COURSE: An American Perspective on Political Campaigns

Course content

The course will examine the operations and tactics of modern political campaigns in the United States and explore the effects - positive and negative - that the campaigns have on the surrounding citizenry.

 

In order to reflect how the 2016 campaign season - from the primaries throughout the general election – has upended some assumptions about effective campaigning and reconfirmed others, the syllabus will be adjusted to include material published between now and the beginning of the spring semester.

 

The course will cover

 

  • An overview of how political campaigning has evolved historically in the United States

  • The primary system and the Electoral College system

  • The influence of the winner-take-all system

  • Voter behavior patterns and causes

  • Voter segmentation and targeting

  • On-the-ground campaigning and volunteer operations

  • Candidate positioning

  • Campaign finance

  • The role of parties

  • Comparative excerpts from classic campaign literature

  • The increasing role played by Big Data

  • The ways in which the rise of round-the-clock news coverage and the rapidly growing reach of social media have influenced and continue to influence campaigning

  • Real-life examples of effective campaigns, negative campaigning, campaign ads, televised debates, controversial campaign strategies and methods, voter manipulation and voter disenfranchisement

Education

 

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

 

 

Learning outcome

Will follow

Core readings:

 

‘Campaigns and Elections’

John Sides, et. al.

2015

W.W. Norton

 

‘Game Change’

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

2010

Harper Collins

 

‘The Victory Lab’

Sasha Issenberg

2013

Broadway Books

 

Online material:

 

‘What is political dark money’

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/01/20/19156/what-political-dark-money-and-it-bad

 

‘Take the Money and Run for Office’

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/461/transcript

 

Contribution limits

http://www.fec.gov/info/contriblimitschart1516.pdf

 

‘The Hardest Job in Washington’

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/07/jon-vogel-washington

 

‘Campaign Consultants’

http://blog.press.princeton.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/2Campaigning.Campaign-Consultants.pdf

 

‘Are Campaign Consultants Valuable?’

http://hlpronline.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/zeng_consultants.pdf

 

‘Show and Tell’

https://thebluereview.org/political-ads-disclosure/

 

Daisy

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1964/peace-little-girl-daisy#3983

 

Bear

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1984/bear#4095

 

Morning in America

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1984/prouder-stronger-better#4085

 

Horton

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1988/willie-horton#4123

 

Windsurfing

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2004/sellout#4287

 

Fundamentals

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008/fundamentals#4474

 

Mavericks

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008/fundamentals#4474

 

No Maverick

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008/fundamentals#4474

 

Yes We Can

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008/fundamentals#4474

 

Celeb

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2008/fundamentals#4474

 

The Virtues of the Super PAC

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/the-virtues-of-the-super-pac/?nl=opinion&emc=edit_ty_20120404

 

‘Trial Lawyers to Obama […]’

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/81055-trial-lawyers-to-obama-dont-deal-on-tort-reform

 

Data on 2014 donations by the American Association of Justice

https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000065

 

Communicating with Congress

http://www.ieeeusa.org/communications/ebooks/files/april14/29-0fnv/Communicating-with-Congress-2010-Update.pdf

 

‘Robo-Calls’

http://content.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1853436,00.html (make sure to also listen to the audio when you read the text)

 

‘The Top 10 Political Robocalls of 2008’ 

http://thinkdodone.typepad.com/ccd/2008/12/the-top-13-political-robocalls-of-2008.html

 

Robocall case

http://www.wbaltv.com/blob/view/-/13076104/data/1/-/doasog/-/Indictments-against-Paul-Schurick--Julius-Henson.pdf

 

‘Black Voters Told […]’

http://www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2011/12/blackvoter_suppression_misleading_robocalls_is_an_example.html

 

 ‘The Truth About Push Polls’

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-truth-about-push-polls/

 

‘The Trashing of John McCain’

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2004/11/mccain200411

 

‘Is ‘Popular Rule’ Possible?’

http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2003/06/summer-elections-bartels

 

‘Our Friend the Smear’

http://harpers.org/archive/2004/11/our-friend-the-smear/

 

Swift Boat

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/2004/any-questions/

 

‘The problems of the permanent campaign'

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/07/political-reform

 

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Oral
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28