American Government - New Topics

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Some or all of these new topics will be addressed when this course is taught in Fall 2012:

  • Party organization and apparatus
  • the Super PAC
  • Party platforms
  • Obtaining "the line" on the ballot in primary elections
  • how candidates are nominated
  • how the presidential race is shaping up
  • forecasting the midterm elections
  • the impact of the Citizens United decision
  • concept of the "political machine"
  • impact of referenda
  • phone-banking and other approaches
  • "get out the vote"

Here is a growing list of notes to be included in the lectures and discussions:

  • "welfare" has meant overall good of a group since at least the 1200s, but the meaning of receiving benefits from the government did not arise until about 1904. The clause "promote the general welfare" in the Constitution therefore could not have been referring to the "welfare state" that exists today. (Thanks to Ben for this observation.)