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POLSC332: The Presidency and the Executive Branch

Unit 6: Presidential Elections and the Media   *You must have a firm grasp of the presidential election process in order to understand the nature of the job and the performance of those who occupy the presidency. Accordingly, in this unit, you will learn about the presidential election process in some detail.

The unit begins with an overview of US elections. The second subunit focuses on the nature of the Electoral College, with a normative discussion about its utilization. The third subunit discusses the nature of our two-party system and what obstacles third-party candidates face while trying run for the presidency. Next, we will look at the two-part presidential election process: party nomination and general election. Finally, the most recent presidential elections are also discussed in some detail.*

Unit 6 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: Completing this unit should take you approximately 5.75 hours.

☐   Subunit 6.1: 1 hour

☐   Subunit 6.2: 15 minutes

☐   Subunit 6.3: 30 minutes

☐   Subunit 6.4: 30 minutes

☐   Subunit 6.5: 30 minutes

☐   Subunit 6.6: 1 hour

☐   Subunit 6.7: 2 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - discuss the US presidential election process; - explain how the Electoral College functions; - analyze historical elections in which the Electoral College played a role in the outcome; - debate the usefulness of the Electoral College; - explain the obstacles to third-party presidential candidates; - describe the difference between a caucus and primary election; - debate the pros and cons of caucus and primary elections; - explain the process and politics of presidential general elections; and - analyze the historical context and implications of recent presidential elections.

6.1 US Election   - Reading: Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State: “USA Elections in Brief” Link: Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State: “USA Elections in Brief” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read this article about the US election
process.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 1
hour.  

 Terms of use: This material is in the public domain.

6.2 The Electoral College   - Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy: “Electoral College” YouTube: Khan Academy: “Electoral College”

 Link: YouTube: Khan Academy: [“Electoral
College”](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtajaVtz-wU) (YouTube)  

 Instructions: This video provides a helpful primer on the role of
the Electoral College in electing US presidents. Despite its
criticisms, why has the Electoral College been able to adapt and
endure over two centuries of sometimes controversial presidential
elections?  

 Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 15
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/). It
is attributed to the Khan Academy and can be viewed in its original
form
[here](https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/american-civics/v/electoral-college).

6.3 The Electoral College and Historical Elections   - Reading: The National Archives: Mary Frances Greene’s “Teaching with Documents: Tally of the 1824 Electoral College Vote” Link: The National Archives: Mary Frances Greene’s “Teaching with Documents: Tally of the 1824 Electoral College Vote” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this article about the early history of the
Electoral College. Please also click on the link to the historical
document to see what an original tally of the Electoral College vote
would have looked like.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately
30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.4 The Debate over the Electoral College   - Reading: Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State: Ross K. Baker and Jamie Raskin’s “Has the Electoral College Outlived Its Usefulness?” Link: Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State: Ross K. Baker and Jamie Raskin’s “Has the Electoral College Outlived Its Usefulness?” (HTML)

 Instructions: This article discusses both sides of the current
debate surrounding the existence of the Electoral College.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately
30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.5 The Two-party System   - Reading: PBS NewsHour: Kristina Nwazota’s “Third Parties in the US Political Process” Link: PBS NewsHour: Kristina Nwazota’s “Third Parties in the US Political Process” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entire article about third parties in
the United States.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately
30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.6 Presidential Nominations   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Presidential Elections, Topic 2: Primaries, Caucuses, and the Conventions” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Presidential Elections, Topic 2: Primaries, Caucuses, and the Conventions” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please view all of the content of this slideshow
presentation for “Topic 2: Primaries, Caucuses, and the
Conventions,” which may be selected at the top of the webpage. You
may also want to click on the “Text” tab to read about what is being
presented as well as click on the thumbnails below “Explore.”  

 Viewinig this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson15/lessonp.html).
  • Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy: “Primaries and Caucuses” Link: YouTube: Khan Academy: “Primaries and Caucuses” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please watch the above video (approximately 8 minutes), which will help in your understanding of how the states choose their delegates for the national party conventions.

    Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to the Khan Academy and can be viewed in its original form here.

  • Reading: PBS’ Online NewsHour: “2004 Democratic Primaries: The Primary Versus the Caucus” Link: PBS’ Online NewsHour: “2004 Democratic Primaries: The Primary Versus the Caucus” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read this article about the nominations process.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.7 Presidential General Elections   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Presidential Elections, Topic 3: General Elections” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Presidential Elections, Topic 3: General Elections”(Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please view the slideshow presentation linked here.
After you click on the link above, select “Start Lesson,” choose
“Topic 3: General Elections,” watch the presentation, click on and
read the “Text,” and click on and view any thumbnails under
“Explore.”  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson15/lessonp.html).
  • Reading: Pew Research Center: Andrew Kohut’s “Post-Election Perspectives” Link: Pew Research Center: Andrew Kohut’s “Post-Election Perspectives” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read it article, in which Andrew Kohut comments on the results of the 2008 presidential elections.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: University of Virginia’s Miller Center: Ron Formisano, Christina Wolbrecht, and Sidney M. Milkis’s "The 2012 Presidential Election in Historical Context" Link: University of Virginia’s Miller Center: Ron Formisano, Christina Wolbrecht, and Sidney M. Milkis’s “The 2012 Presidential Election in Historical Context” (HTML)

    Instructions: While Watching this lecture, please keep in mind that it was created before the 2012 presidential elections.

    Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.