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American Culture Studies

Topics: American Elections and Voting Behavior

American Culture Studies 3332 - Spring 2020

This course will provide you with a new lens to view the 2016 elections. We will consider some of the latest cutting-edge research on voters and campaigns. In the first part of the course, we will learn about voters, the decisions they make, and the forces that influence them. We will discuss recent scholarship in political science, psychology, economics, and even genetics. One of the persistent themes is whether voters possess the capacity to obtain the knowledge required to successfully contribute to democratic politics. We will examine research that finds that voters irrationally reward presidents when their hometown sports teams win, and other research that suggests voters do a fine job using informational shortcuts to make choices about candidates. Second, we will explore campaigns--the battlefield of electoral politics. Presidential campaigns today are entirely new enterprises from what they were just a decade ago in the era before new media and big data. We will examine how these new influences shape modern campaign behavior and how long-present factors like the ground game, money, and news media determine how presidents and members of Congress campaign. Finally, we will examine the consequences of elections. Do they really make a difference in terms of policy outcomes?

Section 01

Topics in Politics
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