322 – Schedule

Govt 322:  American Political Parties
Fall 2019


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Schedule of Readings and Discussions

 Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
– Winston Churchill

We will discuss the written assignments and the paper well in advance. Readings are to be completed before the class meetings.  Additional required readings may be added to this syllabus. This is a tentative schedule, subject to revision at any time. The reading schedule below is suggestive and subject to revision; you will be given updates as appropriate.

(Bb) means on Blackboard

*** Due to the nature of their work, the dates of our site visit and guest experts are tentative.  As soon as they are confirmed I will let you know.  And thanks in advance for recognizing that we’ll need to keep the syllabus flexible for this reason.
Week 1 Introducing American Political Parties
Aug 27 – Introductions and Getting Started

Aug 30 – Individual Meetings

Week 2 What are we doing here?
Sept 3 – Sept 6
Schmitter and Karl, “What Democracy Is… and Is Not” Journal of Democracy, 1991
Mark Leibovich, This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – plus Plenty of Valet  Parking – in America’s Gilded Capital  (2013), Prologue and  Chapter 1 (on Bb)
White and Kerbel, Party On! Introduction and ch 1: Political Parties in an American Setting
What Republicans and Democrats have disagreed on, from 1856 to today, Washington Post, July 15, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/conventions/party-platform-evolution/?tid=sm_fb
What you Like falls on party lines, Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2016, http://graphics.wsj.com/elections/2016/facebook-likes/?mod=e2tw
Week 3 What Are We Talking About?
Sept 10 – Sept 13
Ayn Rand, Anthem – any edition or free online (try ePub)
Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries – selections identified and available on Bb
Federalist Papers #10 and #51
The U.S. Constitution
Possible unannounced quiz?
Last day to drop class without a grade of W
Student-Generated Word Clouds:
In-class, students’ individual lists: Setting aside your own politics for a moment, list on these index cards all words or phrases you can think of that are associated with “Democrats good,” “Democrats bad”, “Republicans good,” “Republicans bad”.  I will assemble and we will review at our next meeting.
Week 4 How Did We Get Here?
Sept 17 – Sept 20
For Tuesday, please read

White and Kerbel, Party On! Ch 2: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth and Party Politics

Muirhead, The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age  –  preface, chapter 1: The Party Problem and ch 2: The Partisan Threat

For Friday, please read / hear / watch :

In Prisoners of Power (1887) Helen Campbell documents women at work in late 19c. New York City.  Read at least the preface and chapter 2, the story of Rose Haggerty.  You can read more, of course.  Each chapter is a different mini-biography.  The shop girls chapter gives some different perspectives (and some of the same) from Rose.

In Plunkitt of Tammany Hall,  George Washington Plunkitt gives us a peek at late 19th big-city “machine politics.” You should read at least the first six chapters and several of the others.  The chapters are short, fast reads – you can read the whole book in less than an hour.  You might like chapters 8, 9, 11, 14, 17, 20, and 22 – or any of them really – also available at ePub and other versions

Ronald Reagan,  Three-Minute Radio Addresses in the late 1970s – On Blackboard (Bb)

  • Peace
  • America’s Strength
  • The U.S. Mail
  • Freedom
  • 100 Years from Now
Rev. Jesse Jackson at DNC Conventions, 1984 (watch 18 minutes, from 5:58.50 to 6:17.20, complete transcript (5:22.31 [mid-intro] to 6:17.20). There’s  a hiccup in the video where the audio goes out for a few seconds; they go back and replay that (with audio) soon after.
Week 5 Sept 24 – Sept 27
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963) (selections)

JFK, Inaugural address, text and video

Reviewing the chapters to date for Party On! and Muirhead (see above)

