AP American Government

AP American Government
Unit 3: Political Culture (1) Public Opinion (5)Parties (7) Elections (8)
Mr. Andrew Conneen
Fall 2011
[email protected]
Unit 3 Syllabus:............................................................................3
Political Ideology Quiz.................................................................8
Ch. 1, Pages 19-24 Assignment:.................................................10
David Brooks: One Nation Slightly Divisible.............................12
Ch. 5, Pages 143-157 Assignment:.............................................17
Born Political Identity................................................................18
Are You My Mother?.................................................................20
With Libya's Megalomaniac 'Philosopher-King'........................21
Ch. 5, Pages 158-181 Assignment:.............................................23
From The Party’s Over..............................................................25
Ch. 7, Pages 219-239 Assignment:.............................................29
The Endless Campaign..............................................................31
Ch. 7, Pages 239-247 Assignment:.............................................33
Ch. 7, Pages 247-253 Assignment:.............................................34
Unit 3 Syllabus:
Political Culture (1) Public Opinion (5) Parties (7) and Elections (8)
For Monday, September 26: Complete Ideology quiz
In class on Tuesday, 9/27: Bring textbook for Ch.1, pages 19-24 questions; Complete Are you my
Mother? Part 1
For Wednesday, September 28: Read “One Nation, Slightly Divisible” and complete grid
For Friday, 9/30: Watch “So Goes the Nation”
For Monday, 10/3: Ch.5, pages 143-157 questions. Read Libya’s Megalomaniac “Philosopher
For Tuesday, 10/4: Born Political Identity due
For Wednesday, 10/5: Complete 2008 Presidential election data (in class assignment)
For Thursday, 10/6: Ch. 5, Pages 158-181 Assignment
For Tuesday, 10/11: Read “The Party’s Over” Questions + reading quiz
For Wednesday, 10/12: Are you my Mother? Part 2
For Thursday, 10/13: Bring textbook. Complete Ch. 7, Pages 219-239 in class
For Friday, 10/14: Read “The Endless Campaign” Complete Ch. 7, Pages 237-247
For Monday, 10/17: Complete Ch. 7, Pages 247-253
To Know Objectives
3. PARTICIPATION: Public Opinion, Political Parties and Campaigns/Elections
Define public opinion. Explain why public
policy often differs from public opinion.
What the public thinks about government and
politics (T.1)
People do not have well-formed opinions on
most issues (T.3)
Typical Americans do not carry around wellformed opinions about all aspects of politics
Describe where Americans get their political
values and explain the concept of political
The influence of parents on people’s values
and opinions (T.4) (T.15)
TRUST in government institutions has
dramatically declined since 1950 (T.10)
Americans tend to dislike government, they
are relatively happy with their Congressman
Political Socialization = political values are
passed to the next generation (MT.15)
Define what it means to be a LIBERAL and/
No significant increase among liberals,
moderates, or conservatives in the last 30
years (T.8)
Identify the factors that affect the validity of
public opinion polls.
RANDOM SAMPLE: is a carefully chosen
subgroup from a larger group of people (T.6)
Push poll is used to affect, rather than
measure, public opinion (T.7)
Mass survey a set of questions asked of a
random sample of people (T.16)
are either Democrats or Republicans (T.9)
Democrat issues: global warming; tax the
rich; gay marriage; guest-worker programs (T.
Republican issues: pro business tax policy;
against gay marriage; stricter immigration
policy (T.13)
African Americans most consistent
Identify which demographic groups vote
consistently for Democrats and Republicans.
Most Americans are neither strongly
conservative nor strongly liberal (T.2)
There are now more Independents than there
Identify which demographic groups have the
highest voter turnout.
Must be 18 to vote (T.40)
Lowest turnout among least educated (T.57)
Explain the relationship between
socioeconomic status and participation in
The higher ones socioeconomic status, the
greater the probability of active involvement
Evaluate the various forms of political
participation. What are grassroots?
People with strong party identification
volunteer for a party and its candidates (T.26)
Grassroots involves mobilizing local
supporters; ground game (T.53)
Explain the relationship between increasing
suffrage rights since and voter turnout.
Giving young people, 18-20, the right to vote
did not translate into high turnout rates
10. Discuss voter turnout patterns in American
Votes cast by citizens called ‘the popular
vote’ (T.38)
New trend is EARLY VOTING (T.42)
College graduates more likely to vote (MT.5)
Young people turn out at lower rates (MT.7)
Majority of electorate do not vote (MT.8)
Men and women vote at about the same rate
Party Identification is an important influence
when voting for President (MT.22)
11. Discuss the type of voters that vote in
primaries compared to those that vote in
general elections.
More affluent (MT.10)
12. Explain the significance of ‘split-ticket’
Voting for candidates of different parties on
the same ballot (MT.12)
13. Define referendum.
Determine whether citizens support an action
by their state legislature (MT.13) Vote on an
14. Define political efficacy.
Citizens’ belief that their vote matters;
government is responsive to the will of the
people (MT.14)
15. Identify the most common form of political
activity in American politics.
Voting in Presidential elections (MT.20)
16. Identify which positions (i.e. President,
Supreme Court, Senate, House of Reps)
registered voters directly elect.
Original Constitution gave voters a direct
choice in HOUSE elections only
President chosen by Electoral College;
Federal judges appointed
House and Senate only (MT.21)
17. Discuss differences between elections in the
US and elections in Europe. (i.e. voter
Lower than most Western democracies (MT.
18. What percentage of adults adopt the party
preference of their parents and which partisan
identification is most often transferred from
parent to child?
Family still an important factor but less so.
19. How has the ability of the family to promote a
partisan identification changed in recent
Family most important factor but declining
20. Explain why party identification has declined
in recent years.
Party identification is loyalty that people have
to one party (T.25)
21. Explain the effect of attending college on
political attitudes.
In most cases, a college degree makes one
more conservative
22. Discuss the affects of cross-cutting cleavages
in public opinion.
Issues that split political party coalitions (T.
23. Explain why voters in the South have become
progressively less attached to the Democratic
Southern Dixiecrats, conservatives who votes
for Democratic candidates, dealigned in the
1960s and joined the Republican Party due to
civil rights issues. States rights was an issue
adopted by Republicans in the 1960s. We
now talk about the “solid South” for
Republican candidates.
24. Explain the significance of the Motor Voter
Bill (1993). Define critical realignments and
explain why they have occurred [also known
as critical elections].
Motor Voter Bill was passed to address the
difficulty of voter registration; little impact.
When a large number of people change from
identifying with one political party to
identifying with the other (T.5) (MT.35,36)
When issues that divide the political parties
change in a way that cuts across existing
political coalitions (T.19)
The increase in people who identified as
independents was initially considered as
evidence of dealignment, a more recent
interpretation is that many of these voters do
have weak partisan attachments (T.27)
25. Define political parties and factions. Be able
to differentiate between parties and interest
groups. What did the Founding Fathers think
about political parties? What does the
Constitution say?
Political parties are an organization that
supports candidates for public office and tries
to unify elected officials behind common
goals (T.17)
Parties have brand names that evoke certain
positions or issues (T.21)
Loosely connected groups with similar goals
Parties help voters keep the government
accountable (T.32)
Career politicians motivated by interest in
careers, policy goals, and winning office (T.
