Campaigns and ElectionsPOL 232W
Prerequisite: READING LEVEL 2 or WRITING LEVEL 2. Examines state and local, congressional, and presidential campaigns. Emphasizes electoral rules; campaign organization and finance; candidate strategy; role of parties, interest groups, and media; campaign effects; and proposals for reform. (This course satisfies the American Government/Foundational Civics graduation requirement in all curricula.) (45-0)
Outcomes and Objectives
Demonstrate an understanding of the role of campaigns and elections in democracy.
- Examine why elections are essential to the democratic process.
- Evaluate the roles of masses and elites in the campaign and election processes.
- Define how parties, interest groups and the media connect citizens to government institutions, through the election process.
- Describe the role of elections as linkage institutions, in that they work to get individuals’ concerns on the public agenda.
Define the process and institutions involved in American campaigns.
- Cite the development of political parities through American history and summarize their role in the current campaign and election processes.
- Detail the organizational structure of political parties.
- Identify the differences between political parties and interest groups, and compare and contrast their roles in the election process.
- Measure the strength and weakness of parties in the modern campaigns.
- Summarize the role of news media and the campaign’s paid media in campaigns and their influence on the electorate.
Evaluate strategies employed by candidates to win campaigns.
- Assess the role of emotion in campaign appeals.
- Appraise candidate quality and the roles of party recruitment and candidate ambition.
- Categorize key roles and professional expertise in campaigns.
- Identify the roll of public opinion polling in campaign appeals.
- Evaluate positive and negative campaign advertising and assess its impact on the electorate.
- Discuss the influence of changing technology on fund raising and campaigning.
- Identify how the presidential nomination process and Electoral College determine campaign strategy in presidential elections.
Demonstrate an understanding of the operation of American elections.
- List the steps in State and Local, Congressional and Presidential elections.
- Describe electoral laws, unequal access to resources and constitutional structures that limit electoral competition.
- Review the failure of third parities to win elections.
- Investigate proposals for increasing electoral competition.
Demonstrate an understanding of how and why Americans vote (or not), how their partisan choices are formed and how this shapes campaigns.
- Trace how the right to vote in the United States has gradually expanded over a period of time.
- Analyze theories of voting behavior and partisanship formation.
- Assess the influence of public opinion and the limitations of polling.
- Debate alternatives for increasing voter turnout.
Explain weaknesses in the American electoral system and formulate potential reforms.
- Explain what role money plays in elections, distinguish between the effects of soft money and hard money in political campaigns.
- Identify incumbent advantages and the influence of gerrymandering.
- Explore alternative electoral, campaign and finance systems.
Evaluate responsible Party government.
- Determine the party’s role in organizing Congress.
- Observe the party’s influence on Congressional behavior.
- Evaluate the President’s influence as party leader.
Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.
- Analyze course content in written form.
- Explain the subject matter in a coherent writing style.
- Analyze and evaluate theories, positions, viewpoints, and ideas.
- Distinguish strong from weak arguments.
- Evaluate the credibility of sources of information.