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Democracy Works

159 EpisodesProduced by Penn State McCourtney Institute for Democracy/The Democracy GroupWebsite

The Democracy Works podcast seeks to answer that question by examining a different aspect of democratic life each week — from voting to criminal justice to the free press and everything in between. We interview experts who study democracy, as well as people who are out there doing the hard work of d… read more


Will COVID-19 create a one-issue campaign?

The general election is going to happen in November, and candidates still need to figure out ways to get their messages out to voters. COVID-19 has changed everything about the way candidates communicate with potential voters and how they position themselves in relationship to the virus.

This episode addresses the nuts and bolts of campaigning during a pandemic, but we also discuss a broader question — should we even be talking about politics at a time like this? Our guest this week makes an interesting case about why the answer is always “yes.” John Sides is a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University and publisher of the Monkey Cage, a political science blog published by the Washington Post.

Sides talks about the novel coronavirus has impacted campaigns up and down the ballot, and why it’s valuable to consider it as a political problem apart from a public health issue.

Note: You’ll hear a reference to Bernie Sanders during the interview. We recorded on April 6, before Sanders announced he was dropping out of the race.

Additional Information

John’s website

The Monkey Cage

A look at ethics of campaigning during COVID-19

Related Episodes

Free and fair elections during a pandemic

COVID-19 exposes democracy’s tensions

Primaries, parties, and the public

Episode Credits

This episode was recorded on April 6 and 7, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Mark Stitzer, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.

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