Party caucus is an organization within
government that meets to discuss party
positions on issues (T.24)
Pol. parties seek to gain control of
government; interest groups seek to influence
public policy (MT.29)
Voters identifying themselves as either
Democrats or Republicans has been in decline
26. What are party platforms?
Written by delegates at national convention;
party’s objectives; influences party’s brand
name (T.31)
27. Discuss differences between political parties
in the U.S. and Europe. Where would
political parties be the most decentralized?
U.S. parties are loose coalitions; more
European parties, in parliamentary systems,
are more centralized and rigid ideologically
28. Explain the difference between unified and
divided governments.
Unified government = President and Congress
from the same political party
Divided government = President and
Congress from different political parties
29. Explain the primary and caucus process, as
well as the shift from party control over
candidates to voter control.
A primary election is a ballot vote to select a
party’s nominee (T.28)
Selecting presidential candidates: caucuses,
primaries, nominating conventions (T.29)
Citizens vote for delegates at a national
nominating convention which then selects the
candidate (T.30)
Open primary is an election in which any
registered voter can participate in selecting a
party nominee (T.41)
Closed primary requires registration as a party
affiliate to vote (MT.32)
Increasing importance of presidential
primaries rather than state conventions (MT.
30. Discuss the origin and function of party
conventions. What is a super delegate?
Democrats nominating convention
proportional; Republicans winner-take-all (T.
Attract attention; develop party platform;
select party’s presidential nomination (T.49)
31. Identify the key functions and purpose of the
party chairman.
Oversee and manage party functions
32. Define party machines and explain their role
in a democracy.
Spoils system rewards party supporters with
benefits, like government jobs (T.18)
Organization that uses unofficial patronage to
secure political power for a group of leaders
and workers (T.22)
Local party organization that is tightly
disciplined and well staffed and relies on
patronage to create party loyalty (MT.34)
33. Discuss the two-party system.
What factors
dissuade third parties from influencing
American politics?
Single-member districts; rules for getting on
ballots; lack of clear dissatisfaction (T.35)
Duverger’s law – only select one official per
seat (T.37)
Winner-take-all elections (MT.37)
34. What is the difference between a majority and
a plurality? Apply these concepts to U.S.
elections. How do plurality elections and the
winner-take-all system influence our two
party system? What is a popular vote?
Plurality elections mean the candidate with
the most votes wins (T.43) (MT.39)
35. Describe the role of third parties in U.S.
Examples: Libertarian Party, Reform Party;
Green Party (T.34)
36. Explain the differences in voters in primary
elections versus general elections, as well as
the different approaches that candidates take
to appeal to these voters. Define frontloading.
Critical players – political parties; interest
groups; private consultants (T.44)
Super Tuesday = day in February when many
state primaries take place (T.46)
Frontloading is the increasingly early
scheduling of primaries and caucuses (T.47)
N.H. (T.48)
Frontloading is the tendency of states to
choose an early date on the primary calendar
37. Identify the elections with the highest voter
Presidential elections
38. Summarize the differences between
presidential and congressional campaigns and
elections. Assess the difference between
normal and nationalized elections.
In normal elections there are high reelection
rates and local issues are important; in
nationalized elections reelection rates are
relatively low and important issues are the
same across legislative districts (T.39)
House determines winner if no candidate wins
a majority in the Electoral College (T.50)
Key is mobilizing supporters; ground game
When behind momentum gained through
attack ads (T.54)
39. Define presidential coattails and their impact
on elections.
When a popular president generates additional
support for legislative candidates and helps
them gain office (T.58)
40. Define incumbency.
Assess incumbency rates
for the House and the Senate.
An open seat is when there is no incumbent
Incumbency wards off competition; easier to
raise money (T.52)
Incumbent senators are less likely to be
reelected than are incumbent members of the
House (MT.27)
Most important factor in Congressional races
41. What are the potential problems for
candidates with televised debates?
Verbal slip ups
42. Describe the different ways that presidential
and congressional campaigns are funded.
Federal Election Commission regulates
elections (T.55)
Hard Money = funds that are subject to clear
limits on how much can be raised but not on
how much is spent (T.56)
PACs raise campaign funds to support favored
candidates; frequently represent business
Public monies are used to help finance
Presidential campaigns only (MT.25)
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
(McCain-Feingold) banned soft money (MT.
43. Differentiate between red and blue counties.
Red = Republican
Blue = Democrat
The following Illinois SEL goals will govern
our classroom:
1. Develop self-awareness and selfmanagement skills to achieve school and
life success.
2. Use social-awareness and interpersonal
skills to establish and maintain positive
3. Demonstrate decision-making skills and
responsible behaviors in personal, school,
and community contexts.
Additionally the following values will be
nurtured in all citizens entering this academic
Self Discipline; Compassion; Responsibility;
Friendship; Work; Courage; Perseverance;
Honesty; Loyalty; Faith
Political Ideology Quiz
Read the following statements and rate your approval: 0 for strongly disagree; 1 disagree; 2 not sure; 3 agree; 4 strongly agree.
Add up all of your point totals that you placed next to the odd numbered statements (Liberal).
Add up all of your point totals that you placed next to the even numbered statements (Conservative).
What is the difference between the two?
Place yourself on the political spectrum based on your score.
1._____ The economy benefits more from tax cuts on working class people.
2._____ If a majority of students agree, a public high school should give students an opportunity to pray during the
morning announcements.
3._____ Government spending can help grow the economy more than tax cuts.
4._____ The economy benefits more from tax cuts on the wealthiest people.
5._____ Failing schools will improve if the government gives them more money.
6._____ It should be illegal to burn the American flag.
7._____ To make up for past discrimination, the government should require companies to hire women and
8._____ Law abiding citizens should be able to carry guns in public with a minimal amount of training.
9._____ Immigration helps the country more than it hurts the country.
10.____ Marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals.
11.____ Abortions should be legal for women throughout all 9 months of pregnancy.
12.____ The government should not be allowed to tax sales on the internet.
13.____ The U.S. should try to negotiate peace deals with militant Islamic groups.
14.____ Individuals should be allowed to invest the money they pay in Social Security.
15.____ The American government should pay reparations to the descendants of former slaves.
16.____ The problem with the death penalty is that it doesn’t occur as quickly or as often as it should.
17.____ The government should allow gay couples to adopt children.
18.____ Health insurance companies do a better job of providing health coverage than the government could do.
19.____ Government should spend significant money to save the American auto industry.
20.____ The government lets too many immigrants into the country.
21.____ Even accused terrorists deserve full Constitutional rights.
22.____ The government should regulate abortions to make them more rare.
23.____ Decriminalizing drugs would solve more problems than it would create.
24.____ The government should be allowed to use waterboarding when interrogating suspected terrorists.
25.____ Public school students should be required to do 40 hours of community service before graduation.
26.____ Colleges should have the same standards in admitting students of different racial groups.
27.____ The government should provide more educational opportunities to prisoners to reduce the chance of repeat
28.____ Failing schools should be held accountable by forfeiting government funding.
29.____ The government should take extreme measures to get companies to reduce carbon emissions.
30.____ The government can solve the drug problem by getting tougher on drug dealers.
31.____ The government should make health coverage more equal for all Americans.
32.____ The best way to deal with militant Islamic groups is with force.
