please contact Dr Mitchell Robertson or