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POLSC333: Campaigns and Elections

Unit 3: Campaigns: Candidates, Strategies, and Money   In Unit 1, you gained a basic understanding of elections; in this unit, you will learn about campaigns.  This unit will first focus on candidates, asking: “Who runs for office and why?”  This unit will examine campaign organization and discuss different strategies for targeting voters and getting elected.  Some candidates look to engage the masses and attract a grassroots following, while others seek approval from party elites or other popular elected officials to try to attract votes.  Regardless of the approach, you will learn that candidates must consider their campaign strategies very carefully in order to have a successful day at the polls.  Finally, you will learn about the important role that money plays in American campaigns.  Money has influenced campaigns in the United States for more than a century, which has led to various government interventions and responses.  For example, you will learn the steps the government has taken to prevent money from making the electoral system undemocratic and the impact that these laws have had on campaigns.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 19 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 4.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.1.1: 1.25 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 3.1.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 0.75 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3: 7.5 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.3.1: 2.25 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 3.3.2: 1.75 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 3.3.3: 2 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 3.3.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.4: 6 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 3.4.1: 0.75 hour
☐    Sub-subunit 3.4.2: 2.75 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 3.4.3: 2.5 hour

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify the reasons people have for seeking public office. - Explain the role and impact of women and minority candidates within the electoral process. - Assess the advantages of incumbency in electoral politics. - Explain how candidates develop campaign strategies and organizational capacity. - Describe the use of polling and opposition research in political campaigns. - Discuss the increasing role of consultants in today’s candidate-centered campaigns. - Examine the role of money in political campaigns. - Identify the various sources of campaign funding. - Assess the impact of campaign finance reform on contemporary elections.

3.1 Candidates: Who Runs and Why?   3.1.1 Common Characteristics of Candidates   - Reading: Boston Review: Stephen Ansolabehere's: “Run for Office” Link: Boston Review: Stephen Ansolabehere's: “Run for Office” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, read the article in its entirety, and examine the graph at the bottom of the page as well.
 
This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
  
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Slate.com: Jack Shafer's: “When Journalists Repackage Themselves as Politicians” Link: Slate.com: Jack Shafer's: “When Journalists Repackage Themselves as Politicians” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage, which seeks to explain why reporters and journalists often run for political office.
     
    This reading and note-taking should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 Women and Minority Candidates   - Reading: Boston College: Third World Law Journal: Jason P. Conti's: “The Forgotten Few: Campaign Finance Reform and Its Impact on Minority and Female Candidates” Link: Boston College: Third World Law Journal: Jason P. Conti's: “The Forgotten Few: Campaign Finance Reform and Its Impact on Minority and Female Candidates” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click the “Download” link and then read this entire PDF (65 pages).  Conti notes the inadequate diversity of representation in elective office and offers a unique perspective on the adverse effects of campaign finance reform on women and minority candidates.

 This reading should take approximately 3 hours to complete.  
    
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  • Reading: Real Clear Politics: Jack Kelly's: “The Rise of Black Republicans” Link: Real Clear Politics: Jack Kelly's: “The Rise of Black Republicans” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage.
     
    This reading should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
      
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Washington Post: Perry Bacon Jr.'s: “Black Politicians Gaining Little Capital after Obama’s Election” Link: Washington Post: Perry Bacon Jr.'s: “Black Politicians Gaining Little Capital after Obama’s Election” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage.  Note that even though the details of the article might be somewhat outdated, the general theme—that the election of Barak Obama has not, by itself, made it much easier for Black politicians to win elections—remains true today.
     
    This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
      
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3.2 Incumbency and Elections   3.2.1 The Incumbency Advantage   - Reading: Doc-txt: Jody Baumgartner’s “Competition in Congressional Elections: A Thing of the Past?” Link: Doc-txt: Jody Baumgartner’s “Competition in Congressional Elections: A Thing of the Past?” (PDF)
 
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and then select the hyperlink for the title “Competition in Congressional Elections: A Thing of the Past?” Please read it in its entirety (5 pages).  How is the system set up so that challengers so often fail in unseating an incumbent?  Is incumbency a major disincentive for people wanting to run for office?
 
Reading and answering these questions should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web page above.

3.2.2 Historic Incumbency Trends   - Reading: Center for Responsive Politics: “Incumbent Advantage” and “Reelection Rates Over the Years” Links: Center for Responsive Politics: “Incumbent Advantage” (HTML) and “Reelection Rates over the Years” (HTML)
  
Instructions: Please click on the links above, and read these entire webpages, which offer charts on the financial advantages enjoyed by incumbents and charts on the historic re-election trends for members of Congress, respectively.
 
These readings should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

3.3 Campaign Organization and Strategy   3.3.1 Making the Decision to Run   - Reading: CompleteCampaigns.com: Christopher Cotty's: “So You Want to Run for Office?” Link: CompleteCampaigns.com: Christopher Cotty's: “So You Want to Run for Office?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage, which offers a primer for people interested in running for office and the necessary steps to take.
 
This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Center for American Women and Politics: Department of Political Science: Rutgers University: Center for American Women and Politics: Susan J. Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu's: “Gender and the Decision to Run for the State Legislature” Link: Rutgers University: Center for American Women and Politics: Department of Political Science: Susan J. Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu's: “Gender and the Decision to Run for the State Legislature” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, then select the link for this paper, and then read this entire PDF (23 pages).  What are the factors that women consider when running for office, and how do they differ from men?

    Reading and answering this question should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.2 Developing a Campaign Strategy   - Web Media: C-SPAN Video Library: David Winston's: “Campaign Strategy, Themes and Messages” Link: C-SPAN Video Library: David Winston's: “Campaign Strategy, Themes and Messages” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch this entire video (approximately 93 minutes).  David Winston, president of the Winston Group, a Washington, D.C., strategy and message design firm, speaks to students at American University’s Campaign Management Institute about developing campaign strategies and targeting specific demographics in the electorate.  He also focuses on crafting candidate and campaign messages as well as developing themes that resonate with voters.  Do you think he provides an effective primer for an individual interested in running for office?
 
Viewing this lecture, taking notes, and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.3 Polling and Research   - Reading: Roper Center: “Fundamentals of Polling” Link: Roper Center: “Fundamentals of Polling” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  At the above page, there are links to five sections (Introduction, Sampling, Total Survey Error, Reading Tables, and Glossary of Terminology).  Please click on each, and read the accompanying text in its entirety. 
 
This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

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3.3.3.1 Campaign Polling   - Reading: Carleton College: Steven E. Schier's: “Aiming a Rifle and Missing Millions: Campaign Polling in Contemporary Politics” Link: Carleton College: Steven E. Schier's: “Aiming a Rifle and Missing Millions: Campaign Polling in Contemporary Politics” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to find the link to this paper, and then read this entire PDF (21 pages).  What are Schier’s main criticisms of campaign polling?
 
Reading and answering this question should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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3.3.3.2 Opposition Research   - Reading: Roll Call: Paul Singer's: “Opposition Research: For Campaigns of All Sizes” Link: Roll Call: Paul Singer's: “Opposition Research: For Campaigns of All Sizes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage on how opposition research is used as a campaign strategy.  Consider why opposition research has become such an integral part of contemporary campaigns. 
 
This reading and the prompt above for consideration should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.
 
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3.3.3.3 Push Polls   - Reading: CBS News: Kathy Frankovic's: “The Truth about Push Polls” Link: CBS News: Kathy Frankovic's: “The Truth about Push Polls” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage.  What are the ethical issues surrounding push polls?
 
Reading and answering the question above should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
  
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.4 Campaign Managers and Consultants   - Reading: Brookings Institution Press: James A. Thurber and Candice J. Nelson's: Campaign Warriors: Political Consultants in Elections: “Introduction to the Study of Campaign Consultants” Link: Brookings Institution Press: James A. Thurber and Candice J. Nelson's: Campaign Warriors: Political Consultants in Elections: “Introduction to the Study of Campaign Consultants” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, then select the “Sample Chapter” link, and then read this entire PDF (9 pages) on the professionalization of campaign politics and how it has changed modern elections.

 This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Harvard Law & Policy Review: Ellen Zeng's: “Are Campaign Consultants Valuable?” Link: Harvard Law & Policy Review: Ellen Zeng's: “Are Campaign Consultants Valuable?” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please go to the above website and click on the link “click here to read more” to be directed to the PDF of the essay.  Read the entire essay (16 pages).  Do you think these consultants are worth the high fees that they command?  Why, or why not?
     
    Reading and answering the questions above should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4 Financing Campaigns   3.4.1 The Role of Money in Political Campaigns   - Web Media: C-SPAN Video Library: “Money and Campaign 2010” Link: C-SPAN Video Library: “Money and Campaign 2010” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and watch this entire video (approximately 45 minutes), which discusses the role of money in some of the most competitive 2010 midterm congressional races.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.2 Sources of Campaign Funding   - Reading: Answers.com: Robert E. Mutch’s “Campaign Financing and Resources” Link: Answers.com: Robert E. Mutch’s “Campaign Financing and Resources” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage.  How have the sources of campaign funds evolved since colonial times?
 
Reading and answering this question should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
  
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Center for Responsive Politics: Lauren Hepler's: “Self-Funded Candidates Experiencing Spotty Success in 2010” Link: Center for Responsive Politics: Lauren Hepler's: “Self-Funded Candidates Experiencing Spotty Success in 2010” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read this entire webpage, which discusses the political success (or lack thereof) of candidates who self-finance their election.  In your opinion, what factors would compel a candidate to spend millions of his or her own money to mount a political campaign?
     
    Reading and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
      
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Center for Responsive Politics: “Banking on Becoming President” Link: Center for Responsive Politics: “Banking on Becoming President” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link for each 2008 presidential candidate’s name to view his or her individual sources of campaign funding during the election.
     
    You should dedicate approximately 25-30 minutes to studying this resource. 
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: TheAtlantic.com's Wendy Kaminer's: “The New York Times’ Disingenuous Campaign against Citizens United” Link: TheAtlantic.com’s Wendy Kaminer’s “The New York Times’ Disingenuous Campaign against Citizens United” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  Pay attention to the author’s argument regarding the causes of high spending in recent elections.

    This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

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

  • Reading: USA Today: Fredreka Schouten et al.’s “Individuals, Not Corporations, Drive Super PAC Financing” Link: USA Today: Fredreka Schouten et al.’s “Individuals, Not Corporations, Drive Super PAC Financing” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, scan the table, and read the entire article. 
     
    This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
      
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3.4.3 Campaign Finance Laws and Reform   - Reading: The Pew Charitable Trusts: “The Campaign Finance Guide” Link: The Pew Charitable Trusts: “The Campaign Finance Guide” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, select the PDF link after “View full report,” and then read pages 1–47 of this report.  This guide offers a practical explanation of campaign finance laws that govern how money can be raised and spent in federal elections.  It provides a broad overview of the federal laws governing political actors and their activities.
 
This reading should take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.