33.____ The government should work to reduce the total number of guns that are sold.
34.____ The government does a pretty good job of protecting the environment.
Class notes-- Define the following:
Political Ideology--
Economic Issues—belief in …
Economic Issues—belief in …
Social Issues—belief in…
Social Issues—belief in…
Ch. 1, Pages 19-24 Assignment:
Directions: Read Ch. 1, pages 19-24 in the textbook and answer on a separate sheet of paper.
(Be sure to restate the vocabulary of each question.)
1. Define free market:
2. Define economic individualism:
3. Define redistributive tax policy:
4. Explain how Democrats and Republicans tend to differ when it comes to these economic
(Class discussion and notes) Define political culture.
5. Define culture wars:
6. Describe the how the gender gap has changed over time.
7. Define ideology:
8. Define conservative:
9. Define liberal:
10.Define libertarian:
(Class discussion and notes) Define Red + Blue America
(Class discussion and notes) Define social capital, Bowling Alone, civic society
David Brooks: One Nation Slightly Divisible
The Atlantic Monthly | December 2001
The electoral map of the 2000 presidential race became famous: big blocks of red (denoting states that went for
Bush) stretched across the heartland, with brackets of blue (denoting states for Gore) along the coasts. Our Blue
America correspondent has ventured repeatedly into Red territory. He asks the question—after September 11, a
pressing one—Do our differences effectively split us into two nations, or are they just cracks in a still-united whole?
Sixty-five miles from where I am writing this
sentence is a place with no Starbucks, no Pottery
Barn, no Borders or Barnes & Noble. No blue New
York Times delivery bags dot the driveways on
Sunday mornings. In this place people don't complain
that Woody Allen isn't as funny as he used to be,
because they never thought he was funny. In this
place you can go to a year's worth of dinner parties
without hearing anyone quote an aperçu he first heard
on Charlie Rose. The people here don't buy those
little rear-window stickers when they go to a summervacation spot so that they can drive around with
"MV" decals the rest of the year; for the most part
they don't even go to Martha's Vineyard.
The place I'm talking about goes by different names.
Some call it America. Others call it Middle America.
It has also come to be known as Red America, in
reference to the maps that were produced on the night
of the 2000 presidential election. People in Blue
America, which is my part of America, tend to live
around big cities on the coasts. People in Red
America tend to live on farms or in small towns or
small cities far away from the coasts. Things are
different there.
Everything that people in my neighborhood do
without motors, the people in Red America do with
motors. We sail; they powerboat. We cross-country
ski; they snowmobile. We hike; they drive ATVs. We
have vineyard tours; they have tractor pulls. When it
comes to yard work, they have rider mowers; we have
illegal aliens.
Different sorts of institutions dominate life in these
two places. In Red America churches are everywhere.
In Blue America Thai restaurants are everywhere. In
Red America they have QVC, the Pro Bowlers Tour,
and hunting. In Blue America we have NPR, Doris
Kearns Goodwin, and socially conscious investing. In
Red America the Wal-Marts are massive, with parking
lots the size of state parks. In Blue America the stores
are small but the markups are big. You'll rarely see a
Christmas store in Blue America, but in Red America,
even in July, you'll come upon stores selling fake
Christmas trees, wreath-decorated napkins, Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer collectible thimbles and
spoons, and little snow-covered villages.
We in the coastal metro Blue areas read more books
and attend more plays than the people in the Red
heartland. We're more sophisticated and cosmopolitan
—just ask us about our alumni trips to China or
Provence, or our interest in Buddhism. But don't ask
us, please, what life in Red America is like. We don't
know. We don't know who Tim LaHaye and Jerry B.
Jenkins are, even though the novels they have cowritten have sold about 40 million copies over the
past few years. We don't know what James Dobson
says on his radio program, which is listened to by
millions. We don't know about Reba or Travis. We
don't know what happens in mega-churches on
Wednesday evenings, and some of us couldn't tell you
the difference between a fundamentalist and an
evangelical, let alone describe what it means to be a
Pentecostal. Very few of us know what goes on in
Branson, Missouri, even though it has seven million
visitors a year, or could name even five NASCAR
drivers, although stock-car races are the best-attended
sporting events in the country. We don't know how to
shoot or clean a rifle. We can't tell a military officer's
rank by looking at his insignia. We don't know what
soy beans look like when they're growing in a field.
All we know, or all we think we know, about Red
America is that millions and millions of its people
live quietly underneath flight patterns, many of them
are racist and homophobic, and when you see them at
highway rest stops, they're often really fat and their
clothes are too tight. ..
Crossing the Meatloaf Line
Over the past several months, my interest piqued by
those stark blocks of color on the election-night maps,
I have every now and then left my home in
Montgomery County, Maryland, and driven sixty-five
miles northwest to Franklin County, in south-central
Pennsylvania. Montgomery County is one of the
steaming-hot centers of the great espresso machine
that is Blue America. It is just over the border from
northwestern Washington, D.C., and it is full of
upper-middle-class towns inhabited by lawyers,
doctors, stockbrokers, and establishment journalists
like me—towns like Chevy Chase, Potomac, and
Bethesda (where I live). Its central artery is a
burgeoning high-tech corridor with a multitude of
sparkling new office parks housing technology
companies such as United Information Systems and
Sybase, and pioneering biotech firms such as Celera
Genomics and Human Genome Sciences. When I
drive to Franklin County, I take Route 270. After
about forty-five minutes I pass a Cracker Barrel—Red
America condensed into chain-restaurant form. I've
crossed the Meatloaf Line; from here on there will be
a lot fewer sun-dried-tomato concoctions on
restaurant menus and a lot more meatloaf platters.
Franklin County is Red America. It's a rural county,
about twenty-five miles west of Gettysburg, and it
includes the towns of Waynesboro, Chambersburg,
and Mercersburg. It was originally settled by the
Scotch-Irish, and has plenty of Brethren and
Mennonites along with a fast-growing population of
evangelicals. The joke that Pennsylvanians tell about
their state is that it has Philadelphia on one end,
Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle.
Franklin County is in the Alabama part. It strikes me
as I drive there that even though I am going north
across the Mason-Dixon line, I feel as if I were going
south. The local culture owes more to Nashville,
Houston, and Daytona than to Washington,
Philadelphia, or New York.
I shuttled back and forth between Franklin and
Montgomery Counties because the cultural
differences between the two places are great, though
the geographic distance is small. The two places are
not perfect microcosms of Red and Blue America.
The part of Montgomery County I am here describing
is largely the Caucasian part. Moreover, Franklin
County is in a Red part of a Blue state: overall,
Pennsylvania went for Gore. And I went to Franklin
County aware that there are tremendous differences
within Red America, just as there are within Blue.
Franklin County is quite different from, say,
Scottsdale, Arizona, just as Bethesda is quite different
from Oakland, California.
Nonetheless, the contrasts between the two counties
leap out, and they are broadly suggestive of the sorts
of contrasts that can be seen nationwide. When Blue
America talks about social changes that convulsed
society, it tends to mean the 1960s rise of the
counterculture and feminism. When Red America
talks about changes that convulsed society, it tends to
mean World War II, which shook up old town
establishments and led to a great surge of industry.
Red America makes social distinctions that Blue
America doesn't. For example, in Franklin County
there seems to be a distinction between those fiercely
independent people who live in the hills and people
who live in the valleys. I got a hint of the distinct and,
to me, exotic hill culture when a hill dweller asked
me why I thought hunting for squirrel and rabbit had
gone out of fashion. I thought maybe it was just more
fun to hunt something bigger. But he said,
"McDonald's. It's cheaper to get a hamburger at
McDonald's than to go out and get it yourself."
There also seems to be an important distinction
between men who work outdoors and men who work
indoors. The outdoor guys wear faded black T-shirts
they once picked up at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and
wrecked jeans that appear to be washed faithfully at
least once a year. They've got wraparound NASCAR
sunglasses, maybe a NAPA auto parts cap, and hair
cut in a short wedge up front but flowing down over
their shoulders in the back—a cut that is known as a
mullet, which is sort of a cross between Van Halen's
style and Kenny Rogers's, and is the ugliest hairdo
since every hairdo in the seventies. The outdoor guys
are heavily accessorized, and their accessories are
meant to show how hard they work, so they will often
have a gigantic wad of keys hanging from a belt loop,
a tape measure strapped to the belt, a pocket knife on
a string tucked into the front pants pocket, and a
pager or a cell phone affixed to the hip, presumably in
case some power lines go down somewhere and need
emergency repair. Outdoor guys have a thing against
sleeves. They work so hard that they've got to keep
their arm muscles unencumbered and their armpit hair
fully ventilated, so they either buy their shirts
sleeveless or rip the sleeves off their T-shirts first
thing, leaving bits of fringe hanging over their BAD
TO THE BONE tattoos.
The guys who work indoors can't project this rugged
proletarian image. It's simply not that romantic to be a
bank-loan officer or a shift manager at the local
distribution center. So the indoor guys adopt a look
that a smart-ass, sneering Blue American might call
Bible-academy casual—maybe Haggar slacks, which
they bought at a dry-goods store best known for its
appliance department, and a short-sleeved white Van
Heusen shirt from the Bon-Ton. Their image projects
not "I work hard" but "I'm a devoted family man." A
lot of indoor guys have a sensitive New Age
demeanor. When they talk about the days their kids
were born, their eyes take on a soft Garth Brooks
expression, and they tear up. They exaggerate how
sinful they were before they were born again. On
Saturdays they are patio masters, barbecuing on their
gas grills in full Father's Day-apron regalia.
At first I thought the indoor guys were the faithful,
reliable ones: the ones who did well in school,
whereas the outdoor guys were druggies. But after
talking with several preachers in Franklin County, I
learned that it's not that simple. Sometimes the guys
who look like bikers are the most devoted
community-service volunteers and church attendees.
The kinds of distinctions we make in Blue America
are different. In my world the easiest way to
categorize people is by headroom needs. People who
went to business school or law school like a lot of
headroom. They buy humongous sport-utility vehicles
that practically have cathedral ceilings over the front
seats. They live in homes the size of country clubs,
with soaring entry atriums so high that they could
practically fly a kite when they come through the
front door. These big-headroom people tend to be
predators: their jobs have them negotiating and
competing all day. They spend small fortunes on dry
cleaning. They grow animated when talking about
how much they love their blackberries. They fill their
enormous wall space with huge professional family
portraits—Mom and Dad with their perfect kids
(dressed in light-blue oxford shirts) laughing happily
in an orchard somewhere.
Small-headroom people tend to have been liberal-arts
majors, and they have liberal-arts jobs. They get
passive-aggressive pleasure from demonstrating how
modest and environmentally sensitive their living
containers are. They hate people with SUVs, and feel
virtuous driving around in their low-ceilinged little
Hondas, which often display a RANDOM ACTS OF
KINDNESS bumper sticker or one bearing an image
of a fish with legs, along with the word "Darwin," just
to show how intellectually superior to fundamentalist
Christians they are.
Some of the biggest differences between Red and
Blue America show up on statistical tables. Ethnic
diversity is one. In Montgomery County 60 percent of
the population is white, 15 percent is black, 12
percent is Hispanic, and 11 percent is Asian. In
Franklin County 95 percent of the population is
white. White people work the gas-station pumps and
the 7-Eleven counters. (This is something one doesn't
often see in my part of the country.) Although the
nation is growing more diverse, it's doing so only in
certain spots. According to an analysis of the 2000
census by Bill Frey, a demographer at the Milken
Institute, well over half the counties in America are
still at least 85 percent white.
Another big thing is that, according to 1990 census
data, in Franklin County only 12 percent of the adults
have college degrees and only 69 percent have high
school diplomas. In Montgomery County 50 percent
of the adults have college degrees and 91 percent
have high school diplomas. The education gap
extends to the children. At Walt Whitman High
School, a public school in Bethesda, the average SAT
scores are 601 verbal and 622 math, whereas the
national average is 506 verbal and 514 math. In
Franklin County, where people are quite proud of
their schools, the average SAT scores at, for example,
the Waynesboro area high school are 495 verbal and
480 math. More and more kids in Franklin County are
going on to college, but it is hard to believe that their
prospects will be as bright as those of the kids in
Montgomery County and the rest of upscale Blue
Because the information age rewards education with
money, it's not surprising that Montgomery County is
much richer than Franklin County. According to some
estimates, in Montgomery County 51 percent of
households have annual incomes above $75,000, and
the average household income is $100,365. In
Franklin County only 16 percent of households have
incomes above $75,000, and the average is $51,872.
A major employer in Montgomery County is the
National Institutes of Health, which grows like a
scientific boomtown in Bethesda. A major economic
engine in Franklin County is the interstate highway
Route 81. Trucking companies have gotten sick of
fighting the congestion on Route 95, which runs up
the Blue corridor along the northeast coast, so they
move their stuff along 81, farther inland. Several new
distribution centers have been built along 81 in
Franklin County, and some of the workers who were
laid off when their factories closed, several years ago,
are now settling for $8.00 or $9.00 an hour loading
The two counties vote differently, of course—the
differences, on a nationwide scale, were what led to
those red-and-blue maps. Like upscale areas
everywhere, from Silicon Valley to Chicago's North
Shore to suburban Connecticut, Montgomery County
supported the Democratic ticket in last year's
presidential election, by a margin of 63 percent to 34
percent. Meanwhile, like almost all of rural America,
Franklin County went Republican, by 67 percent to
30 percent.
However, other voting patterns sometimes obscure
the Red-Blue cultural divide. For example, minority
voters all over the country overwhelmingly supported
the Democratic ticket last November. But—in many
respects, at least—blacks and Hispanics in Red
America are more traditionalist than blacks and
Hispanics in Blue America, just as their white
counterparts are. For example, the Pew Research
Center for the People and the Press, in Washington,
D.C., recently found that 45 percent of minority
members in Red states agree with the statement
"AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral
sexual behavior," but only 31 percent of minority
members in Blue states do. Similarly, 40 percent of
minorities in Red states believe that school boards
should have the right to fire homosexual teachers, but
only 21 percent of minorities in Blue states do.
From Cracks to a Chasm?
These differences are so many and so stark that they
lead to some pretty troubling questions: Are
Americans any longer a common people? Do we have
one national conversation and one national culture?
Are we loyal to the same institutions and the same
values? How do people on one side of the divide
regard those on the other? …
Red v. Blue America
Directions: After reading the above excerpt by David Brooks, complete the following grid.
