2020 Election Experts Guide

A microphone in front of a U.S. flag. Image credit: iStock

University of Michigan faculty are available to offer insights on candidates and issues impacting the 2020 elections. Their expertise covers many disciplines, such as politics, economics, public policy and law. For topics not listed below, reporters can contact Jared Wadley for assistance.

Featured Expert

Luke Shaefer

H. Luke Shaefer
Researcher and director of Poverty Solutions

“The Cares Act has been successful in reducing poverty, amid an economic collapse, and shows the benefits of a strong safety net. It wasn’t perfect, but hands down it’s the most successful thing we’ve ever done in negating hardship”

via New York Times

Libby HemphillLibby Hemphill, associate professor of information, can discuss political communication through social media, as well as civic engagement, digital curation and data stewardship.

Contact: 734-615-9524, libbyh@umich.edu

Aaron KallAaron Kall, director of the U-M Debate Program and Debate Institute, can discuss speeches given by elected officials.

Contact: 734-239-3996, akall@umich.edu

Josh PasekJosh Pasek, associate professor of communication and media, and political science, explores how new media and psychological processes shape public opinion and political attitudes and behaviors. He studies biases in the processing of political information, changing survey methods, and how the use of online social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is changing the political information environment.

Contact: 484-557-4594 (cell), jpasek@umich.edu

Paul ResnickPaul Resnick, professor of information and director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility, can discuss social media responsibility and “fake” news.

Contact: 734-647-9458, presnick@umich

Michael TraugottMichael Traugott, professor emeritus and a senior research scientist at the Center for Political Studies, is an authority on political communication, public opinion and media polling.

Contact: 734-763-4702, mtrau@umich.edu

Peter AdriaensPeter Adriaens is an expert on the limitations of traditional means of funding major infrastructure improvements, as well as the possibilities that lie in new approaches. He is the director of the U-M Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance and professor of environmental engineering and finance.

“Tomorrow’s smart, sensor-based infrastructure will be capable of providing new kinds of data and insights,” he said. “The value of this information is increasingly starting to outstrip that of the physical infrastructure itself. Information is trumping function. Cities and towns can harness this to unlock new cash flows and equity value from improved operations or new derivative products and services.”

Contact: 734-763-8032, adriaens@umich.edu

Michael S. BarrMichael Barr, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, is a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and has written about a wide range of issues in economic and financial policy, conducts research and writes about a wide range of issues in domestic and international financial regulation.

Contact: 734-763-2258, msbarr@umich.edu

Jerry DavisJerry Davis is a professor of management and organizations, and sociology. His research is broadly concerned with corporate governance and the effects of finance on society. He recently studied how labor-on-demand models, such as Uber, are out of sync with public policy focused on job creation.

Contact: 734-647-4737, 734-709-4661, gfdavis@umich.edu

Donald GrimesDonald Grimes, an economist with the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, specializes in economic forecasting and regional economic development. He conducts annual Michigan state and county economic forecasts, and has studied occupational wages in the Great Lakes states and the relationship between education and high-paying jobs

Contact: 941-225-1304, dgrimes@umich.edu

Jerome LynchJerome Lynch is an expert in efforts to transform our nation’s infrastructure into more intelligent and reactive systems via the use of sensing, computing and actuation technologies. He is professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the College of Engineering and director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems Technology.

“With our nation’s infrastructure fundamentally the operating system of the nation’s robust economy, the nation needs to urgently focus on reinvesting in our infrastructure; not just improving the physical condition of infrastructure like roads and bridges, but also making them ‘smarter”‘to drive national innovation in smart and connected infrastructure like autonomous vehicles,” he said.

Contact: 734-615-5290, jerlynch@umich.edu

Betsey StevensonBetsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics, is an expert on women’s labor market experiences, the economic forces shaping the modern family, and how labor market experiences and economic forces on the family influence each other.

Contact: 734-615-9595, betseys@umich.edu

Justin WolfersJustin Wolfers, professor of public policy and economics, has research interests include labor economics, macroeconomics, political economy, social policy, law and economics, and behavioral economics.

Contact: 734-615-6846, jwolfers@umich.edu

Stephen L. DesJardinsStephen DesJardins, professor of education and public policy, can discuss student transitions from high school to college, what happens to students once they enroll in college, the economics of postsecondary education, and applying new statistical techniques to the study of these issues.

Contact: 734-904-7857, sdesj@umich.edu

Matthew DiemerMatthew Diemer, professor of education, examines how young people resist, challenge and overcome racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and other constraints in school, college, work and civic/political institutions.

Contact: 734-647-7369, diemerm@umich.edu

Elizabeth Birr MojeElizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the School of Education, has done research examining young people’s navigations of culture, identity and literacy learning in and out of school in Detroit.

Contact: 734-647-9571, moje@umich.edu

Donald J. PeurachDonald Peurach, associate professor of educational policy, leadership and innovation, can discuss the production, use and management of knowledge in practice, among social innovators and those they seek to serve.

Contact: 734-353-9840, dpeurach@umich.edu

Christina WeilandChristina Weiland, associate professor of education, can discuss the effects of early childhood interventions and public policies on children’s development, especially on children from low-income families. She is particularly interested in the active ingredients that drive children’s gains in successful, at-scale public preschool programs

Contact: 734-615-1530, weilandc@umich.edu

Enid Rosario-Ramos, Enid Rosario-Ramosassistant professor of educational studies and faculty associate of Latina/o studies, studies educational justice issues for Latinx students, families and communities. Her research focuses on the civic engagement and critical literacy skills of youth. She is also interested in how schools and community contexts support the development of civic knowledge and participation of youth and students.

Contact: erosario@umich.edu

Todd AllenTodd Allen, an expert in energy sustainability and energy policy, is professor and chair of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences at the College of Engineering. He can discuss the role of nuclear in a sustainable energy future.

“Bernie Sanders wants to close down all nuclear power plants. Joe Biden is open to building new nuclear power generation to reduce carbon emissions. With the threat to Earth’s habitability posed by the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, the public is more forgiving of the need to contain nuclear waste. But some argue that nuclear power isn’t practical because wind and solar are now so cheap. That’s an incomplete picture,” he said.

“When you look at the life cycle of these energy sources, the total cost of a fully renewable grid will be much higher than one in which renewables are paired with nuclear power. Many studies have shown that, while we can still grow the amount of renewables significantly, an optimized system contains elements of both renewables and firm resources like nuclear power.”

Contact: 734-647-5845, traumich@umich.edu

Andy HoffmanAndy Hoffman is a professor of management and organizations, and environment and sustainability. He also serves as education director of the Graham Sustainability Institute. His research uses a sociological perspective to understand cultural and institutional aspects of environmental issues for organizations.

Contact: 734-763-9455, ajhoff@umich.edu

Patricia KomanPatricia Koman a research investigator of environmental health sciences, leads community-engaged research to create healthier communities. Her research interests include the use of science in policy, as well as climate change, weather and health with an emphasis on air pollution from wildfire.

Contact: 734-764-0552, tkoman@umich.edu

Marie O'NeillMarie O’Neill professor of environmental health sciences, is an expert on the health effects of air pollution, temperature extremes and climate change (mortality, asthma, hospital admissions and cardiovascular endpoints); environmental exposure assessment; and socioeconomic influences on health.

Contact: 734-615-5135, marieo@umich.edu

Johnathan OverpeckJonathan Overpeck is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability. He is an expert on paleoclimate, climate-vegetation interactions, climate and weather extremes, sea-level rise, the impacts of climate change and options for dealing with it.

Contact: 734-764-2550, overpeck@umich.edu

Barry RabeBarry Rabe, professor of public policy, political science, and environment and sustainability, is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He surveys Americans on issues related to climate change in the National Surveys on Energy and Environment.

Contact: 734-615-9596, brabe@umich.edu

Anna StefanopoulouAnna Stefanopoulou director of the Energy Institute, is an expert on the estimation and control of internal combustion engines and electrochemical processes such as fuel cells and batteries.

Contact: 734-615-8461, annastef@umich.edu

John Z. AyanianJohn Ayanian, director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and professor of internal medicine, public health and public policy, is a longtime researcher on how access to health insurance affects individuals’ access to health care, the quality of care they receive and their health outcomes.

Contact: 734-764-2220, kegavin@umich.edu

Thomas BuchmuellerThomas Buchmueller, is a professor of business economics and public policy whose research focuses on the economics of health insurance and related public policy issues. His recent work has examined the relationship between employer-sponsored insurance and labor market outcomes, interactions between the public sector and private insurance markets, and consumer demand for health insurance.

Contact: 734-764-5933, tbuch@umich.edu

Richard A. HirthRichard Hirth, professor of health management and policy and member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, can discuss the economics of health insurance, health care costs and payment system design.

Contact: 734-936-1306, rhirth@umich.edu

Peter D. JacobsonPeter Jacobson is a professor of health law and policy and director for the Center for Law, Ethics, and Health at the School of Public Health. He can address the legal aspects of dismantling Affordable Care Act, a key issue for many of the candidates.

Contact: 734-936-0928, pdj@umich.edu

Helen LevyHelen Levy, research professor of public health and public policy and at the Institute for Social Research, can discuss the causes and consequences of lacking health insurance and the role of health literacy in explaining disparities in health outcomes. Her research includes evaluation of public health insurance programs.

Contact: 734-936-4506, hlevy@umich.edu

James C. HathawayJames Hathaway, professor of law and director of the Refugee and Asylum Law Program, is a leading authority on international refugee law. He is editor of the Immigration and Nationality Law Reports.

Contact: jch@umich.edu

Ann C. LinAnn Lin, associate professor of public policy, studies potential immigration policies, such as guestworker programs and legalization, and the political beliefs of American immigrants, with a specific focus on Arab Americans.

Contact: 734-764-7507, annlin@umich.edu

William LopezWilliam Lopez, a clinical assistant professor of public health, teaches the health impacts of immigration law enforcement in the U.S.

Contact: 734-764-6497, wdlopez@umich.edu

Silvia PedrazaSilvia Pedraza, professor of sociology and American culture, has interests in the sociology of immigration, and race and ethnicity in America, Cuba and Western Europe. Her research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of immigration as a historical process that forms and transforms nations.

Contact: 734-647-3659, spedraza@umich.edu

Margo SchlangerMargo Schlanger, professor of law, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and served as the presidentially appointed officer for civil rights and civil liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Contact: 734-615-2618, mschlan@umich.edu

John D. CiorciariJohn Ciorciari, associate professor of public policy and director of the Weiser Diplomacy Center and International Policy Center, conducts research on international law and politics in the Global South.

Contact: 734-615-6947, johncior@umich.edu

Alan DeardorffAlan Deardorff, the John W. Sweetland Professor of International Economics and a professor of public policy, focuses on international trade.

Contact: 734-764-6817, alandear@umich.edu

Melvyn LevitskyMelvyn Levitsky, professor of international policy and practice, spent 35 years as a U.S. diplomat, including serving as an ambassador to Brazil and Bulgaria.

Contact: 734-615-4262, levitsky@umich.edu

Linda LimLinda Lim, professor emerita of corporate strategy and international business, focuses her research on the political economy of multinational and local business in Southeast Asia. That includes the changing international trade and investment environment, and the influence of domestic politics, economic policy and culture on business structure, strategy and operations.

Contact: 734-763-0290, lylim@umich.edu

Tom IvackoTom Ivacko is an associate director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, which conducts the Michigan Public Policy Survey.

Contact: (734) 647-4163, tmi@umich.edu

Mark ClagueMark Clague, associate professor of musicology, is an expert on all forms of music-making in the U.S., the national anthem, American popular music, and music and politics in popular culture. He can address the choice of campaign music made by presidential candidates and the frequent backlash they receive from artists whose songs are selected.

Contact: 734-649-4972, claguem@umich.edu

Richard L. HallRichard Hall, professor of political science and public policy, can discuss the U.S. Senate nomination fight to replace Scalia.

Contact: 734-763-4390, rlhall@umich.edu

Franc Nunoo-QuarcooFranc Nunoo-Quarcoo, professor of art and design, teaches visual identity and branding, and poster and packaging design. He can discuss campaign branding, logos and design.

Contact: 734-834-4340, fnunoo@umich.edu

Robert Yoon, Robert Yoon, the Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism, has covered five presidential campaigns for CNN and has prepared moderators for more than 30 presidential debates. He can discuss the debates, primaries and caucuses, the delegate selection process, national political conventions, campaign fundraising and history, candidate messaging, and the key role of Michigan in 2020.

Contact: 734-764-0420, yooner@umich.edu, @robyoon

Kenneth Kollman

Ken Kollman is the director of the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research and the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor and professor of political science. His research focuses on political parties and organizations, elections, lobbying, federal systems, American politics and comparative politics.

Contact: kkollman@umich.edu

Nadine HubbsNadine Hubbs, professor of women’s studies and music and faculty associate in American culture, as well as director of the Lesbian-Gay-Queer Research Initiative. Her research focuses on gender and queer studies, 20th- and 21st-century U.S. culture, and social class in popular and classical music.

Contact: 734-647-0781, nhubbs@umich.edu

Roshanak MehdipanahRoshanak Mehdipanah, assistant professor of health behavior and health education, has led several projects on housing and health, including health evaluations of housing policies on affordability and discrimination in the U.S.

Contact: 734-763-1788, rmehdipa@umich.edu

Kristin S. SeefeldtKristin Seefeldt, assistant professor of social work and public policy, explores how low-income individuals understand their situations, particularly around issues related to work and economic well-being. She conducts research on family financial coping strategies, and the effects of the recession and recovery policies on individuals” well-being.

Contact: 734-717-1239, kseef@umich.edu

H. Luke ShaeferLuke Shaefer is associate professor of social work and public policy and director of Poverty Solutions. He can discuss the measurement of poverty and alternative metrics for measuring hardship, and has published articles on rising extreme poverty in the U.S., the effects of major anti-poverty programs and low-wage work.

Contact: 734-936-5065, lshaefer@umich.edu

Marc ZimmermanMarc Zimmerman professor of public health, conducts research on adolescent health, which examines how positive factors in adolescents’ lives help them overcome risks they face. His research includes analysis of adolescent resiliency for risks associated with alcohol and drug use, violent behavior, precocious sexual behavior, and school failure.

Contact: 734-647-0224, marcz@umich.edu

Deborah Rivas-DrakeDeborah Rivas-Drake, professor of psychology and education, together with the Contexts of Academic + Social Adjustment (CASA) Lab, examines how school, peer and family settings support adolescents in navigating issues related to race, ethnicity, racism and xenophobia, and how these experiences inform young people’s academic, socioemotional and civic development. She is particularly interested in how parents’ and community members’ civic/political behaviors shape youths’ ethnic identities and their civic beliefs and expectations.

Contact: 734-647-0614, drivas@umich.edu

Robert AxelrodRobert Axelrod, professor of public policy and political science, can discuss international policy, security and diplomacy.

Contact: 734-763-0099, axe@umich.edu

Jason Corso is a computer vision expert and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the College of Jason CorsoEngineering. He can comment on deepfake video technology and how we might detect it in the lead-up to the presidential election. In one project, Corso is working to improve a computer’s ability to track an object through a video clip—a feature that could aid in understanding how deepfakes are made. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Voxel51, a startup building an advanced video analytics platform.

“There is no known method yet to really detect a deepfake,” he said. “We don’t have reliable software. Humans are good at detecting deepfakes if they alter large swaths of scenes, because the technology to do that type of manipulation is not yet mature.

“However, faces are a unique sub-area that is much more mature, technologically. So humans are easily fooled by deepfake faces. Because rendering the inside of the mouth is much harder than the rest of the face, it’s hard to detect a face deepfake unless a speaker is flamboyantly opening his or her mouth.”

Contact: 734-647-8833, jjcorso@umich.edu

J. Alex HaldermanJ. Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Center for Computer Security and Society, can discuss vulnerabilities in the U.S. voting system.

Contact: 734-647-1806, jhalderm@eecs.umich.edu

Florian SchaubFlorian Schaub, assistant professor of information, can discuss privacy issues and foreign interference in social media, human-computer interaction, mobile and ubiquitous computing, and the Internet of Things.

Contact: 734-764-5607, fschaub@umich.edu

Richard D. FriedmanRichard Friedman, professor of law, is an expert on evidence and U.S. Supreme Court history.

Contact: 734-647-1078, rdfrdman@umich.edu

Richard PrimusRichard Primus, professor of law, teaches the law, theory and history of the U.S. Constitution.

Contact: 734-647-5543, raprimus@umich.edu

Jowei ChenJowei Chen, associate professor of political science, has research interests on distributive politics, executive agencies and legislatures. He has studied how legislators’ pork-barreling strategies are shaped by the electoral geography of their districts, and he has examined how government spending influences voters.

Contact: 734.763.2222, jowei@umich.edu

Vincent HutchingsVincent Hutchings, professor of political science, is an expert on public opinion, elections, voting behavior and African American politics.

Contact: 734-764-6591, vincenth@umich.edu

Angela X. OcampoAngela Ocampo, an LSA Collegiate Fellow, has examined the political incorporation of racial, ethnic and religious minorities both as everyday participants and as political leaders within American institutions.

Contact: axocampo@umich.edu