The 2020 U.S. Election: Stress Test for American Democracy

Panel Discussion


PAN Wei , Professor, School of International Studies; Director of the Center for Chinese and Global Affairs of Peking University
WANG Yong, Director of the Center for International Political Economy; Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at the School of International Relations
David BRADY, Professor of Political Economics, Graduate School of Business and Political Science, Emeritus, Stanford University
Bruce E. CAIN, Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences; Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
Jean C. OI, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics, Stanford University
WANG Dong , Deputy Director, Office for Humanities and Social Sciences; Executive Director, Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding, Peking University

Date and Time

January 14, 2021 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM


This is an exclusive Webinar for Stanford and PKU communities. Please use your Stanford or PKU email to register at

The 2020 U.S. Election: Stress Test for American Democracy


January 14th (8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Beijing Time) 

January 13th (4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time)


The language of the event will be English.


Recording (audiotaping or videotaping) during the event is not allowed.

Sponsored by the Stanford Center at Peking University and the iGCU at Peking University.

Despite a once-in-a-century pandemic, the highest number of voters in 120 years turned out for the U.S. presidential election in November. After all the mail-in ballots were counted, former Vice President Joseph Biden was declared the winner of the popular vote and the Electoral College vote by a wide margin. However, Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat and has mounted a series of court challenges to fight the results, including taking his claims to the Supreme Court.

To help us understand the U.S. election results – an election that some have described as “a referendum on Trump” -- and its aftermath that some have called the “stress test for American democracy,” we convene a roundtable discussion with leading specialists from Stanford University and Peking University. 



David BRADY holds the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and held the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Chair in Public Policy (emeritus).  He is Deputy Director and Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and has published eight books and over 100 papers in journals and books.  Among his more recent publications are Leadership and Growth (World Bank Publications, 2010) coedited with Michael Spence, Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Carter to Bush II (Westview Press, 2006), and Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics with Pietro Nivola (Brookings Institution Press, 2007).  His study on the “electoral basis of gridlock” is forthcoming.  

Brady has also published essays in the American Interest, Commentary, Policy Review, and National Affairs as well as numerous articles in Real Clear Politics, Project Syndicate and the Wall Street Journal.  He has twice been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University, Sciences Po in Paris, and The Libera Università Internazionale Degli Studi Sociali "Guido Carli" (Luiss) in Rome.  He has also been a distinguished lecturer at the American Academy in Berlin and a distinguished professor at Yonsei University in Korea.  Brady was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987. 

Bruce E. CAIN

Bruce E. CAIN is an expert in U.S. politics, and particularly the politics of California and the American West. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting in the United States, he is a prominent scholar of U.S. elections, political regulation, and the relationships between American lobbyists and elected officials. 

Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Cain was Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at University of California (U.C.), Berkeley from 1990-2007 and Executive Director of the U.C. Washington Center from 2005-2012.  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and UC Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000).  He is currently working on state regulatory processes and stakeholder involvement in the areas of water, energy, and the environment.



PAN Wei obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is now a Professor in the School of International Studies at Peking University and frequently lectures on world political theory, Chinese politics, comparative politics, and the history of American social development, etc. At present, PAN serves as the Director of the Center for Chinese and Global Affairs of Peking University. His research interests include comparative political theory, comparative politics, political methodology, and Chinese society and government.




WANG Yong holds a Ph.D. in Law from Peking University. Wang serves as the Director of the Center for International Political Economy and as a Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at the School of International Relations, all at Peking University (PKU). He is an Academic Committee Member of the Center for International Strategic Research, a Professor at the CPC Party School of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the Leading Professor of a PKU training program for senior civil servants in Hong Kong SAR, and a Professor of a PKU training program for African diplomats held by the Ministry of Commerce of China. He is also a Consultant for the Asian Development Bank, a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (UK), and a member of the Global Agenda Committee of the Global Trade System of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. His research areas include Sino-US relations, Sino-US economic relations, trade politics, regional cooperation, international economic relations, international political economics, etc. In 2008, he was selected into the "Program for New Century Excellent Talents" by the Ministry of Education of China.


Jean C. OI

Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics in the Department of Political Science and a senior fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She directs the China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and is the Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University. Oi has published extensively on China’s reforms. Recent books include Fateful Decisions:  Choices that will Shape China’s Future, coedited with Thomas Fingar (Stanford University Press, 2020), Zouping Revisited: Adaptive Governance in a Chinese County, coedited with Steven Goldstein (Stanford University Press, 2018), and Challenges in the Process of China’s Urbanization, coedited with Karen Eggleston and Yiming Wang (2017). Current research is on fiscal reform and local government debt, continuing SOE reforms, and the Belt and Road Initiative.



Wang Dong is the Deputy Director of the Office for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Executive Director of the Institute for Global    Cooperation and Understanding, all at Peking University. He also serves as Member of the Steering Committee of the East Asia Security Forum, Chinese Overseas Educated Scholars Association, International Advisory Committee Member of the Shanghai Academy of Area Studies and Global Governance, Advisory Committee Member for the Carter Center-Global Times US-China Young Scholars Forum, and Secretary-General of the Pangoal Institution, a leading China-based public policy think tank.   

Wang Dong received his bachelor in law from Peking University and M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  Wang has written extensively on international relations and China’s foreign policy. He is the author and/or editor of such English-language publications as Re-globalization: When China Meets the World Again (Routledge, 2020, forthcoming); and Avoiding the Thucydides Trap: US-China Relations in Strategic Domains, coedited with Travis Tanner (Routledge, 2020, forthcoming). Wang was named a “Munich Young Leader” in 2016 (the only awardee from China); and was selected by the inaugural program of “Preeminent Young Scientists” of Beijing in 2018, one of the most prestigious awards ever given in China.


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