Red America
Blue America
Describe difference in
Describe the difference
in shopping habits
Describe the difference
in career aspirations
Describe the difference
in outdoor hobbies
Describe the difference
in automobiles
Ch. 5, Pages 143-157 Assignment:
Directions: Read Ch. 1, pages 143-157 in the textbook and answer on a separate sheet of paper.
(Be sure to restate the vocabulary of each question.)
1. Describe three factors that can cause a person’s political opinions to change:
2. Summarize the data from Figure 5.2. Explain what this indicates about who will win the
next presidential election.
3. Research the latest approval ratings for the President. Describe how these ratings compare
and contrast with the data from Figure 5.3.
4. Define political socialization:
5. Describe 7 factors that can shape political socialization.
6. Using the data on Table 5.2, explain which group characteristics create the widest
differences in public opinion. Then explain which group characteristics create the least
differences in public opinion.
(Class notes--define political efficacy)
Born Political Identity
An Exercise in Intergeneratonial Social Studies
Directions: Talk to an adult family member and type a 1 page analysis of their
political ideology, party affiliation and political efficacy.
Your analysis should include the following:
• A description of this person’s political ideology and three factors that
influenced the development of this person’s political ideology. (Ideology is the
person’s beliefs about what government should do...i.e. liberal/conservative.)
• A description of this person’s association (or non-association) with a political
party and a description of the factors that influenced this association.
• A description of this person’s political efficacy and the factors that influenced
this person’s political efficacy (Efficacy is the person’s belief that voting and
other involvement matters.
--Focus on HOW the person interviewed developed their beliefs.
Are You My Mother?
Directions: You will chart and explain the political ideology of political parties and current
elected officials.
Part 1:
• Read the 1996 Party Platforms (Dems + GOP)
-- Underline 3 liberal stances (one must be from the GOP)
-- Circle 3 conservative stances (one must be from the Dems)
Part 2:
• You should research the political viewpoints of four candidates using their websites or
periodical websites.
President-• Mitt Romney
• Ron Paul
• Michelle Bachman
10th Congressional District-• Bob Dold
• Brad Schneider
• Rick Perry
• Barak Obama
• Ilya Sheyman
1. Chart the (2) names on an ideological chart to accurately depict the officials’ political
Alan Keyes
2. For each official, cut and paste 2 quotes from a website or publication that clearly indicate
each official’s ideology. Then briefly describe why these quotes are liberal, conservative or
moderate. (Cite each source!)
Example: Alan Keyes
• “I will do everything in my power to overthrow Roe vs. Wade and get us back where we belong in the
acknowledgment of God.”
Source: http://www.issues2000.org/Celeb/Alan_Keyes_Abortion.htm
• “If they tell us that we cannot pray in the classroom, we should pray.”
Source: http://www.issues2000.org/Celeb/Alan_Keyes_Education.htm
Explanation: Both quotes indicate that Alan Keyes should be placed on the far right of the political
spectrum. His quotes demonstrate that he supports government promotion of traditional social values like making
abortions illegal and returning prayer to public schools.
With Libya's Megalomaniac 'Philosopher-King'
In a tent in the desert, Gadhafi explained why he could never tolerate
any challenge to his supreme will
By Robert D. Putnam
The Wall Street Journal February 26, 2011
On Jan. 19, 2007, my wife, Rosemary, and I
spent several hours with Col. Moammar Gadhafi
in his tent in the Libyan desert, sipping tea and
discussing sociology and political theory. It was a
strange encounter at the time, and after the
horrific events of the past week in Libya, it seems
stranger still.
Several months earlier a former student of
mine, working for an international consulting
firm that was advising the Libyan government on
economic and political reform, had called to see
whether I might be interested in traveling to
Libya to discuss my research on civil society and
democracy, particularly "Making Democracy
Work," my book on why democracy functions
well in northern Italy but not in the country's
south. My hosts were willing to pay my standard
consulting fee, and to be honest, I was curious.
Col. Gadhafi fancied himself an intellectual, I
was told, and considered his own "Green Book"
an original contribution to political philosophy.
We were kept waiting for more than 24
hours in a dormitory outside the provincial town
of Sirte, Col. Gadhafi's birthplace. But early the
next morning, in a caravan of Mercedes
limousines, we raced at 90 miles per hour across
the Libyan desert to a walled enclosure
containing a one-mile square patch of desert,
populated by some Land Rovers, a few
communications vans and motor homes, lots of
men with guns, and several tents set amid fields
of wildflowers. We were quickly ushered to the
entrance of the largest tent, and there, standing
just inside, was Col. Gadhafi, wearing a black
skull cap and a brown blanket thrown over what
looked like black pajamas.
We all shook hands and sat down, with Col.
Gadhafi behind a table, the translator to his left,
me to his right, and Rosemary and a note-taker
to my right. Nowhere at the camp did we see the
scurrying aides that accompany heads of state in
more institutionalized regimes; Col. Gadhafi
seemed curiously alone. It was a modest setting.
We sat in white molded-plastic patio chairs of
the sort familiar in any American suburb. Inside
the tent were four radiators, several neon lights
and a television. The floor was covered in layers
of carpet over the desert gravel.
Col. Gadhafi faced out the entrance of the
tent, overlooking eucalyptus trees, lavender
wildflowers, a wood fire and a small herd of
camels. Throughout the discussion he idly waved
a palm frond to shoo flies. The tableau gave the
impression that we were seated in a pastoral
Bedouin landscape, guests of a local chieftain.
Col. Gadhafi looked ill at first. With his lined
and pockmarked face, he resembled the aging
Mick Jagger, and he mumbled. But as the
conversation progressed, he became more
animated. He clearly understood some English,
occasionally saying "Yes" or "I agree" before the
translator had spoken.
We had a lively conversation for two hours
about his political ideas, my own writings, and
how the development of civil society might be
applied to democratic reform in Libya. Col.
Gadhafi is inordinately proud of his Green Book,
an archaic mixture of primitive socialism, 1960sstyle "people power" rhetoric, and traditional
Bedouin values; it has been the touchstone and
straightjacket for politics in Libya for nearly four
I noted his emphasis on social solidarity in
the Green Book, but added that in the modern
world, he needed to extend his ideas to include
civil society, voluntary groups and freedom of
association. I drew examples from my own
childhood in small-town Ohio, but my argument
gave the translator problems. Libyan history
includes nothing remotely analogous to Rotary
or Little League or the Knights of Columbus, so
we settled on "veterans' associations" as the only
intelligible illustration of my argument.
Students of Western political philosophy
would categorize Col. Gadhafi as a quintessential
student of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: He made
clear that he deeply distrusted any political group
that might stand between individual citizens and
the "General Will" as interpreted by the
Legislator (i.e., Col. Gadhafi himself). When I
argued that freedom of association could
enhance democratic stability, he vehemently
dismissed the idea. That might be so in the West,
he insisted, but in Libya it would simply
strengthen tribalism, and he would not stand for
Throughout, he styled our meeting as a
conversation between two profound political
thinkers, a trope that approached the absurd
when he observed that there were international
organizations for many professions nowadays,
but none for philosopher-kings. "Why don't we
make that happen?" he proposed with a straight
face. I smiled, at a loss for words. Col. Gadhafi
was a tyrant and a megalomaniac, not a
philosopher-king, but our visit left me convinced
that he was not a simple man.
