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Tune into WAER this election season for comprehensive coverage of local and statewide races. It's the information you'll need to make educated decisions on the races that could have an impact on your life.

How Much do Voters Influence the 2020 Election Issues? Help WAER Set the Agenda

WAER File Photo

The 2020 election is just 64 days away, as of Monday, with campaigns trying to figure out what might sway voters.  The path to the White House and Congress lies with voters, but the overall agenda is largely out of their hands.

Both Democrats and Republicans are saying that 2020 could be the most important election in the modern era.

What's Important to You? WAER launches 'Your Election Blueprint'

Syracuse University Associate Political Science Professor Shana Gadarian says while we hear this rhetoric often, this time it's different.

 “I do think this is a kind of more important election than most others. We have the pandemic which has brought on to the immediate crisis of the health crisis, but also an economic crisis. We are in the middle also a kind of a crisis about racial inequality and racial justice. But we also have a crisis of democracy.”

As a political scientist, Gadarian focuses on the age-old question of why people vote the way they do? She says party identity has consumed us more than ever.

 “The other social identities that people have like race and religion and gender, they are now all kind of lining up with partisanship in a way that they didn't in the past.”

Partisanship has become more identity based, but it's the issues that still define what it means to be in a party.  This year the pandemic, its impact on the economy, and racial divisions might influence voting.  But Gadarian says election narratives are rarely controlled by the people themselves.

 “The public is not really setting the agenda. They're kind of reacting to the agenda set by politicians, and reflected in the mass media.”

She says the media can overlook voters because they aren't seen as holding the power.

“They're not usually the ones who are quoted, who are thought about as kind of the necessary people to know what's going on to pay attention to.”

Even so, Central New York campaigns, and those around the nation, will try to find the issues and messages that will inspire voters’ choices.  


As the most important election in generations approaches, we want to hear from you.
WAER is launching “Your Election Blueprint”.
What’s issues are important to you? … and what will influence your vote?  Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or by phone: