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‘Trump is creating chaos for his party’ expert says

Northwestern professors weigh in on the Georgia Senate runoff races

EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern University law, history and political science professors are available to comment on the Jan. 5 Georgia Senate runoff elections, as well as President Trump’s call to the state’s election officials. 

Brett Gadsden is associate professor of history. His teaching and research interests are in the fields of political and policy history and African Diaspora history, with a focus on 20th-century African American history. He is the author of “Between North and South: Delaware, Desegregation, and the Myth of American Sectionalism” and is currently working on a book titled “From Protest to Politics: The Making of a ‘Second Black Cabinet.’” He can be reached at

Quote from Professor Gadsden
“In his recent call to Georgia state election officials, President Trump has demonstrated his disregard and disdain for American democratic traditions in ways that are unprecedented. 

“American conservatives have always been ambivalent about popular democracy and have actively opposed expanding access to the franchise to women and people of color, and to the non-propertied and under-educated. In most of these efforts, they have at least had the ‘decency’ to frame their opposition to universal voting rights with reference to a conservative reading of the U.S. Constitution. 

“Trump’s blatant attempts to overturn the results of the election amount to nothing but outright fraud, and Republicans’ support of the president’s efforts amounts to an explicit refutation of the U.S. Constitution and the wealth of legal precedent and political customs that serve as the basis for our democracy.”

Geraldo L. Cadava is an associate professor of history. His expertise is in Latino politics. He is the author of “The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump.” He can be reached at

Quote from Professor Cadava
“I’ll be paying attention to how Latinos in Georgia vote. Members of both parties have been aggressive about their outreach. I think conservatives are excited that Perdue won 43 percent of the Latino vote in November. That, combined with Trump’s stronger-than-expected performance (he increased his share of the Latino vote in Georgia by about 10 points), makes tomorrow the first test of their theory that there really is conservative momentum among Latinos and that there might be some kind of red wave in the future. For Democrats, if Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff do particularly well among Latinos, it will be their first chance to argue that the shift toward Trump in Georgia and elsewhere isn’t representative of something bigger.”

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. is an associate professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy. His research and teaching interests are in the fields of American politics and political theory. His research focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics and media and politics. He can be reached at

Quote from Professor Tillery
“In my view, the race is going to come down to how Trump’s bad behavior in Washington and the messaging that the two Democratic candidates deploy in the closing stages of the race impact turnout. By continuing to push his wild conspiracy theories about the election, Trump is creating chaos for his party in the Peach State. It is entirely possible that this erratic behavior will drive down Republican turnout in these races. On the Democratic side, with Warnock and Ossoff leading in the polls, the messaging question is: How can they continue to hold the ball and run out the clock to victory?

“My own polling in the state shows there are huge opportunities for the Democrats to gain support by stressing their support for the #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName movements and focusing on criminal justice reforms. In short, the Democrats need to remember that this is a base election — and their base is African American voters and progressive whites in and around Atlanta.” 

James Druckman is the Payson S. Wild Professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the University’s Institute for Policy Research. Druckman is also part of the university consortium conducting 50-state COVID-19 surveys at His research focuses on political preference formation and communication. He can be reached at

Quote from Professor Druckman
“Our nationwide post-election survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents (67%) were somewhat or very concerned about voter suppression, and voter intimidation was a concern for 62% of respondents. These numbers create a puzzle for the current Senate elections in Georgia. For some, the concerns may de-mobilize, but for others, it may be a mobilizing factor to get their votes in, especially to combat concerns about suppression and intimidation.” 

Michael Kang is the William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professor of Law. His areas of expertise include election law, voting rights and redistricting and campaign finance. He can be reached at

Find more sources on 2021 politics and other news of the day on Northwestern’s For Journalists faculty experts hub