Was this a serious conversation or an
elaborate farce? Naturally, I came away thinking
—hoping—that I had managed to sway Col.
Gadhafi in some small way, but my wife was
skeptical. Two months later I was invited back to
a public roundtable in Libya, but by then I had
concluded that the whole exercise was a publicrelations stunt, and I declined.
In reflecting today on the future of
democracy in Libya and the rest of North Africa,
I'm drawn to the work of two influential
sociologists, Moisey Ostrogorsky and Robert
Michels. They taught generations of political
scientists that power in the modern world rests
on the underlying social order, so to ask "who
will rule?" is to ask "who is best organized?" In
Russia in 1917 the answer was the Bolsheviks, in
Iran in 1979 the answer was Khomeini's Islamic
militants, and in Egypt in 2011 the answer
appears to be the military.
The saddest legacy of Moammar Gadhafi
and his brutal revolutionary philosophy may be
that, in Libya in 2011, the answer seems to be
"no one at all."
—Mr. Putnam is a professor of public policy at
Harvard. His books include "Bowling Alone: The
Collapse and Revival of American Community" and
"Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern
Ch. 5, Pages 158-181 Assignment:
Directions: Read Ch. 1, pages 158-181 in the textbook and answer on a separate sheet of paper.
(Be sure to restate the vocabulary of each question.)
1. Define random sample:
2. Define push poll:
3. Define sampling error:
4. Describe three factors in mass surveys that can cause problems in measuring public
5. Use figure 5.4 to describe how the ideological views of the American public have changed
over the last three decades.
6. Use figure 5.5 to describe three trends of party identification seen since the 1970s.
7. Use figure 5.6 to describe the trend of trust in government since the 1950s. Explain why
this trend seemed to happen.
8. Explain why Americans can have a favorable view of their “representatives” while having
a negative viewpoint of their “government.”
(Class discussion)
question in Figure 5.8?
What’s a strange implication that you can make about the polling
8. Explain why it’s difficult to get an accurate measure of public opinion on an issue like
health care reform.
9. L i n k t o h t t p : / / w w w. r e a l c l e a r p o l i t i c s . c o m / e p o l l s / 2 0 1 2 / p r e s i d e n t / u s /
• Link to a specific opinion poll of the 2012 presidential election and find the following:
A. Describe the most significant result of the opinion poll data.
B. Identify how many people were surveyed.
C. Identify the number and type of people who were surveyed (Republican voters,likely
voters, any American, etc.)
D. Describe the methods used to conduct the interview (live callers v. robo calls, calls to land
lines v. calls to cell phones.)
E. Identify the margin of sampling error for this survey.
From The Party’s Over
by David Broder (Harper and Row, 1972)
As his book title cleverly implies, journalist
David Broder acknowledges the decline of
American political parties. Writing in the early
1970s, he mourns their weakening and holds out
hope for a reinvigorated party system. Broder
attributes many of America's governmental
problems to the parties' problems, and he pleads
for stronger party unity in Congress and an
expanded role for parties in the campaign
process. Turning to voters, Broder asks for less
ticket-splitting and more partisan allegiance. As
the decades have passed, Broder observations
about the decline of the parties - dealignment, as
scholars term it - have been borne out. His hopes
for the rejuvenation of American political parties
have proved less promising. Among most voters
and even many office-holders, the Democratic
and Republican parties are no longer the heart
of the American political process.
My view is that American politics is at an
impasse, that we have been spinning our wheels
for a long, long time; and that we are going to
dig ourselves ever deeper into trouble, unless we
find a way to develop some political traction and
move again. I believe we can get that traction,
we can make government responsible and
responsive again, only when we begin to use the
political parties as they are meant to be used.
And that is the thesis of this book.
It is called The Party’s Over, not in prophecy, but
in alarm. I am not predicting the demise of the
Republicans or the Democrats. Party loyalties
have been seriously eroded, the Democratic and
Republican organizations weakened by years of
neglect. But our parties are not yet dead. What
happens to them is up to us to decide. If we
allow them to wither, we will pay a high price in
the continued frustration of government. But,
even if we seek their renewal, the cost of
repairing the effects of decades of governmental
inaction will be heavy. The process will be
painful and expensive. Whatever the fate of our
political parties, for America the party is over...
... The reason we have suffered governmental
stalemate is that we have not used the one
instrument available to us for disciplining
government to meet our needs. That instrument
is the political party.
Political parties in America have a peculiar status
and history. They are not part of our written
Constitution. The Founding Fathers, in fact, were
determined to do all they could to see they did
not arise. Washington devoted much of his
Farewell Address to warning his countrymen
against “the dangers of party in the state.” And
yet parties arose in the first generation of the
nation, and have persisted ever since. Their very
durability argues that they fill a need. That need
is for some institution that will sort out, weigh,
and, to the extent possible, reconcile the myriad
conflicting needs and demands of individuals,
groups, interests, communities and regions in
this diverse continental Republic, organize them
for the contest for public office; and then serve
as a link between the constituencies and the men
chosen to govern. When the parties fill their
mission well, they tend to serve both a unifying
and a clarifying function for the country.
Competitive forces draw them to the center, and
force them to seek agreement on issues too
intense to be settled satisfactorily by simple
majority referendum. On the other hand, as
grand coalitions, they are capable of taking a
need felt strongly by some minority of the
population and making it part of a program
endorsed by a majority.
When they do not function well, things go badly
for America. The coming of the Civil War was
marked by a failure of the reconciling function
of the existing parties. Long periods of
stagnation, too, can be caused by the failure of
the parties to bring emerging public questions to
the point of electoral decision. When the parties
fail, individual citizens feel they have lost
control of what is happening in politics and in
government. They find themselves powerless to
influence the course of events. Voting seems
futile and politics a pointless charade....
The governmental system is not working
because the political parties are not working. The
parties have been weakened by their failure to
adapt to some of the social and technological
changes taking place in America. But, even
more, they are suffering from simple neglect:
neglect by Presidents and public officials, but,
particularly, neglect by the voters. It is to remind
us that the parties can be used for positive
purposes that this book is written.
Some students of government who share this
view of the importance of political parties in
American government nonetheless think it futile
to exhort readers on their behalf. Such political
scientists as James L. Sundquist and Walter Dean
Burnham, whose knowledge of American
political history is far deeper than my own,
believe we are simply in the wrong stage of the
political cycle to expect anything but confused
signals and weak responses from the parties.
The last major party realignment, it is generally
agreed, took place in 1932, and set the stage for
the New Deal policies of government
intervention in the economy and the
development of the welfare state. We are, these
scholars argue, perhaps overdue for another
realigmnent, but until an issue emerges which
will produce one, an issue as powerful as the
Great Depression, it is futile to complain that
party lines are muddled and governmental action
is all but paralyzed. Their judgment may be
correct, but I do not find it comforting. The
cyclical theory of party realignment is an easy
rationalization for throwing up our hands and
doing nothing. But we do not know when the
realignment will take place. Some scholars have
thought there was a thirty-six-year cycle, with
1896 and 1932 as the last “critical elections.”
But 1968, the scheduled date, on this theory, for
another "critical election," has come and gone,
and our drift continues....
