THE UNITED STATES ELECTORAL SYSTEM:
2008 COURSE DESCRIPTION, REQUIREMENTS, and READINGS
| POLITICAL STUDIES 101
| OFFICE HOURS HOURS
| Tu & Th 2:45-4:00 PM
||Dana Ward, A222:
Mon & Wed 3:15-4:15;
Tues & Thurs 1:45-2:45
Adrian Pantoja, A214:
Mon & Wed 2:30-3:30
Rachel VanSickle-Ward, B203:
Our approach to electoral studies focuses on the system within which candidates operate, not on the candidates themselves. That is, we concentrate on the enduring forces behind voting behavior. During the first week or two of the course we will examine the historical evolution of the two party system with special attention paid to "critical" elections. We will examine each of the five party systems and discuss the changing functions performed by political parties, as well as the various sources of cleavage, dissolution and cohesion. For the remainder of the course we shift our attention to voting theories, campaign techniques and electoral behavior.
Our concern will be with those factors that almost always influence the outcome of elections regardless of issues or candidates. Indeed, it would be possible to focus on these factors without ever mentioning a particular candidate or that candidate's position on issues. Naturally, we will not do that, but the point is that there is an electoral structure in which candidates and issues operate. That structure places limits, establishes boundaries, and helps to determine what kinds of candidates and what kinds of issues can influence the electoral system.
The topics we will be exploring, or "what counts", are the state of the economy, partisanship, the party bias, swing ratios, coattails, midterm congressional elections, presidential and congressional elections, referendums, initiatives and recall elections, the electoral origins of divided government, presidential popularity, registration laws, voter turnout, party coalitions, third party politics, primaries and divisive primaries, the incumbency effect, name familiarity, candidate evaluation, issue voting, media coverage, polls, voter targeting, symbolic politics, strategic politics, the structure of belief systems and their impact on voting decisions, the impact of charges of corruption on a candidate's prospects for success, and last, but surely not least, campaign finances.
Grades will be determined as follows:
1) The midterm will be in class October 16th and will constitute 25 percent of your grade. It will cover both readings and lectures.
2) Fifteen percent of your grade will be based on an eight to twelve page paper on an electoral systems topic of your choice covered in this class (but the paper cannot cover a specific race). Please clear your topic with one of the professors by October 2. The paper is due October 30 and will be down graded one grade for each 24 hour period the paper is late.
3) Ten percent of your grade will be based on weekly reports during the run-up to the mid-term congressional elections. All races in the House and Senate will be divided up amongst the members of the class and you will follow your races and report to the class how the races are shaping up. House races will be reported on Tuesdays and Senate races on Thursdays. Each report should be brief (90 seconds to two minutes), but jam packed with relevant information, ending with a tally of Republican and Democratic victories "if the election were held today." Your performance on these presentations will be graded by your peers. A list of candidates can be found at the Voter Information Service.
4) Twenty-five percent of your grade will be based on the second midterm. It will cover both readings and lectures since the first midterm and will be held during the period scheduled for final exams: Friday, Dec. 19 at 2:00.
5) Twenty-five percent of your grade will be based on an eight to twelve page paper analyzing why a state voted the way it did for President, the House and Senate during this election cycle. The paper is due on the last day of class.
First paper 15%
Second paper 25%
Second Midterm 25%
In general, we will begin each class (through the first week of November) with current coverage of the 2008 campaigns, and relate those issues to the readings and lecture material. Class discussion will ensue. This will be followed by a lecture on the week's topic. To fully grasp the material, it is essential that you complete your readings prior to coming to class. The lecture topic will coincide with the readings but may not address the specific reading assigned for each class. Therefore, you should be prepared to ask questions about the reading and to relate your reading to the issues raised in the lectures.
The purpose of the lectures is to supplement and deepen your understanding of the readings, particularly the more elementary texts. The research behind the summaries of findings reported in the readings will be discussed in the lectures, as well as divergent or tangential interpretations of electoral behavior. The lectures will be pitched at a higher level than most, but not all, the readings. If you find the readings too simple, Ward has an extensive supplementary bibliography used in preparing lectures, from which additional reading or substitutions can be assigned. The bibliography will also be very helpful in preparing your papers and should be the first thing you look at once you have chosen a topic.
- W.H. Flanigan & N. Zingale, Political Behavior of the American
- Electorate, 11th edition.
- Gary Jacobson, Politics of Congressional Elections.
- 7th edition.
- L. Sandy Maisel and Mark D. Brewer, Parties and Elections in
- America: The Electoral Process, 5th edition.
- Stephen J. Wayne, The Road to the White House 2008.
- (Paperback, 8th ed)
Daily reading of the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times or The Washington Post, and in particular The Congressional Quarterly daily reports for which you can sign up here.
The readings must be done before the date listed.
- Sept 2: Orientation
- Flanigan & Zingale, Political Behavior and the American Electorate, Chapter 1, pp. 1-30.
Ward Lecture: History of the Party System
- Sept 4: Flanigan & Zingale, Political Behavior and the American Electorate, Chapter 2, pp. 35-58.
"The Woman Suffrage Crisis." New York Times, February 7, 1915 (Sakai).
Keyssar, Alexander, The Right to Vote: the Contested History of Democracy in the United States (selections on Sakai)
VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Suffrage
- Sept 9: Maisel, L. Sandy and Mark Brewer, Parties and Elections in America,
- Chapter 1, pp. 1-24; Chapter 2, pp. 27-69.
Flanigan & Zingale, Political Behavior and the American Electorate, Chapter 3, pp. 57-75, chapter 4,pp. 77-96.
