Jennifer C. Lucas and Christopher J. Galdieri, "Polarization and Political Party Factions in the 2020 Election" (Lexington, 2022)


The 2020 presidential election has cast a long shadow over American politics. Much of the decorum, propriety, and cordiality of the political world was replaced by even more polarization, and violent aggression as demonstrated by the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in support of President Donald Trump. Partisan polarization continues to plague daily life, and unfortunately, as it increases, so does inter-party polarization. The Democratic Party, divided between more establishment candidates and those on the more progressive wing of the party, saw an increasing gap between these ideologies as represented by the 2020 candidates for the presidential nomination. The Republican Party has a somewhat similar dynamic, divided between moderates and conservatives within the party, but also, in 2020, between those willing to criticize President Trump and those who were loyally supporting him. Polarization and Political Party Factions in the 2020 Election (Lexington, 2022) sheds light on the major changes seen during the 2020 campaign and election, while also exploring the longer-term implications of these shifts and changes.

This edited volume breaks down key understandings of the American political landscape in order to paint a full picture of the dynamics during the course of the entire 2020 election season. Each chapter examines specific conditions connected to presidential and congressional primaries, polling, activism in online spaces, essential voting rights, ideologies, and more. The focus of the chapters looks at two forms of factionalism: the first and rather obvious form of factionalism is between the Democratic and Republican parties, which leads to our current polarization; the second is the internal and asymmetric dynamic in each party, where tension between different factions push and pull the workings of the parties themselves and the candidates running as members and representatives of these parties. The contributing authors help make sense of a fragile and, at times, frightening era in politics, while also teasing apart the broader implications for national electoral politics. Editors Jennifer C. Lucas, Christopher J. Galdieri, and Tauna S. Sisco (all of whom are members of the faculty at St. Anselm College) have brought together an insightful and illuminating collection of chapters from some of the most respected authors in the field. This is an engaging and accessible book that will appeal to students, scholars, and citizens.

Emma R. Handschke assisted in the production of this podcast

Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj.

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Lilly Goren

Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI.

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