Dec 07, 2023  
2019 - 2020 Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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POL 232W - Campaigns and Elections

Credits: 3
Instructional Contact Hours: 3

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.)

Prerequisite(s): READING LEVEL 2 or WRITING LEVEL 2
Corequisite(s): None
Lecture Hours: 45 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: Social Science
Pass/NoCredit: Yes

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

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