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I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Essay Assignment, Spring 2010

Choose one:

  • Identify a non-incumbent candidate for a 2010 House or Senate election (e.g., Chuck DeVore, CMC `85, for US Senate in California; Adam Kokesh `06, for US House in New Mexico). Write a memo explaining how that person can win either the primary or the general election. Consider the positions and resources of your candidate and the opposition, as well as the makeup of the electorate.
  • Pick one of the congressional party leaders (Pelosi, Boehner, Reid, or McConnell). Appraise the leader’s effectiveness with a letter grade. Explain how well this leader is doing in comparison with predecessors and in light of the opportunities and constraints of the current political climate.

Essays should reflect an understanding of class readings and discussions. Many resources, including CQ Weekly and Politics in America are at

http://library.cqpress.com. Also go to the library and see The Almanac of American Politics. You should check other sources as well. See:

The usual specs:

  • Essays should be typed, stapled, double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page.
  • Put your name on a cover sheet. Do not identify yourself on the text pages.
  • Cite your sources. You may use either endnotes or parenthetical references to a bibliography. In either case, put your documentation in a standard format (e.g., Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style).
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
  • Return essays by the start of class, Wednesday, February 10. Essays will drop one gradepoint for one day's lateness, a full letter grade after that.

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