Prof. discusses 2020 election conventions

Bella Lee, Staff writer

From Aug. 17 – 20, the Democratic National Convention was held in Milwaukee, WI, and was virtually broad-cast across the United States. During this convention, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were officially chosen to be the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President of the United States of America.

The following week, from Aug. 24 – 27, the Republican National Convention was held in Charlotte, NC, and Washington DC. At this convention, Donald Trump and Mike Pence were re-nominated to represent the Republican Party as President and Vice President of the United States.

“This year both political parties’ conventions were primarily virtual. This was the first time in history that this has occurred. It left me wondering if it might become the norm going forward,” Joseph Morris Ph.D., chair of the Political Science department, said.

Morris was recently featured in the news to share his reactions to the two conventions.

“Given how effective the parties were at telling their stories this year, I suspect there will many more virtual components to the conventions in the years to come. Virtual conventions allow parties’ stories to be told more clearly and to do so a more persuasive manner,” Morris said.

This year’s election is not one to ignore, as this will be the first time many Mercyhurst students will be eligible to vote in the election.

“Conventions are a great place for students to begin learning about the parties and their candidates, particularly if they are new voters,” said Morris. “Not only do conventions help you to understand what each party wants to achieve and how they want to achieve it, but they give you a chance to learn about the candidates as people and as potential leaders. By no means should the conventions be the only thing you rely on when decide which candidate you will support, but they are not a bad place for new voters to start.”

A key point that Morris wants students, and especially first-time voters, to know is that casting a ballot alone won’t automatically make you a good citizen.

“When it comes to voting, you have a responsibility to be very knowledgeable about the candidates and their visions for the United States. Voting is an awesome responsibility and the outcome of an election may mean the difference between war and peace, justice and injustice and prosperity or poverty.”

However, with the nation and the political parties more divided than ever, Morris remains concerned. “Unlike most years, I’m concerned about people questioning the integrity of our elections. If people question the integrity, they’ll question the outcome. If they question the outcome, we have a disorderly transition of power. This opens the door to the possibility of all sorts of really bad things that I prefer not to think about. It’s important for voters to remember that those who run elections at the state and local level are elected by voters and they were elected because they are honest, trustworthy and committed to the democratic process.”

The deadline to register to vote is right around the corner in most states, so do not forget to register. You can register using your home address or your Mercyhurst address, but be sure to look up whether you can register in person or online, and how to request an absentee ballot if necessary.