* Critically assess the impact of recent trends in US party politics and partisanship.
* Critically assess the recent trends in US election cycles.
Compose a 3-5 paragraph essay answering the prompt below. Intro and conclusion paragraphs are required, but do not count toward the 3-5 paragraph length requirement. Your essay’s first paragraph must contain a thesis statement. Remember that any run of at least three words in a row that are not your own must be placed in quotation marks and you must indicate the source from which it comes.
Think back on the past several weeks of this class. Max Weber argued that public trust in institutions is essential for a democracy to work. Robert Dahl argued that healthy democracies require “E.V.A.C.” and a political system that exhibits “polyarchy” (formulating preferences, signifying preferences, preferences are given equal weight by government, robust participation, and robust public contestation.)
Over the past two modules we have built on these concepts by examining the impact of political parties, partisanship, and the election process on the U.S. political system.
Prompt (Your essay should be an argument answering this prompt):
Based on Weber and/or Dahl’s ideas, identify 3 consequences of partisanship and/or the presidential election cycle that impact the health of US democracy. Explicitly connect your 3 choices to Weber and/or Dahl and explain your answer.
Some Possible Topics You could Cover in Your Essay:
* Gerrymandering & public contestation: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
* Gatekeeping, framing & the formulation of preferences: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
* Campaign fundraising, “private” fundraisers, public contestation & equal weighing of preferences: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
* The party primary schedule, the exaggerated influence of early primary states, participation, & equal weighing of preferences: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
* Caucuses vs. Primaries, participation: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
* Low information voters, their impact on the outcome of “Stage 4”, the formulation of preferences: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
* The Electoral College, swing states, & equal weighing of preferences: This is related to Dahl & Polyarchy
Features of the Election Cycle that might erode public trust in the institutions of government:
These are related to Weber’s “sources of authority” from Week 2, specifically what he called “rational-legal authority”:
* The need to raise enormous amounts of funding for campaigns
* The effectiveness of attacking an opponent for being “too extreme”
* The effectiveness of running for office by attacking “Washington”
* I am interested in your opinion, but that’s not really what I am asking for in this assignment. I’m much more interested in a conclusion you reach based on course material we have examined so far.
* While it is possible to compose a “wrong” answer, I find that these are very rarely submitted by students who reliably keep up with the class. Rather, keep in mind that there is no single correct answer to this prompt. Don’t worry so much about being “wrong”, focus more on constructing a compelling argument that shows what (relevant material) you have learned.
* Your essay should make an argument that aims to convince a reader that you have arrived at the best answer.
* Think of an adult you respect, but who hasn’t taken this class, as your intended “audience” for this essay.
* Your essay must use a few relevant parts of the Weber lecture material and/or the Dahl readings (quotes or paraphrase).
* When your essay uses a key concept from from class, you should describe it in 1-2 sentences. Don’t merely name concepts.
* For example: If you discuss “incumbent advantage,” describe what that term means in 1-2 sentences.
Goal: * Critically assess the impact of recent trends in US party politics and
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