Road to the White House: Presidential Campaigns, 1900 to Today

Solicited by C-SPAN
Endorsed by the Society for History in the Federal Government

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Media and Communications; Politics; Social and Cultural


In this age when each presidential campaign season seems even longer than the last, this roundtable explores how campaigns have changed throughout the 20th century. Panelists will look at the role of primaries and caucuses, who debates and when, the influence of money, endorsements and social media, and how the dynamics change when a president seeks re-election.

Session Participants

Chair: Steve Scully

Panelist: Dan Balz, Washington Post

Panelist: Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Purdue University
Kathryn Cramer Brownell is associate professor of history at Purdue University.  She is author of Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life, (UNC Press, 2014) and co-editor of the history column at the Washington Post, Made By History.

Panelist: David Pietrusza, Author
David Pietrusza is the author of a series of studies of Twentieth Century Presidential electoral history that include 1920: the Year of the Six Presidents, 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR--Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny, 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America's Role in the World, and 1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies. 
His Judge & Jury captured the CASEY Award; his TR’s Last War and 1932 won the Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medals for American History and World History respectively. His Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series was a finalist for an Edgar Award. Kirkus honored 1920 as one of their "Books of the Year" 
Historian Richard Norton Smith has said, "David Pietrusza has a gift for making the past both real and dramatically gripping."
Pietrusza has appeared on Morning Joe, The Voice of America, The History Channel, The American Heroes Channel, ESPN, NPR, and C-SPAN.
He has spoken at the John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge presidential libraries and museums, as well as at various universities, libraries, museums (including the Chicago History Museum, Dallas' Sixth Floor Museum, Palm Beach's Flagler Museum, and Reno's National Automobile Museum), and festivals. He has keynoted the annual birthday ceremonies at the graves of presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester Alan Arthur and spoken at Wilton, New York's Grant Cottage, scene of the death of President Ulysses S. Grant.
He has appeared on numerous podcasts, including that of the United States World War One Centennial Commission and Roifield Brown's London-based “10 American President Presidents” series.
Prior to publishing the wide range of historical and political studies he is best noted for, Pietrusza distinguished himself in the field of sports (primarily baseball) publishing. He collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures. Pietrusza served as editor-in-chief of the publishing company Total Sports. He was co-editor of Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball and managing editor of Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. From 1993 to 1997, Pietrusza served as national president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). 
Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany.
He lives in upstate New York.