WashU Experts: 2016 Presidential Election

Washington University in St. Louis will play a prominent role in the national political conversation when it hosts a presidential debate on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016.

The following is a list of faculty experts who can discuss a variety of topics related to the election, politics and national and local issues.

For assistance, contact Neil Schoenherr at 314-935-5235 or nschoenherr@wustl.edu.

Election & Politics

Wayne Fields

Wayne Fields
Lynne Cooper Harvey Distinguished Professor of English, American Literature and American Culture Studies, all in Arts & Sciences

Areas of expertise: American Politics, American Presidency

Fields is a noted author and expert on American presidential rhetoric and political argument. He is the author of “Union of Words: A History of Presidential Eloquence” and his essays include “One Hundred Years of Solitude and New World Literature,” “The American Adams,” and “To Redeem from Ignorance: Jefferson and the Liberal Arts.” Learn More

Marie Griffith

Marie Griffith
John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities

Areas of expertise: American Politics, Religion

Griffith is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on current issues pertaining to religion and politics, including the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality and marriage. Learn More

John Inazu

John Inazu
Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion

Areas of expertise: Constitutional Law, First Amendment

Inazu’s scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and related questions of legal and political theory. His most recent book, Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference, argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality and other important matters. Learn more.

Peter Kastory

Peter Kastor
Professor of History and of American Culture Studies

Areas of expertise: American History, American Politics, American Presidency

Kastor has taught numerous courses on the presidency, ranging from freshman programs to senior seminars. He is currently teaching a lecture course titled “Americans and their Presidents.” Examining the institution from George Washington through Barack Obama, Kastor’s courses explain not only how the presidency operates, but also how Americans situate the presidency within national life. Learn More

Greg Magarian

Greg Magarian
Professor of Law

Areas of expertise: Constitutional law, American Politics, Free Speech, Religion

Magarian is a well-known expert in free speech, the law of politics, and law and religion. He has written about a variety of topics in constitutional law, including free speech theory and doctrine, media regulation, regulation of political parties an the relationship between church and state. Learn More

Andrew Reeves

Andrew Reeves
Associate professor of political science in Arts & Sciences

Areas of expertise: American Politics, American Presidency

Reeves is an associate professor and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Political Science. He teaches on American elections and voting behavior, the American presidency, and executive branch politics.  His 2015 book, The Particularistic President: Executive Branch Politics and Political Inequality, examines how local accountability combined with the institutions of presidential elections causes presidents to disproportionately reward important constituencies with federal dollars, including the declaration of disaster relief. Learn More

Betsy Sinclair

Betsy Sinclair
Associate professor of political science in Arts & Sciences

Areas of expertise: American Politics, Electoral Politics, Political Science

Betsy Sinclair is an associate professor of political science in Arts & Sciences. Her research interests include American politics and political methodology with an emphasis on individual political behavior. She focuses on the social foundations of participatory democracy — the ways in which social networks influence voting, donating, choosing a candidate or identifying with a particular party. She also examines the role of new media in establish patterns of political behavior for ordinary citizens, and the consequences of connecting citizens together for voting, donating and support for particular parties and candidates. Learn More


Steven Smith
Kate M. Gregg Distinguished Professor of Social Science

Areas of expertise: American Politics, U.S. Congress

The director of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, Smith has worked on Capitol Hill in several capacities and has served as a senior fellow at the Brooking Institution. He has also authored or co-authored six books on congressional politics. Learn more.


National Issues


Lee Epstein
Ethan A. H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor

Areas of expertise: U.S. Supreme Court, Constitutional Law

Epstein is a nationally-renowned expert on the United States Supreme Court, quoted often in national media on court trends and policy. Learn more.



Steve Fazzari
Bert A. and Jeanette L. Lynch Distinguished Professor of Economics

Areas of expertise: Economics, Public Policy

Fazzari’s research explores two main areas: the financial determinants of investment and R&D spending by U.S. firms and the foundations of Keynesian macroeconomics. His research and commentary on public policy issues has been highlighted in the national media. Learn more.


Steven Legomsky
John S. Lehmann University Professor Emeritus

Areas of expertise: Immigration Law

Legomsky is an authority on U.S., comparative, and international immigration, refugee, and citizenship law and policy. He served as Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the immigration services agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Learn more.


Timothy McBride
Professor of Social Work

Areas of expertise: Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance, Health Care Policy, Medicare, Public Health, Social Security

McBride is an influential health policy analyst and leading health economist shaping the national agenda in rural health care, health insurance, Medicare policy, health economics, and access to health care. In addition to his scholarly publications in leading journals, he has produced a collection of reports, white papers, and other policy products that have had an important impact on the national policy debate. Learn more.

St. Louis


Molly Metzger
Assistant Professor of Social Work

Areas of expertise: St. Louis, Housing, Inequality, Poverty

Metzger’s major projects have included a community action project on public housing preservation in Chicago, a national analysis of the Section 8 housing voucher program, and more recently a collaboration with the St. Louis Housing Authority, in which she interviewed Section 8 renters in North St. Louis City and County about their housing options and preferences. Learn more.

Kimberly Norwood

Kimberly Norwood
Professor of Law

Areas of expertise: St. Louis, K-12 Education, Black Identity, African American Culture

Norwood has focused her research on black identity issues, colorism within the black community, and the intersection of race, class, and public education in America.Her most recent book, “Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked a Nation,” explores the underlying fault lines that cracked and gave rise to the eruption in Ferguson. Learn more.

Jason Purnell

Jason Purnell
Assistant Professor of Social Work

Areas of expertise: St. Louis, Public Health, Health Disparities

Purnell directs For the Sake of All, a multi-disciplinary project on the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis. The first phase of the project culminated in May, 2014 with the release of a final report at a community conference. The second phase has focused on engagement of the community, business leaders, and policy makers in order to mobilize support for implementation of recommendations made in the initial phase of the work. Learn more.

 Other topics

Go here for a listing of all Washington University faculty experts.