2020 US Presidential Election

Come along to this lunchtime lecture series where our speakers will discuss and offer their insights on the upcoming US presidential election.

Lectures, talks and seminars

Presented by


On Tuesday 3 November, Americans will vote in what promises to be an election the world will be watching with keen interest. With the United States dealing with a pandemic and protests, will Donald Trump win a second term, or will former Vice–President Joe Biden take the top job?

Spotlight 1—Trump v Biden

In the first Spotlight lecture our speakers provided crucial context for observing and understanding the US presidential election.

Speakers: Matthew Hirshberg (political scientist, educator, media commentator) and Simon Power (Victoria University of Wellington alumnus and former member of parliament)

Moderator: Professor Stephen Levine (Professor of Political Science, School of History, Philosophy, Political Science, and International Relations)

Spotlight 2 —The Battle over America

In the second Spotlight lecture our speakers will attempt to make sense of a likely post-election power struggle.

Speakers: Matthew Hirshberg (political scientist, educator, media commentator) and Dr Mona Krewel (Lecturer in Comparative Politics, School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations)

Moderator: Emeritus Professor Nigel Roberts (Emeritus Professor, School of History, Philosophy, Political Science, and International Relations)

Speaker Bios

Matthew Hirshberg spent 14 years on the political science faculty at the University of Canterbury. He also taught in the United States at Washington, Columbia and Lesley, served on the editorial board of Political Psychology and the governing council of the International Society of Political Psychology, and was a secretary of the New Zealand Political Studies Association. He was a producer on The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America Radio, and has explained American politics on both radio and television.

Simon Power is the General Manager of Institutional and Business Banking for Westpac New Zealand. He joined Westpac in 2012 following a 12 year career as a Member of Parliament. Between 2008-2011 he served as Minister of Justice, Minister of Commerce and Minister of State Owned Enterprise. He has previously sat on the Board of the New Zealand Stock Exchange and chaired the NZUS Council. In 2019, he completed an MA(Distinction) at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington with a focus on US politics and presidential character.

Mona Krewel is a lecturer in Comparative Politics with a specialisation in the study of elections, political parties, and public opinion at Victoria University of Wellington. Before joining the University, Dr Krewel was the DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor in Cornell University's Department of Government, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Dr Krewel's research focuses on the relation between media and politics and in particular on the role of the media in election campaigns.