Ward Lecture: Realignment Theory
- Sept 11: Barker, Lucius J. 1994. "Limits of Political Strategy: A Systemic View of the African
- American Experience" The American Political Science Review. 88: 1-13. Sakai.
Pantoja Lecture: African American Political Development:
- Sept 16: Lovrich, Nicholas P. and Otwin Marenin. 1976. "A Comparison of Black and Mexican
- American Voters in Denver: Assertive versus Acquiescent Political Orientations and Voting Behavior in an Urban Electorate." The Western Political Quarterly. 29: 284-294. Sakai.
Pantoja Lecture: Latino Political Development
- Sept 18: Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 8, pp. 273-316,
- Chapter 9, pp. 317-362.
Ward Lecture: Presidential Elections
- Sept 23: Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 6, pp. 195-227
- VanSickle-Ward Lecture: States and Presidential Elections
- Sept 25: Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 4, pp. 119-147.
- Flanigan & Zingale, Political Behavior and the American Electorate, Chapter 5, pp. 99-115.
Ward Lecture: Divisive Primaries
- Sept 30: Lee, Eugene, "Direct Democracy: Initiative, Referendum, and Recall," in
- Governing California. (Sakai)
VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Initiative, Recall and Referendum
- Oct 2: Lowenstein, Daniel, Election Law. (selections on Sakai)
Jacobson, Gary, Politics of Congressional Elections, pp. 5-22.
VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Redistricting
- Oct 7: Tate, Katherine. 2003. "Black Opinion on the Legitimacy of Racial Redistricting
- and Majority-Minority Districts." The American Political Science Review. 97: 45-56. Sakai
Pantoja Lecture: Minority Majority Districts
- Oct 9: Flanigan and Zingale Political Behavior and the American Electorate. Chpt. 6 and
- Appendix: Survey Research Methods.
Pantoja Lecture: Public Opinion and Elections
- Oct 14: Jacobson, Gary, Politics of Congressional Elections, chapter 5, pp. 113-146.
- Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 3, 71-116.
Ward Lecture: Turnout
- Oct 16: First Midterm
- Oct 23: Jacobson, Gary, Politics of Congressional Elections, Chapters 1, pp. 1-5 and 3, pp. 27-55.
Ward Lecture: Congressional Elections
- Oct 28: Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 5, pp. 149-192.
- VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Campaign Finance
- Oct 30: Lowenstein, Daniel, Election Law. (selections on Sakai)
Persily, Nathaniel, "The Blanket Primary in the Courts," from Voting at the Political Faultline: California's Experiment with the Blanket Primary
VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Election Law
- Nov 4: Jacobson, Gary, Politics of Congressional Elections, chapter 4,
- pp. 63-105, and chapter 6, 155-175.
Ward Lecture: Midterm Congressional Elections
- Nov 6: Nicholson, Stephen, Adrian Pantoja and Gary Segura. 2006. "Political Knowledge
- and Issue Voting among the Latino Electorate." Political Research Quarterly. 59: 259-271. Sakai
"The Latino vote is pro-Clinton, not anti-Obama." Los Angeles Times. February 7, 2008. Sakai
Pantoja Lecture: Latinos in 2008
- Nov 11: Tate, Katherine. 1991. "Black Political Participation in the 1984 and 1988 Presidential
- Elections." The American Political Science Review. 85: 1159-1176.
Pantoja Lecture: African-Americans in 2008
- Nov 13: Norrander, Barbara, "The Intra-party Gender Gap: Differences Between
- Male and Female Voters in the 1980-2000 Presidential Primaries," PS: Political Science and Politics 36: pp. 181-6, 2003. (On Sakai)
Burns, Nancy, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Verba, Sidney. 2001. The Private Roots of Public Action: Gender, Equality, and Political Participation (selections)
VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Gender Gap
- Nov 18: Falk, Erika. Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns
- (Selected Chapters on Sakai)
VanSickle-Ward Lecture: Gender in Campaigns
- Nov 20: Lai, James et al., 2001. "Asian Pacific-American Campaigns,
- Elections and Elected Officials." PS: Political Science and Politics. 34: 611-617. Sakai
Kim, Clair Jean and Taeku Lee. 2001. "Interracial Politics: Asian Americans and Other Communities of Color." PS: Political Science and Politics. 34: 631-637.
Pantoja Lecture: Asian-American Political Behavior
- Nov 25: Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 7, pp. 229-272.
- VanSickle-Ward Lecture: State and Local Elections
- Dec 2: Maisel, L. Sandy, Parties and Elections in America, Chapter 10, pp. 363-383.
- Flanigan & Zingale, Political Behavior and the American Electorate, Chapter 7, pp. 149-176.
Ward Lecture: Media and Elections
- Dec 4: Olson, Laura R. and John C. Green. 2006. "The Religion Gap." PS: Political Science
- and Politics. 39: 455-459. Sakai
"Leveling the Praying Field." Time. July 23, 2007.
Pantoja Lecture: Religion and Politics
- Dec 9: Terkildsen, Nayda. 1993. "When White Voters Evaluate Black Candidates: The Processing
- Implications of Candidate Skin Color, Prejudice and Self-Monitoring." American Journal of Political Science. 37: 1032-1053. Sakai
"3 in 10 Americans Admit to Race Bias." Washington Post. June 22, 2008. Sakai
Pantoja Lecture: Black Candidates, White Voters
- Dec 11: Flanigan & Zingale, Political Behavior and the American Electorate, Chapter 8,
Jacobson, Gary, Politics of Congressional Elections, chapter 7, pp. 231-266.
Ward Lecture: Partisanship, Candidate Evaluation, Issues and Voting Behavior: