Catalog description:In this course you will be introduced to the concepts of political parties, voter behavior and the theories of competitive elections. We will examine some case studies of campaigns as well as some theory of the strategy of success. We shall explore the use of opinion polls, TV spots and other campaign instruments. Where time permits, we will discuss controversial current affairs, and question guest speakers. (I will try to balance speakers of both major parties, though this cannot be guaranteed.) I will present a view of the US parties and elections as contrasted with those of Western European social democratic states; and will help you to understand how the US system has changed over time. Equipment and time permitting, we shall also explore US and foreign parties on the World Wide Web, and critique the US campaign as seen on television and in the press.
The influence, structure, and operation of the American party system; an evaluation of the major parties in the United States in historical context, and a consideration of factors weakening the role of parties today.
The style of the course will be a reading-based seminar with students contributing essays, presentations and a research paper.
1. Schaffner, Brian F. 2012. Politics, Parties & Elections in America. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage (Thomson), 7e. [Formerly Bibby, John and ... ] Main text, succinct and organized, with broad coverage of party structures as well as campaigning. [Book was formerly: Bibby, John F. and ... 2008. ]Behavior: you are expected to comply with the HC Honor Code and with specific rules placed on our Requirements page above.
2. Maisel, Louis Sandy. 1986. From Obscurity to Oblivion: Running in the Congressional Primary. Second Edition. U. Tenn. Press. Amusing but powerful case study: a professor runs for office in the Maine primary, then surveys other national primary campaigns to compare experiences. [Out of print, 2012, but still available on Amazon.]
3. Selected chapters from our companion anthologies:4. Current Affairs: read newsmagazines online or in library US News, Newsweek or Time Magazine are American institutions in themselves. Other materials may be placed in an electronic dropbox or on library reserve.
Nivola & Rosenbloom (eds). 1999. Classic Readings in American Politics, 3/e. St. Martins/Worth. The section on parties & elections (about four chapters) will be read. Curtis, Michael (ed) 1983. The Great Political Theories, Volume 2. Expanded Edition. This is our Political Theory companion, with a few selections chosen for each PSC course. These readings are brief excerpts of the Greats; find each one via the Index and don't forget to read the editor's introduction to each chapter for a fine explanation of the readings in context.
HC's attendance policy
Students are expected to attend all classes.My Specific Attendance Policy
While school sanctioned excuses will not count against you, absences reduce your potential contribution to class, and absences in excess of four contact hours will reduce your class participation score.HC's Policy on completion of absence related work
A specific policy for completion of absence related work is up to the individual instructor. The instructor must state the policy in the course syllabus. The specific policy must not penalize a student for participation in a documented College sanctioned event or for a documented medical, personal or family emergency. [Also requires prior notification via a new online form, and verification by a coach, or similar]My specific policy on late completion of in-class work
Late completion of tests or other graded exercises in class will only be permitted in cases with documented, prior notification and documented excuses from a coach, medical doctor or similar authority.HC's Accommodation of Special Needs
Faculty at Huntingdon College make every effort to accommodate unique and special needs of students with respect to speech, hearing, vision, seating, or other possible adaptions. Please notify the Disability Services Intake Coordinator, Ms. Camilla Irvin, as soon as possible of requested accommodations.