Call number for books on this broad topic: JK 1991
In addition to the many valuable dictionaries and encyclopedias in the Reference section above,
see especially: Money in American Politics: An Encyclopedia
And be sure to try this database: ProQuest Newspapers Use this to search all at one time - the Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post
POLS 1101 011 – FALL 2020
To take advantage of the election year, 25% of your grade will be in the form of a paper following the campaign of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or a U.S. Senator. Each of these members of Congress has been chosen because they are incumbents that are in seats that most analysts believe are vulnerable – meaning there is great potential for this incumbent to lose their seat. We will use the Cook Political Report As of August 20, 2020. It can be accessed at https://www.cookpolitical.com/ratings. Seats analyzed will be those that are ‘toss up’ or ‘lean.’
This means this member of Congress has a lot of work to do this fall – in fact they have already begun. You will be responsible for following your candidate during the semester and reporting on their journey. When writing about your candidate and answering the questions, use the Simpson book as a guide. This is a book on winning elections, and you are applying the advice/guidance to your candidate. The outside research is on the behavior of your candidate only.
You are required to be present on the day that the member of Congress is assigned to you, the day we “go” to the library to learn how to research this paper, the day each paper portion is due, and the day after the election to report whether your member won or lost.
Keep in mind these are basically five mini-essays, with participation-required activities along the way. While it is more of a report than a literary piece, it must have a proper format and follow usual guidelines (12 point font, 1” margins, spell and grammar check). You may use tables where appropriate. All sources must be cited. Each mini-essay should be about 3 pages in length, not including any required attachments or works cited.
Each portion must be turned in via Blackboard. Do not email, I will not grade it. All portals and a copy of the instructions can be found under the ‘Legislator Paper’ link in the content area of Blackboard.
Aug 23 – Library Day, meet in Library classroom 2025
Sep 3 – Legislator assigned in class
Sep 23 – Due Part One – Background
Complete the following about your legislator:
Biographical information: name, age, birthplace, where they reside, other places they have resided, where they went to school, family information
Family information: married, kids, etc
Professional information: what is this person’s experience since they started working? How did they get in to politics? How long have they been in Congress? Did they start in a lower office?
Oct 7 – Due Part Two – Campaign info
Campaign information: What is the website for the campaign? Take a screenshot of the first page. Who is the campaign manager? If you wanted to volunteer for this campaign, how would you go about it?
Candidate’s message: What is your candidate’s slogan? What appearances has your candidate made to get out his or her message? What sorts of things does this campaign do to reach its potential voters? Does the campaign have surrogates? Attach a sample piece of campaign literature.
Opponent: What is the name, profession and political experience of your candidate’s opponent?
October 28 – Due Part Three – Finance
Where do candidates get money from? What committees does your candidate have to raise money? How much money has your candidate raised so far? How much money has your candidate’s opponent raised? How much money is being spent by outside groups in this race? How much money has your candidate spent so far? On what sorts of things has your candidate spent money? Attach financial reports to your paper.
Think strategically about the money your candidate needs. How big is your candidate’s district? Is it spread out making communication more difficult or densely packed? Is there a major media market that will make it more expensive? Where might your candidate be best spending their money? What do your authors think?
ONE WAY TO DO THIS:
Go to opensecrets.org and answer the following questions:
Newspapers also report on the money that candidates raise and spend, so that is another way to search.
Think strategically about the money your candidate needs. How big is your candidate’s district? Is it spread out making communication more difficult or densely packed? Is there a major media market that will make it more expensive? Where might your candidate be best spending their money? Is there a big disparity between how much your candidate has raised and how much their opponent has raised? What do your authors think?
November 7 – In Class discussion – how did you legislator do?
November 11 – Due Part Four – Media
Observe as much campaign advertising of your candidate and his or her opponent as possible. Consider Simpson’s plan on page 106. Considering the commercials, online videos, newspaper articles, etc, that you have encountered, what is the media strategy of your candidate? Answer all seven of Simpson’s questions.
Now that you have answered them, what advice would you give to your candidate? Is there anything you would do differently? What is the current ranking in the polls of your candidate (consult the local newspaper). How might your candidate enhance their image in the media? Is your candidate using the internet to the best of their ability? Do they have a sophisticated web presence? Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other forms of social media?
Dec 2 – Due Part Five – Wrap Up
Did your candidate win? Consult the major newspaper in your candidate’s home state or major metropolitan area. What is this paper saying? What are the other major media outlets saying? For this piece you are expected to give three accounts for your candidate’s performance: your candidate’s account (their words via acceptance/concession speeches and subsequent interviews), media accounts and your own assessment after all of your research. What did they do right? Wrong? What would you change?
DuPage County County Board Minutes:
Kane County Board Minutes:
McHenry County Board Minutes
Will County Board Minutes: