|POLITICAL STUDIES 101||OFFICE HOURS|
|Monday 7-10 PM||Ward: MWF 9:00-10:00; TH 1:00-2:00|
|BH 214||Pachon: Mon & Tues 10:00-12:00|
|Dana Ward's Office: A207||Ward's Phone: 73177|
|Harry Pachon's Office: 3rd Floor, Steele Hall||Pachon's Phone: 18897|
The instructors for this course approach electoral studies from quite different perspectives. Pachon's is a more candidate centered approach while Ward focuses on the system within which candidates operate. The first week or two of the course 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.
Ward will look at those enduring factors that almost always influence the outcome of elections regardless of issues or candidates. Indeed, it would be possible to focus on these issues 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. Pachon will focus on those basic technological changes, e.g., television, survey research, targeted voter contact, the use of computers and the "professionalism" of campaigns, that have had a profound impact on how elections are conducted in America in the 1990s. Conversely, from this perspective, it is not possible to understand the contemporary electoral process without being aware of the techniques that candidates utilize to run their present day campaigns.
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) Ten percent of your grade will be based on classroom participation
2) Twenty percent of your grade will be based on a Campaign Journal. You will keep a journal of your campaign activities and observations during the first half of the semester. Your journal will document your impressions of political advertising, political news and your participation in a campaign. Journals are due September 28, October 26 and November 9.
3) The midterm will be in class October 26th and will constitute 15% of your grade. It will cover both readings and lectures.
4) Twenty percent of your grade will be based on an eight to twelve page paper analyzing why a state (excluding California) or district (Congressional to local) voted the way it did for this election cycle. The paper is due November 23.
5) Twenty percent of your grade will be based on an eight to twelve page paper on a topic of your choice covered in this class. Please clear your topic by November 15 with either Professor Pachon or Ward. The paper is due on the last day of class and will be down graded one grade for each 24 hour period the paper is late.
6) The final fifteen 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 in class on the last session.
Each Professor will take primary responsibility for the class sessions on alternating weeks. Likewise, one of us will grade one set of papers, and the second set will be graded by the other professor.
In general, we will begin each class (through November 2nd) with CNN's current coverage of the 98 campaigns ("Inside Politics"), and relate those issues to the readings and lecture material on contemporary political processes. Class discussion will ensue. This will be followed by Pachon or Ward lecturing 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 the 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.
Daily reading of the Los Angeles Times or the New York Times or CNN or Inside Politics.
The readings must be done before the date listed.