House Rules Committee
Speaker of the House
How does the House and the Senate have unique roles in bringing bills to the discussion and deciding whether to vote on it (i.e. House Rules Committee and Filibustering)?
Explain the difference between the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and the Majority Party Whip.
Explain how committees and subcommittees influence legislation, and provide congressional oversight. How might the decentralized nature of the Senate make committees complicated and cause fragmentation?
What do voters consider the most when making their decisions--party affiliation, candidate evaluation, or policy? Why?
There are two contrasting ideas about who has the power before and after the election process. According to the mandate theory of elections, elected candidates feel that their victory entitles them to enact the policies they want. Conversely, voters feel that since elections are frequent, the government needs to be more responsive to their needs. Which idea is more accurate, and why?
What are the pros and cons to the electoral college? How does geography play into this question?
role of internet on campaigning
importance of commercials
impact of the news
important tasks of organizing the campaign (pick 3)
campaign contributions vs. independent expenditures
Federal Election Campaign Act
McCain-Feingold Act (2002)
527 Groups Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
501 (c) Groups
What is more useful towards learning about a candidate: the internet or commercials? How might this connect to our discussion of the mass media?
Describe the intricate process of campaign organization. How might this connect to financing a campaign?
What are some of the restrictions on campaign financing, and how have people gotten around them?
national party convention
party platform Questions
How were national party conventions criticized as not being fully democratic? How is the McGovern-Fraser Commission significant here, and how was the nomination process modified?
Do superdelegates really have more power over regular delegates? Why or why not?
How do presidential candidates work towards nomination within the political arena before the primaries and caucuses?
Which is more important towards selecting a nominee? The caucuses and primaries or the party convention? Why is this? What are some of the criticisms of primaries and caucuses?
Why have labor interest groups declined while business interest groups have proliferated in recent decades?
What are the shifting political goals of Equality interest groups in recent years? For example. what have minority rights groups advocated since the Brown v. Board decision, and what have women's rights groups supported since the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)?
What types of issues and people do Consumer and Public Interest groups represent?
How broad is the effect of the media on public opinion? Is there merit to the "minimal effect hypothesis" or can the media employ strategies to effectively influence what Americans think about?
How does the media's agenda setting shape the public's perception of issues? In other words, why might the focus of the economic crisis of 2008 have impacted the views of George H.W. Bush and John McCain during that election season?
How do policy entrepreneurs invest "political capital" on an issue? What are their "weapons" and which ones have the most profound impact?
How does the media act as a "watchdog" over the government? Does this limit or expand politicians' abilities to effectively enact policy?
Why is television seen as a tool to further individualism in American politics? How does this shape the ways in which certain politicians receive attention in the media?
Terms and Related Questions (define terms in bold and answer questions)
Consider an example of how technology shapes both political behavior and the political agenda. Is this a positive development? Consider how few people tune into Obama's speech compared to how many watched Reagan's in the 1980s. Why might this be?
How does the mass media effectively communicate a message to as many people as possible? What does this have to do with media events?
Discuss the relationship between the press and the president earlier in the 20th century (during FDR's administration) and how it evolved (or should we say devolved) closer to Vietnam and Watergate. How did this contribute to investigative journalism?
Which forms of media are consumed more, and which, in your opinion, are more effective: print media, or electronic media? Why?
How has broadcasting evolved into narrowcasting? How does this affect the way in which people are informed by the mass media?
Has the growing diversification of the mass media contributed to selective exposure? Why or why not?
Does the internet enhance or detract from citizens' political knowledge?
How does the fact that the media is privately controlled (consider the role of chains specifically here) impact our quality of news and our knowledge?