... Basically, I believe that our guarantee of selfgovernment is no stronger than our exercise of
self-government; and today the central
instruments of self-government, the political
parties, are being neglected or abused. We must
somehow rescue them if we are to rescue
ourselves ....
... Popular dissatisfaction with the two-party
system is manifested in many ways: by the
decline in voting; by the rise in the number of
voters who refuse to identify themselves with
either party; by the increase in ticket splitting, a
device for denying either party responsibility for
government; and by the increased use of third
parties or ad hoc political coalitions to pressure
for change.... Is there not a better way to resolve
our differences, to move ahead on our common
problems? I believe there is.... The instrument
that is available to us ... is the instrument of
responsible party government. The alternative to
making policy in the streets is to make it in the
voting booth....
But, if that is to be more than a cliché answer,
there must be real choices presented at election
time--choices involving more than a selection
between two sincere-sounding, photogenic
graduates of some campaign consultant's
academy of political and dramatic arts. The
candidates must come to the voters with
programs that are comprehensible and relevant
to our problems; and they must have the kind of
backing that makes it possible for them to act on
their pledges once in office.
The instrument, the only instrument I know of,
that can nominate such candidates, commit them
to a program and give them the leverage and
alliances in government that can enable them to
keep their promises, is the political party...
. . . Where do we turn? To ourselves. Obviously,
that must be the answer. There is no solution for
America except what we Americans devise. I
believe that we have the instrument at hand, in
the party system, that can break the long and
costly impasse in our government. But it is up to
us to decide whether to use it.
What would it entail on our part if we
determined to attempt responsible party
government? First, it would mean giving strong
public support to those reform efforts which in
the recent past have been carried on entirely by a
small group of concerned political insiders,
aimed at strengthening the machinery of political
parties and government.
We should seek to strengthen the liaison between
the presidency and Congress, on a mutual basis,
and between the presidency and the heads of
state and local government. We should elect the
President in the same way we elect all other
officials, by direct vote of his constituents, with
high man winning.
We should expand the role and responsibilities of
the party caucuses and the party leaders in
Congress. The caucus should choose the floor
leaders and policy committee members, the
legislative committee chairmen and committee
members, not on the basis of seniority but on the
basis of ability and commitment to the party
program. That leadership ought to be held
accountable for bringing legislation to which the
party is committed to a floor vote in orderly and
timely fashion, with adequate opportunity for
debate and particularly for consideration of
opposition party alternatives. But procedures for
due consideration should not justify devices like
the filibuster, which prevent the majority party
from bringing its measures to a final vote....
We need to take every possible measure to
strengthen the presidential nominating
convention as the key device for making the
parties responsible. The current effort to open the
Democratic delegate-selection process to wider
public participation is a promising start, and its
emphasis on the congressional-district
nominating convention offers corollary benefits
for integrating congressional and presidential
constituencies. Both parties should experiment
with devices for putting heavier emphasis on the
platform-writing phase of the convention's work,
including the possibility of a separate
convention, following the nomination, where the
party's officeholders and candidates debate the
program on which they pledge themselves to run
and to act if elected.
Most important of all the structural reforms, we
need to follow through the effort to discipline the
use of money in politics, not only by setting
realistic limits on campaign spending and by
publicizing individual and organizational gifts,
but also by channeling much more of the money
(including, in my view, all general election
spending) through the respective party
committees, rather than through individual
candidates' treasuries.
We need to strengthen the party organizations
and their staffs, and recapture for them the
campaign management functions that have been
parceled out to independent firms which tend to
operate with a fine disdain for the role of party
and policy in government. We need to devise
ways to make television the prime medium of
political communication - somewhat more
sensitive to the claims of the parties to be a
regular part of the political dialogue, and to
protect the vital institution of the nominating
convention from being distorted by the demands
of the television cameras.
All these reforms would help, I believe, but they
would not accomplish the invigoration of
responsible party government unless they were
accompanied by a genuine increase in the
participation by the public in party affairs. The
cure for the ills of democracy truly is more
democracy; our parties are weak principally
because we do not use them. To be strong and
responsible, our parties must be representative;
and they can be no more representative than our
participation allows. Millions more of us need to
get into partisan political activity.
We need also to become somewhat more
reflective about what we do with our votes. We
need to ask ourselves what it is that we want
government to accomplish, and which candidate,
which party comes closest to espousing that set
of goals. That may sound so rationalistic as to be
unrealistic. But this nation has more education,
more communication, more leisure available to it
than ever before. In the nineteenth century,
James Bryce wrote of us, "The ordinary citizens
are interested in politics, and watch them with
intelligence, the same kind of intelligence
(though a smaller quantity of it) as they apply to
their own business. . . They think their own
competence equal to that of their representatives
and office-bearers; and they are not far wrong"
Are we to think less of ourselves today? Finally,
we need to examine some of our habits. It seems
to me we should ask, before splitting a ticket,
what it is we hope to accomplish by dividing
between the parties the responsibility for
government of our country, our state or our
community. Do we think there is no difference
between the parties? Do we distrust them both so
thoroughly that we wish to set them against each
other? Do we think one man so superior in
virtue and wisdom that he must be put in office,
no matter who accompanies him there? Why are
we splitting tickets? My guess is that, if we
asked those questions, we would more often be
inclined to give a temporary grant of power to
one party at a time, rather than dividing
responsibility so skillfully between the parties
that neither can govern. If we were willing to
risk this strategy, knowing that we would be able
to throw rascals out if they failed, we might even
discover to our amazement that they are not
always rascals.
Check Your Understanding:
1. What remedy does David Broder prescribe for the apparent political malaise of his time?
2. What basic argument does Broder provide which suggests that political parties are in their
essence - needed?
3. According to Broder, list the basic responsibilities of our political parties.
4. “Popular dissatisfaction with the two party system is manifested in many ways.” said
Broder. List at least two (2) examples.
5. List two ways in which Broder suggested we strengthen political parties.
BONUS: Agree or Disagree with the following statement made by David Broder. Explain “The
cure for the ills of democracy truly is more democracy.”
Ch. 7, Pages 219-239 Assignment:
Directions: Read Ch. 7, pages 219-239 in the textbook and answer on a separate sheet of paper.
(Be sure to restate the vocabulary of each question.)
1. Define political parties:
2. Define spoils system:
3. Define realignment and describe 2 of the more recent party realignments in American
4. Define crosscutting:
5. Explain how the Republican and Democratic parties are an example of political
6. Explain how the organization of both American political parties is limited.
(Class discussion-- Describe the conflict that arose regarding the scheduling of presidential
primaries in 2008. How does that conflict compare to the most recent scheduling issues with the
nomination primaries?)
7. Define political party machine and describe two factors that weakened the influence of
party machines in the last 40 years.
8. Define governmental caucus:
9. Describe 3 grassroots activities performed by party activists.
(Class discussion-- Describe the conflict that arose regarding the scheduling of presidential
primaries in 2008. How does that conflict compare to the most recent scheduling issues with the
nomination primaries?)
10. Use Figure 7.4 to help identify 3 historical events that influenced party identification
among American voters.
11. Define political dealignment:
(Class notes-- Causes of political dealignment)
12. Use table 7.2 to explain two reasons why Barack Obama won in 2008.
The Endless Campaign
Karl Rove Wall Street Journal December 20, 2007
The Iowa caucuses are 14 days away, with the
New Hampshire primary five days later. And
what follows from there won't be pretty. The way
Americans are selecting our presidential
candidates in 2008 is, frankly, a mess.
