Saving Face and Raising Money Are Behind Election Lawsuits, Peterson Says

Professor of Public Policy Mark Peterson spoke to Elite Daily about President Trump’s refusal to concede loss of the 2020 election. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in battleground states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, claiming that the Democrats are trying to “steal the election” through fraud. According to Peterson, these suits have been brought without evidence. “Donald Trump as an individual just cannot accept loss, and no one around him wants to take on the force of his personality, internal hurts and capacity to lash out,” Peterson said. He sees the “simulated controversy” as a last-ditch effort to save face and an opportunity to keep money flowing into the Trump campaign to pay off debts and finance the Republican National Committee. He added that the GOP needs the conservative base in Georgia to “remain highly agitated and energized” for the high-stakes Senate runoff elections in January.

As Election Results Roll In, UCLA Luskin Experts Offer Insights

As the vote count from the 2020 election stretched into days, media outlets called on experts from UCLA Luskin to offer context and expertise. Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke to Elite Daily for a story on President Trump’s swift declaration of victory, which he called “the most serious assault on our democratic institutions of any president, at least in modern times.” Sonja Diaz, executive director of the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, offered insights on KTLA5 News, Peacock TV and radio programs including KPCC’s Air Talk (beginning at minute 19:30). Diaz spoke about a wide range of topics, including the Latino electorate’s impact in Florida and Arizona as well as on local ballot measures. Los Angeles Initiative Director Zev Yaroslavsky told KCAL9 News (beginning at minute 3:00) that the close presidential race vote signals a deep tribalism in the nation. “However it ends,” he said, “it’s going to be a very difficult road ahead for the country.” Yaroslavsky also told the Los Angeles Times that challenger Nithya Raman’s lead in a Los Angeles City Council race is “a political earthquake.”


Peterson on Health Care as a Voter Priority

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke to NPR about the role that access to health care has played in the 2020 election. Republicans who previously pushed for repealing and replacing Obamacare have skirted the issue this year, as voters have expressed overwhelming support for protections such as guaranteed coverage for those with preexisting medical conditions. Opposing the Affordable Care Act is “political suicide” in this election cycle, Peterson said. “There doesn’t seem to be any real political advantage anymore.” He also called the latest effort to strike down the ACA, which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, an “extraordinary stretch, even among many conservative legal scholars.” Peterson was also cited in a Kaiser Health News story on the election’s impact on California’s progressive health care ambitions and in a piece by the Spanish news agency EFE comparing President Trump’s crowded campaign rallies to Democrat Joe Biden’s physically distant events.

Peterson on Scenarios for a Messy Election Aftermath

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke to Elite Daily about a post-election scenario that has raised concerns: What would happen if President Trump lost reelection but refused to give up power? Trump has made multiple comments suggesting that he would not commit to stepping down if he lost the election. According to Peterson, this scenario is highly unlikely. Election results are verified through the Electoral College and then declared by Congress, he explained. An incumbent president who fails to win a second term yet refuses to leave the White House may be escorted off the premises by the newly elected president’s Secret Service detail once power changes hands on Inauguration Day. Peterson added that Trump’s claims of voter fraud are baseless and “undermine the confidence that people have in our institutions and in our elected officials.” And he expressed concern about potential violence from informal right-wing militias who might be triggered into action by a Trump loss.

Ideas and Expertise Exchanged at Post-Debate Forum

The UCLA Luskin Public Policy community came together after the final presidential debate of 2020 to hear insights from an array of experts on the U.S. political landscape: Dean Gary Segura, an authority on polls and other measures of political opinion; Chair Martin Gilens, whose research focuses on political inequality; Professor Mark Peterson, who specializes in health-care policy; Sonja Diaz, executive director of the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative; and Chad Dunn, director of litigation for the UCLA Voting Rights Project. During the 90-minute Zoom gathering, the speakers assessed the exchange between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which was deemed a step up from previous matchups, then fielded questions from students and alumni. The conversation touched on the accuracy of polling, the threat of voter intimidation, the electoral pathway to victory for each candidate, and even the risk that the country might veer toward fascism. Unless the vote count is tied up amid irregularities in a single, decisive state — as it was in Bush v. Gore in the 2000 race —Segura said the chance that the election’s outcome will be seriously challenged is small. “Try not to let the demons in your head and the demons from 2016 keep you awake at night,” he advised. The conversation was part of a series of forums designed to bring policy students, alumni, faculty and staff together to share concerns, perspectives and experiences within an informed and supportive community. At the next Policy Forum, on Nov. 5, faculty experts will parse the results of the election.


