The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Former H.W. Bush speechwriter and democratic analyst speak about 2020 election

<p>Political science professor Ernest McGowen sits down with former speechwriter Mary Kate Cary and analyst Mary Anne Marsh as part of UR's Sharp Viewpoint Series on Nov. 11.</p>

Political science professor Ernest McGowen sits down with former speechwriter Mary Kate Cary and analyst Mary Anne Marsh as part of UR's Sharp Viewpoint Series on Nov. 11.

Mary Kate Cary, former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush, and Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh spoke on Nov. 11 about the impacts the election and COVID-19 have on political campaigns as part of the University of Richmond's Sharp Viewpoints Series.

The discussion was led by political science professor Ernest McGowen and also included discussion about the lasting impacts of "Trumpism" in American politics.

Much of the talk dealt with how President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump shaped their campaign strategies to address the pandemic. 

“It was two different strategies,"  Cary said, "and I think probably both campaigns thought their strategy worked well.” 

Marsh said: “I think what people saw in Joe Biden, who was very cautious about [the COVID-19 pandemic], showed that he would actually take action."

Cary agreed and said she thought Biden's adherence to health protocols had proved beneficial for his campaign.

Marsh emphasized the importance of Georgia’s special Senatorial election. If Democratic candidates win the election, the Senate majority would shift, taking power away from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, who Marsh criticized heavily.

“I think Mitch McConnell is a different person than he was, in many ways, for years," Marsh said. "I am not that optimistic that he's going to become fundamentally different than he has been of late, but I hope for the country that [Congress] can work things out. 

"The margins are so tight on both sides that they're probably going to have to be more compromises."

Democrats must win the two Georgia Senate seats if they plan to pass legislation without oversight from McConnell, Marsh said.

Marsh also spoke about "Trumpism" and what the Trump presidency would look like in the future.

“I'm sure that Donald Trump's going to keep stoking that fire when he leaves office, but I also think ... two things," Marsh said. "One, I think [Trump is] going to face an awful lot of challenges when he leaves office, and I think he's going to have his hands full; and I think Donald Trump is not going to look better as time goes on once he leaves the White House — most likely worse.” 

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McGowen pressed Marsh and Cary on the issue of voter fraud, particularly regarding the false claims spread by the Trump campaign about widespread voter fraud, particularly related to mail-in ballots. 

There were no irregularities or illegal counting of mail-in ballots, Cary and Marsh said.

Cary said the recount of presidential votes in Georgia would likely only turn up a few miscounted votes, not influencing the final call of the state for Joe Biden.

Contact visual editor Ben Wasserstein at

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