The first problem is the overall length of the
campaign. There are few more demanding
physical activities than running for president,
other than military training or athletics at a very
high level -- and this will be the longest
presidential contest on record. The first candidate
this season announced Dec. 12, 2006; virtually
all the Democrats declared by late January, and
almost every Republican by mid-March. So next
fall we'll elect a president who's spent two years
rocketing around the country in an aluminum
tube and sleeping in strange hotel rooms on a
brutal, exhausting campaign trail.
This gives America the longest leadership
selection contest in the democratic world.
It wasn't always like this. Bill Clinton announced
for president on Oct. 3, 1991. At this point in the
1992 presidential contest, he'd been a candidate
for 10 weeks. George W. Bush made his first
campaign speech on June 12, 1999. At this point
in the 2000 race, he'd been a candidate for just
over five months.
In 2008 voting will also begin earlier than ever.
In 2000, the Iowa caucuses were held Jan. 24.
This time, they'll be Jan. 3. For the first time,
some New Year's partygoers will still be nursing
hangovers when they caucus.
Yet despite the seemingly endless campaign, the
nomination contest will be settled quicker than
ever. In 2000, there were seven contests in five
weeks beginning with Iowa. This time here will
be contests in 32 states in roughly the same
amount of time.
Two days after Iowa's contest on Thursday, Jan.
3, Wyoming Republicans will caucus on
Saturday, Jan. 5. New Hampshire holds its
primary on the next Tuesday, Jan. 8. On Jan. 15,
Michigan votes, followed by Nevada's caucuses
and the South Carolina Republican primary on
Jan. 19. Hawaii Republicans start a two-week
voting period Jan. 25 and South Carolina
Democrats vote on Jan. 26. Florida goes to the
polls Jan. 29 and Maine Republicans caucus on
Feb. 1. Then, in a rush, there will be 23 contests
on Tuesday, Feb. 5. What candidate can
effectively campaign in more than a handful of
the 32 states voting in the first month?
In the presidential 2000 race, 25% of the
delegates were selected by March 7, 50% by
March 14, and 75% of the Democratic delegates
by April 4 and 75% of the Republican delegates
by May 2. This time around, the 25% and 50%
thresholds will be crossed on Feb. 5, and by
March 4 over 75% of the delegates will be
Cutting the length of the primary season by more
than half by jamming the contests together raises
the likelihood of a bandwagon developing for the
candidate who wins the first few contests. This
would allow a candidate to sweep to victory in
the subsequent contests that rapidly follow
because all that voters will see is his (or her) face
on the evening news and in the papers.
Remember: Few Americans have seen these
candidates up close, except voters in Iowa, New
Hampshire and South Carolina. In an
abbreviated primary season, the weight these
early state voters carry is even more exaggerated.
Both parties could end up with a candidate
chosen in haste and repented of at great cost.
If primaries and caucuses were spread out with
weeks, not days and hours, between them, then
voters in more states could learn more about the
candidates. Candidates would have more time to
come back from an early loss to a contender who
was briefly the flavor of the moment in one state.
Candidates would also benefit from having more
time to think about the big, important things they
want to do for the country. The process side of
politics is now undermining the intellectual side.
It was revealing that at a health-care forum last
March, Sen. Barack Obama admitted he didn't
have a health-care plan but promised to have one
by this January.
In addition, the current process increases
pressure on candidates to narrowly focus on the
concerns of their party's activists in the early
states. This crowds out other important things
that tell the voters who they are. It's hard for
candidates to resist. For example, then Texas
Gov. George W. Bush spoke early in the primary
season about rallying the armies of compassion
to confront hopelessness of spirit and condition.
This wasn't a "base theme." Rather, it was an
appeal to all Americans. His primary opponents
criticized his focus on compassion. But Mr. Bush
rejected any retreat from the theme, an action
that served him well in the general election.
Now, because of the calendar, many candidates
feel forced to devote much of their rhetoric and
time to appealing to a faction in their party.
Is it really good or fair for so much of America
to outsource its candidate selection to activists in
a handful of the states at the front of this clipped
A longer primary process would give more
Americans a chance to make a considered
decision about who should be president. The
process could still honor the role of Iowa, New
Hampshire and South Carolina, but give other
states the opportunity to more fully participate in
the selection of our nominees.
There will be a vast stretch of time between
when each nomination is likely to be secured
(early February) and the conventions where they
are ratified (Aug. 25-28 for the Democrats and
Sept. 1-4 for the Republicans). Let's not kid
ourselves: Next year, the general election starts
in earnest on Feb. 6.
A general election campaign that lasts nine
months will bore (even more than it has in the
past) the American people. It will certainly work
to the disadvantage of the better-known
candidate, who could appear as yesterday's news
and uninteresting when compared to a fresh face.
Some of the candidates already seem like overly
familiar figures -- and not a single vote has yet
been cast.
The media will be partly to blame. By next
spring (at the latest), journalists will have tired of
the candidates and their messages and demand
they say or do something new, different and
controversial, or they will be made to suffer. The
result of all this is that we're putting pressure on
candidates to act in ways that have nothing to do
with how well they will govern. The purpose of a
campaign ought to be the opposite.
It's too late to do anything about 2008, but
Americans deserve better next time. One answer
might be to create a series of days on which
states across the country could hold their
primaries or caucuses. These contest days would
be spread out over the winter and spring. Each
day would have a mix of states, representing
different regions of the country. Rep. Sander
Levin (D., Mich.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.)
have introduced legislation along these lines.
There are also proposals from the state
secretaries of state and groups of leaders in both
parties. Perhaps a reform structure could be
arrived at by the two major parties and their
rules, without requiring congressional action.
Longer, earlier and shorter -- at least when it
comes to selecting our presidential candidates -is not in the country's best interests. The
presidential primary mayhem and next year's
seemingly endless general election campaign
will be compelling evidence for reform.
Ch. 7, Pages 239-247 Assignment:
Directions: Read Ch. 7, pages 239-247 in the textbook and answer on a separate sheet of paper.
(Be sure to restate the vocabulary of each question.)
1. Define primary election:
2. Define nominating convention:
3. Describe the differences between closed primaries, open primaries and caucuses.
4. Explain the positive and negative consequences of having party leaders select candidates
instead of primary election voters.
5. Use figure 7.6 to compare and contrast campaign fund raising between the Democrats and
Republicans in 2008.
6. Define party platform:
7. Define back bencher:
8. Describe how developing agendas and coordination play roles in how parties governing when they
do get elected power.
9. Define unified government and responsible parties:
10. Define divided government and describe the benefits and detriments of divided
Ch. 7, Pages 247-253 Assignment:
Directions: Read Ch. 7, pages 247-253 in the textbook and answer on a separate sheet of paper.
(Be sure to restate the vocabulary of each question.)
1. Describe 3 reasons why minor parties still run for office.
2. Describe 3 reasons why the US has a two-party system.
3. Define single-member district:
4. Define plurality voting:
5. Define Duverger’s law:
6. Explain how American political parties are heterogeneous and explain how this impacts the
American political system.
(Comparative Government--Describe how western political party systems tend to differ
from the American party system.
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