Peterson on Regulating Dialysis Clinics

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke to CalMatters about what’s at stake with Proposition 23, which would require dialysis centers to have at least one licensed physician on site during operating hours as well as requiring clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to the state and obtain state permission before closing a site or reducing services. Many Californians will vote on Proposition 23 despite having little or no experience with kidney failure or dialysis treatment. “It’s a highly technical issue in a realm that gets into … very specific clinical concerns about the nature of care,” Peterson said. “That is not something that any of us in the general public are trained in.” Opponents of Prop. 23 say the driving force behind the initiative is not patient care but rather a labor union’s desire to organize dialysis workers. Peterson suggested that regulating dialysis clinics might be better addressed through active deliberation in the state Legislature.

Peterson on Campaigns Reshaped by COVID-19

The Los Angeles Times spoke to Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson for a story about new strategies local candidates are using to get out the vote during a time of pandemic. Many candidates have replaced door-knocking and big rallies with virtual town halls and car caravans with signs and honking. Instead of traditional campaign stops, some have hosted community service projects, such as handing out food, diapers and masks emblazoned with the candidate’s name. Peterson said that it’s unclear how the ongoing pressures of the pandemic will shape decisions about local candidates, including whether voters will hold incumbent politicians accountable for L.A.’s handling of the COVID-19 threat. He also noted that the campaign timetable has been affected by the push toward early voting due to postal delays. People “may vote quite early, before you’ve even had a chance to reach them,” Peterson said.


Peterson on Due Diligence in Seating a Supreme Court Justice

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke to Elite Daily about the political battle over filling the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Peterson said there is no “election year rule” that would prohibit the confirmation of a high court justice in the heat of a presidential election. What’s most concerning, he said, is straying from norms that have developed over the years. These include thorough background checks of possible candidates and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that allow ample time for review of a nominee’s academic articles, speeches, written opinions, and other materials that shed light on judicial and policy positions. The entire process, including a floor debate followed by a vote, has historically taken an average of 70 days but could be accelerated by the Republican-led Senate and “there is nothing the Democrats or anyone in opposition can do to stop that from happening,” Peterson said.

Peterson on Strengths, Weaknesses of the Affordable Care Act

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson was featured in a virtual interview for the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law about his article “The ACA a Decade In: Resilience, Impact, and Vulnerabilities.” Peterson’s article highlighted the strengths and vulnerabilities of the Affordable Care Act 10 years after its enactment. In the interview, he pointed to the polarized political environment and the complexity of the bill as sources of weakness. Although the ACA started off as a Republican idea, he explained, stark partisanship prohibited modern Republicans from supporting it in the Senate. Peterson also mentioned that although almost everything in the bill was extremely popular, the public didn’t understand what was in it. “The strategy of building a health care reform plan not by replacing anything but by building on the existing structures resulted in an enormously complicated bill,” he said. “Most people did not know to what extent they were going to be affected by it.”

Peterson Evaluates Health of Decade-Old ACA

The state of the 10-year-old Affordable Care Act is the subject of a new article by Public Policy Professor Mark A. Peterson in a special two-issue publication of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. The advance publication of Peterson’s study, “The ACA a Decade In: Resilience, Impact, and Vulnerabilities,” is included in the first issue of the Duke University Press journal. Peterson, former editor of the journal, writes that in the decade since its enactment, the political health of the ACA — popularly known as Obamacare — has looked precarious. “It decidedly lacked the popular acclaim of the sort that arose to undergird programs like Social Security and Medicare,” Peterson says, but he adds that it has remained “viable and consequential despite Republican efforts to end it.” He also points out that, while the impact on insurance coverage has been substantial, it remains distant from universal coverage. “The ACA has revealed perhaps surprising resilience, put insurance cards into the hands of millions previously outside the system, and even contributed to some degree of reduced financial burdens,” Peterson argues. “At the same time, all of these gains have been incomplete, remain vulnerable and are threatened by underlying forces in the political economy.” Assessing the strengths and vulnerabilities of the act in its first 10 years, Peterson cautions that a path to a more secure future for either the ACA — or a more ambitious successor — is far from clear.