Dr. Bitecofer named Forecaster for MSNBC

Bitecofer selected to be one of the political analysts for 2020 election

With the 2020 election approaching quickly, the news cycle has been dominated by the examination of candidates and their platforms by political analysts from across the country. 

One of these analysts is none other than Christopher Newport University’s Dr. Rachel Bitecofer. Chosen by MSNBC to be the forecaster for the 2020 election, Bitecofer has been appearing on the network to give her predictions for the upcoming election. 

Before going over those predictions, it is important to examine how Bitecofer obtained this position and what made her passionate about political science in the first place. 

Bitecofer initially never had a college degree; living as a single mother, she began attending classes at a local community college and later obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in political science. 

She then went on to obtain her Doctorate in political science from the University of Oregon. 

After completing her education, Bitecofer began working as a lecturer in political science at Christopher Newport University. 

When asked about where her interest in political science came from, she explained that she admired the MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow and how she talked about subjects that other networks didn’t completely analyze. 

In addition to this, Bitecofer began her collegiate career during the backdrop of the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis. The ability to cover these events and examine their political ramification was very appealing to Bitecofer. 

After she explained her initial interest in the study of politics, Bitecofer was asked what the process was like to become the 2020 forecaster on MSNBC. She there was no application process or navigable system to go after a job such as an election forecaster. Bitecofer stated that she was picked by the network because she made herself known by doing research about how elections were being analyzed and how they were insufficient. From there, she stated that she leveraged social media to get her research in the public sphere. When asked if she could have controlled what network she went to, she responded that she liked MSNBC because of the previously mentioned reason of how the network dives into issues. Additionally, she stated that she was not fond of how networks like CNN focus on “headline issues” as opposed to issues that affect more people.  She mentioned that she was happy to appear on the Fox network but currently has not received any offers. She claimed Fox would not want to have her on because of her theory that the Democrats will do well at the ballot box.

After explaining the way she received her position, she was asked to clarify a previous comment about how she thought election coverages were insufficient. She claimed that there were many ways in which election coverages were unsatisfactory. As Dr. Bitecofer explained  many of “A list networks focus on the horse race.” Additionally,  she explained that many of these top tier journalism outlets have to rely on “rudimentary explanations for political phenomena” mainly because the individuals responsible for those explanations don’t have the proper training. One of the biggest issues she said was that many of the theories used to describe what is happening in elections are outdated in explaining what is actually happening at the ballot box. 

Lastly, she was asked what is was like working as a political analyst, having to constantly keep up with many different outlets of information, whether it’s social media, television or some other means. Bitecofer stated that it was a constant grind, specifically with campaigns and elections, which are her specialty. She went on to say that even those who have an interest in political science don’t typically have an interest or the stamina because of the consistent work that the job demands such as monitoring social media, conferences, and demographic data.  

~Colt Bradley, Staff Writer~


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