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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Friday, February 1, 2013

First Essay Assignment

Choose one:
  • Pick any House seat that changed party hands in 2012. Explain the outcome, with reference to candidates, the district’s characteristics, and the larger political climate. Is the same party likely to hold the seat in 2014? 
  • Compare and contrast the “Hill styles” and “home styles” of two senators from any state. Explain the key similarities and differences. 
  • Pick any of the four party leaders (Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, McConnell) and evaluate that leader’s performance in 2012. That is, what were the leader’s main political and policy goals for the year, and how well did the leader achieve them in light of the relevant resources and constraints? 
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:


  • Essays should be typed, stapled, double-spaced, and no more than four pages long. I will not read past the fourth 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 13. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.


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