Introduction to the 2020 Election Special Issue


  • Jeremiah Clabough University of Alabama at Birmingham


2020 election, social studies education, civic education, teaching controversial issues


Social studies educators face a daunting task with teaching civic education in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump’s political career has been predicated on stoking political hyperpartisanship to portray himself as the defender of Republicans’ beliefs and opponent of Democrats’ policies that he deemed harmful to the United States. Trump has challenged his opponents’ patriotism as can be seen with Collin Kaepernick and even went so far to say that some of his political enemies should be arrested (Cheney, 2020; Serwer, 2017). He entered the political arena pushing birther claims with no evidence that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya (Halperin & Heilemann, 2013). This brand of right wing politics continued throughout Trump’s administration as demonstrated by his response to the tragedy at Charlottesville and urging that he would fight to prevent the removal of Confederate monuments dotting the American landscape (Collins & Subramanian, 2020; Diamond, 2017). Trump’s actions have mainly been used to frame himself as a right wing cultural warrior, despite the fact that he made large campaign donations to Democrats prior to his entry into the American political arena (Kurtzleben, 2015). The ripple effects from the Trump administration are still being felt in U.S. society as will be discussed in the following pages of this special issue.


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