fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Fall Quarter

Fall Catalogues
Now Available
Registration Opens Aug 17
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Liberal Arts & Sciences

POL 57 — Election 2020: A Panoramic View of America’s Decisive Election

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Nov 16
Time: 5:30—7:00 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Sep 23
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $385
Status: Registration opens Aug 17 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Live Online
5:30—7:00 pm (PT)
Sep 21—Nov 16
9 weeks
Drop By
Sep 23
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Registration opens Aug 17 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Students are eligible for a 20% tuition discount if they enroll in both POL 57: “Election 2020: A Panoramic View of America's Decisive Election” and POL 58: “Technology and the 2020 Election." Beginning on September 28, Continuing Studies staff will process the discount for students enrolled in both courses. Students will receive an email receipt when the refund is issued. Please allow one week for processing.

Course Description:

We are living in extraordinary times. The historic convergence of social, economic, and public health challenges has profoundly impacted the lives of millions of Americans. In the midst of great uncertainty, the 2020 US presidential election will be perhaps the most important in our lifetimes. Will Donald J. Trump win reelection amid high unemployment, deep political polarization, and the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended life as we know it? Or will Joe Biden and a team of Democrats prevail? We will assemble a wide range of expert speakers—including preeminent political, business, foreign policy, and academic leaders—to explore these questions (and more) as we seek to cultivate a broad and informed view of this pivotal election.

Each week, the course will examine major issues at stake for the country. Anticipated topics include: the nation’s coronavirus response; widening inequality across America; racial violence and nationwide protests; the role of technology and media in the election; the state of our economy; the Supreme Court and the rule of law; education policy; climate change; foreign policy; and voting rights.

Confirmed Guest Speakers:

Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States

Geoffrey Canada, President, Harlem Children's Zone

David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford

Ruth Marcus, Political Commentator; Journalist, The Washington Post

Michael McFaul, Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies, Stanford; Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

David Plouffe, Political Strategist; Campaign Manager to the 2008 Presidential Campaign of President Barack Obama

Adam Schiff, US Representative for California's 28th Congressional District

Steve Schmidt, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist; Senior Campaign Strategist and Advisor to the 2008 Presidential Campaign of Senator John McCain

Tom Steyer, Former Presidential Candidate; Philanthropist

Course Instructors:

Pamela Karlan, Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law; Co-Director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School

Pamela Karlan is one of the nation’s leading experts on voting and the political process and has served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, an assistant counsel and cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and a deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. She was a law clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. Karlan is the co-author of casebooks on constitutional law, constitutional litigation, and the law of democracy. She received a JD from Yale.

James Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media; Adjunct Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education

James Steyer has taught courses on civil rights, civil liberties, and children and education issues at Stanford for more than thirty years. He has received a number of teaching honors, including the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is the author of The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children, Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age, and editor of the forthcoming book Which Side of History: How Technology is Reshaping Democracy and Our Lives.

Please visit continuingstudies.stanford.edu for a full list of guest speakers. This course is designed for the entire Stanford community; Continuing Studies students will be joined by Stanford graduates and undergraduates.