Rooney Center Faculty In the News 2020-2021

Author: The Rooney Center

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Reporters across the country regularly reach out to Rooney Center faculty, highlighting their research and seeking their expertise on stories about all aspects of American politics. In the 2020–21 academic year, our faculty were quoted by the Washington Post, Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and more. Here are some of the highlights:

“'The 1920 election is a good moment to remember how much elections are handled at the state level,' says Christina Wolbrecht, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame. '… The 19th Amendment is ratified, but it’s up to the states to change their entire electoral administration.' Strategies for encouraging voter registration ranged from 'voting booths at the state fair, where you could go in and try your hand at pulling a lever or filling out a ballot,' says Wolbrecht, '… [to] displays in department store windows of women mannequins going to vote, standing in line [and demonstrating] the very simple, everyday bureaucracy of it.'”

– Meilan Solly, “What the First Women Voters Experienced When Registering for the 1920 Election,” Smithsonian Magazine, July 30, 2020.


"Dianne Pinderhughes, a professor of Africana studies and political science at Notre Dame, told PolitiFact that the subject of racial identity is complex, especially for Harris, because she was immersed in African American culture and community since she was very young. 'You have a person who was socialized from her earliest years to be socially, culturally African American and also was supported and immersed in African American organizations,' Pinderhughes said."

– Samantha Putterman, “A look at Kamala Harris’ multi-ethnic background and racial identity in the US,” PolitiFact, August 13, 2020.


“'I think in future elections we’re going to see more of an effort to reach a secular voting bloc and the reason is simply that they’re continuing to grow,' said David Campbell, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame who studies religion and politics. 'It’s too ripe a target for politicians to ignore.' ... 'The last thing Democrats want is to be portrayed as the godless party, because that would probably turn off a lot of voters,' Campbell said."

– Daniel Cox and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “More And More Americans Aren’t Religious. Why Are Democrats Ignoring These Voters?,” FiveThirtyEight, September 17, 2020.


"Matthew Hall, a law and political science professor at the University of Notre Dame who has studied Supreme Court decision making, said that it is possible that Ginsburg’s empty seat could alter the strategic thinking of potential swing justices. 'For example, Chief Justice Roberts may be more inclined to vote with the other four conservatives rather than joining the three remaining liberals and creating an evenly divided vote,' Hall wrote in an email."

– Tucker Higgins, “Ginsburg vacancy could tilt Supreme Court to Trump in potential Bush v. Gore repeat,” CNBC, September 20, 2020.


“'This sense of one and done, we showed we can do it, doesn’t presume a leader who is committed to advancing other women or people of color,'” said Christina Wolbrecht, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame. 'A first changes a lot, but to make a real difference you have to change structures at all sorts of levels.'"

– Claire Cain Miller, “Why Kamala Harris and ‘Firsts’ Matter, and Where They Fall Short,” The New York Times, January 21, 2021.


"David Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame, further elaborates on Jones’s argument, writing in a June 2020 article, 'The Perils of Politicized Religion,' that, 'It is not just that the United States is becoming a more secular nation. It is that Americans’ secularization is, at least in part, a backlash to the employment of religion for partisan ends. The widely held perception that religion is partisan has contributed to the turn away from religious affiliation.'”

– Thomas Edsall, “The Capitol Insurrection Was as Christian Nationalist as It Gets,” The New York Times, January 28, 2021.


"Of course, not all Latinos who work in law enforcement share Trump’s view of immigrants. David Cortez, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, interviewed Latino agents who worked for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona, Texas and California in 2014 and 2015. Plenty of the people in the study tended to join the agency for economic reasons. Cortez says that, despite the ICE union’s support for Trump, not all Latinos who worked on the border fit the 'MAGA, machismo' model of 'right-leaning, staunch, anti-immigration restrictionists.' 'What you’ll find is that the majority of them have more-nuanced positions on immigration and immigration policy than most elected officials,' says Cortez, who is from Brownsville, Tex., 'because they’re the ones who see it on a daily basis.'”

– Eric Garcia, “Trump, My Dad and the Rightward Shift of Latino Men,” The Washington Post Magazine, March 22, 2021.


“'People are going to move — as they are all around the world — where they think they can find places to better feed their children. That’s the bottom line, and that’s the history of migration to the United States,' said Luis Fraga, director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame....Immigration laws must be 'constantly reviewed,' 'nimble' and sensitive to new developments, Fraga said."

– Suzanne Gamboa, “America's immigration impasse is self-inflicted. It doesn't have to be,” NBC News, March 26, 2021.


“'What we found is that there was great disillusionment in democracy among adolescents, especially girls, especially those who think of themselves as Democrats,' David Campbell said. 'Then we found this upsurge in protest activity, so the disillusionment, rather than driving them out of politics, pushed them into political activity.' ... 'There’s no other way to explain their optimism than seeing these women run,' David Campbell said. 'The effect is strongest among Democratic girls, but you find it among Democratic boys as well, and even Republican girls picked up on it. In fact, the only group that wasn’t inspired was Republican boys.'"

– Claire Cain Miller, “What Teenagers Have Learned From a Tumultuous Time in Politics,” The New York Times, April 22, 2021.


"Non-religionists and religious secularists are a little trickier to understand, David Campbell said. He suggested thinking of the former group as unattached from but not opposed to religious institutions. They might spend Sunday mornings watching football or otherwise relaxing alone at home. Religious secularists, by comparison, are likelier to be at church. But, unlike other churchgoers, they have a predominately secular worldview....'It also tells us that partisan conflict over what role religion should play in American politics will become more common in the coming years,' Geoffrey Layman said....'Secularists are an ascendant group in Democratic politics at all levels,'...but religionists, as well as non-religionists, still represent a 'substantial portion' of the party. 'To win elections, Democrats have to walk a tightrope across the secular-religious divide,' Layman said. Data from January 2016 shows that, although religionists and non-religionists both favored Trump over other potential Republican presidential nominees, there was a pretty striking difference in their levels of support, Layman said, noting that 'the non-religionists were considerably more likely than religionists to prefer Trump as the party’s nominee.'”

– Kelsey Dallas, “What rising secularism means for America’s political future,” Deseret News, May 29, 2021.