Unit: Elections & Political Parties
Overview On these slides, you will find recaps of the activities we did and the stuff we have been learning about in this unit.
I’ve tried to set it up so that there are questions on some slides and the answers on the following slides. Thus, you could make flashcards out of the PowerPoint slides if you wanted to!
Lesson 1 Recap We talked about political parties for 2 days Went to the corner of the classroom that represented the political party we felt tied to Took an political issues quiz Notes, notes, and dance moves! CNN news article reading- Obama & job plan
Venn Diagram- Democrats & Republicans
What are the functions of political parties?
Answer: Recruit and nominate candidates (meaning, they go out and find people to run for office under their party name) Educating the electorate (voters) about campaign issues (political parties can publish pamphlets or use their websites to tell people about issues like gun control) Helping candidates win elections (Democrats help out other Democrats and same for Republicans)
Monitoring actions of officeholders (both political parties keep an eye out for the other party in office)
What are the similarities between political parties?
Answer: Organize to win elections influence public policies (meaning, when they get elected, they can pass the laws they want) reflect both liberal and conservative views (please remember my awesome dance move)
define themselves in a way that wins majority support by appealing to the political center (meaning, neither Democrats nor Republicans will side with the extreme end of an issue- you can’t get any votes that way!)
What are some of the different stances on issues between Democrats and Republicans, and where are these differences stated?
Answer: The differences are stated in the party’s platform . The two parties differ in their views on:
Role of govt in people’s lives
You don’t need to know WHO generally votes for each party
Those patterns (like men vote for Republicans) change all of the time and vary person-to-person.
What are third parties, and what role do they play in elections?
Answer: Third parties are minor parties in the 2-party system They can introduce new ideas and can press for a particular issue They can revolve around a political personality
Example: Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party in the early 1900s.
Lesson 2 Recap We talked about campaign financing for 1 day. A reading on campaign financing- Is it all about the Benjamin’s? And special guest, Harry Potter!
Harry & his friends ran for office and tried to get money. We watched how Ron had to sell his soul to overcome the fact that he was not independently wealthy.
Lesson 2- Main point
“ Rising campaign costs” was a phrase used frequently in this class. Basically, campaigns get more and more expensive every year. This fact has a lot of consequences.
What are some of the effects of rising campaign costs?
Answer: require candidates to conduct extensive fund-raising activities (meaning, candidates have to spend a lot of time figuring out how they are going to get money) limit opportunities to run for public office (meaning, if you don’t have a lot of money, you probably will not run for office) give an advantage to wealthy individuals who run for office encourage the development of political action committees (PACs) (these groups give money to candidates)
give issue-oriented special interest groups increased influence (meaning, they can have an influence on policy because they are giving money to political candidates and EXPECT something in return).
What are some of the ways that the government has tried to fix the problem of rising campaign costs?
Answer: Campaign finance reform laws have been passed
Limits have been placed on how much money people can give to political candidates.
Lesson 3 Recap In class, we learned how you cannot take all political campaign information to be the truth. You have to do some of your own critical thinking. We learned about strategies you can use when trying to find accuracy in campaign materials. Activities we did in class: Taylor Swift/ Joe Jonas Bias
2008 Campaign Ads (www.livingroomcandidate.org)
How would you define these words?
Answer Opinion- a statement about how you think or feel Evaluate- to find the importance of
Propaganda- something that tries to sway you to one side or the other
What are the strategies you should use when looking at campaign materials and trying to see what about the item is accurate?
Answer: Separate fact from opinion Detect any biases present- everyone has bias (including Ms. Mitchem), but is the bias there going to affect accuracy? Evaluate the source- where is the material coming from or who made it?
Identify any propaganda- is anything trying to sway you to think one way or the other?
Lesson 4 Recap In class we learned about the role the media plays in the political process (or campaigns). We did a case study in which we saw how one politician, Sarah Palin, was negatively affected by the media’s role in influencing the public’s opinion. Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric
Introduced Op-Ed writing activity
How would you define mass media?
Answer: Any sort of communication to a large audience
Examples: radio, TV, internet
What role does the media play in the political process?
Answer: Identifies political candidates (how else would we know who was running if it wasn’t for the newspapers, internet, and tv?) Emphasizes selected issues (remember how Sarah Palin’s remark about Russia was only about 30 seconds long but the focus of the media for weeks?) Write editorials, create political cartoons, and publish op-ed pieces (all of these things can influence how voters and citizens think about politicians)
Broadcasts different points of view as a whole (so you could watch CNN and get a more liberal version of news and Fox to see the conservative side)
Lesson 5 Recap In class we learned about the requirements to vote in the state of Virginia, how to register to vote, and who votes and who doesn’t vote. Notes to understand Virginia Voter
So True/ So False & Agree/Disagree
What are the requirements to register to vote in the state of Virginia?
Answer: Be at least 18 years of age on the day of the general (or presidential) election Reside (live) in Virginia and precinct
Be a U.S. citizen (remember, legal and illegal aliens do not have the opportunity to vote)
How can you register to vote in Virginia?
Answers: In-person at the registrar’s office, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or another designated location (your high school might let you register to vote there!)
**Remember you have until 22 days before elections to register!
What are some of the key factors that show who is more likely to vote?
Answers: GENERALLY SPEAKING , the more you have of all of these things, the more likely you are to vote. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote. Older people are more likely to vote.
The more money you make, the more likely you are to vote.
What are some of the reasons why people don’t vote?
Answer: People didn’t register to vote People are not interested in voting
Maybe they don’t like the candidates or don’t care about politics at all
In what type of election are people more likely to vote?
Answer: General (meaning= presidential) elections
Less people come out to vote for state and local elections
Lesson 6 Recap In class we learned about the electoral college, what it is (it’s NOT a 4-year university you attend after Albemarle High School) and how it works. Activities we did in class:
Awesome electoral college activity (I would elaborate, but I’m putting these slides online before we do this activity in class- don’t want to ruin the surprise!)
What does the electoral college process look like?
Answer: A slate of electors for each state is chosen by popular vote (meaning, you actually vote for an elector instead of the candidate) Most states have a winner-take-all system (meaning, whichever candidate the popular vote was for, all the electors will cast their vote for that candidate)
The electors meet to vote for president and vice president .
What is an effect of the winner-take-all system?
The winner-take-all system leads to the targeting of densely populated states for campaigning (meaning, candidates go to the states with the most people like California or New York), although candidates must pay attention to less populated states whose electoral votes may make the difference in tight elections (these states are known as “swing states”).
How many electors does each state have?
Answer It is different for every state The number of electors of each state is based on the size of the state’s Congressional representation, which is based on the state’s population.
Virginia has 13 electors (we have 11 members in the House of Representatives and 2 in the Senate)
How many votes do you need to get in the electoral college to win?
Answer: You need a majority to win (specifically, 270 votes out of 538).
This sort of set-up favors the two-party system.
THE END!! Remember to ask me any questions before school, after school, during study hall, or through the Rocks Box.
Get the Review slides sheet signed and bring it into class for extra credit!!