Sept 27 Exam 1 due – details on Blackboard
Week 6 Oct 1 – Oct 4
Muirhead, The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age, ch 3: The Partisan Community,
   and ch 4: Reasonable Partisans
White and Kerbel, Party On! ch 3:  Party Organizations in the 21st Century,
h 4: Nominating Presidents in a Time of Trump,
ch 5: Party Brand Loyalty and the American Voter
Selected news and analysis online, links at Blackboard > Readings
Now What?  American Political Parties Looking Forward
Week 7 Oct 8 – University Closed October 10
Guest Expert:  State-Level Politics Meets International Relations:  Ms. Iman Awad, National Legislative Director, Emgage; former Arab-American Outreach Director for Governors Martin O’Malley (Dem.) and Larry Hogan (GOP) – time/date to be confirmed
Week 8 Oct 15 – Class visit by Colin Schmidt, Member, New York State Assembly, on the importance of state and local politics
Oct 15-Oct 18 – 48 Hours Crisis Response Project
In teams of four students each, you will be assigned to handle a series of national and international crises over 48 hours.  You will receive the assignment incrementally.  A one-page interim report will be due midway.   The assignment, including written and oral presentations, will be due in class, Friday, October 18.  We will discuss the assignment in class in advance.  But I’m asking you here, with plenty of notice, to address any work, internship, or other obligations you might have for Thursday night, Oct 17, to be available to meet your group to prepare your presentation for Friday Oct 18
Week 9 Oct 22-25
White and Kerbel, Party On! ch 6: Parties and Social Media,
  ch 7: Campaign Finance and Transitional Political Parties
  ch 8: Elected Officials and the New Partisanship
Muirhead, The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age,  ch 5: Loyal Partisans,
  and ch 9: Can the Government Govern?
Gloria Anzaldua, selections:  Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), chapter 1: The Homeland / Aztlan
Possible Unannounced Quiz #2?
 Friday, Oct 25 – DNC, 1pm — be sure to sign up on the Google Docs form in Bb > Announcements
American Political Parties in Disarray
Week 10 Oct 29 – Nov 1
Readings (on Bb) on the themes and particulars of intra-party divisions

(1) among parties that have dissolved or merged with other parties, including the Federalists to 1820, Democratic-Republicans to 1824, Whigs to 1860, American “Know Nothings” to 1860, Progressive “Bull Moose” to 1914, Democrats after 1968, Republicans after 2012, and

(2) Disarray today: Democratic (incl. Sanders v Clinton; 24 Candidates) and Republican (Tea Party; #NeverTrump) parties today

Intra-Party Fissues – This is where out focus is this week, the short op-eds below.

Quick bios:  Cornell West is a famous civil rights activist and academic; Thomas Frank wrote the book we read in Week 1, about D.C. elites, he is a critic that neither political party (esp. the Clinton Democrats) are the party of the working class; Pat Buchanan is a long-time isolationist/WesternCiv-is-dying pol; Max Boot is a prominent conservative public intellectual (WSJ, CFR, etc) who quit the GOP over Trump; National Review is a conservative magazine founded by William Buckley in the 1960s and in 2016 was famously #NeverTrump; Amanda Terkel is a journalist formerly of the Center for American Progress and ThinkProgress; Jennifer Horn was head of the New Hampshire Republican Party and a member of the RNC.

There are a lot of articles here, but they are short – take your time with them. Some people like the analyses of their own party, others are intrigued at the divisions among their opponents. Try both.

Cornell West, On Obama’s Betrayal
Thomas Frank, On Democrats and Republicans Abandoning the Working Class
James Traub, Elites Must Defeat the Angry, Ignorant Masses
Vox, How Bernie Changed 2016 – and the Democratic Party
Pat Buchanan, On Inauguration Day
Max Boot, We Need to Destroy the Republican Party
National Review, Conservatives Against Trump (read a few of the many)
Amanda Terkel, Nancy Pelosi as Unexpected Villain at Netroots Nation
The Hill, Racial Politics Roil Democratic Party
Jennifer Horn, Trump stole my party and my heart is breaking

Nov 3 Exam 2 due
American Political Parties:  It’s Always an Election Year
Week 11
November 5 – Election Day 2019 – MI, KY, VA, NJ – and one year until Election 2020

This week we bring together some of what we’ve been doing these last couple of months – the main Jefferson-Hamilton themes, the history of party evolution, the political science-y stuff like three legs of a party, and some first-hand reporting from the campaign trail

The Circus is Showtime’s campaign documentary begun in the 2016 Democratic and Republican nominations through election night 2016.  This season it is focusing on the Democratic nomination process.  Today we consider the candidates in Iowa, 90 days before the Feb 3 Iowa caucus – The Circus, S4 E15

November 8 – An Insider’s View of 2016 and 2020

From Philadelphia to Washington and back (and back again), we host this 20-something insider to discuss her roles from knocking doors in college to a key position in Pennsylvania for Hillary (2016) to leading campaign-finance compliance advisor… and her view of 2020 so far

Week 12 Nov 12 – Nov 15 – Papers and Presentations
American Political Parties: Lessons in Comparative Perspective
Week 13 Nov 19 – 22
Please Vote for Me (director Weijun Chen, 2007) – more on this award-winning film and its lessons about culture, institutions, and human nature, from PBS.org and AFI


Possible Unannounced Quiz #3?

Thanksgiving Week Interlude

Optional:  Tues, Nov 26

The West Wing, Season 4: Episode 6: Game On.  The President’s team prepares for the final debate


American Political Parties: What Have We Learned?
Week 14 Dec 3 – Dec 6
   Assessing the state of American political parties today

What questions should we keep in mind going forward?

White and Kerbel, Conclusion: Hamilton’s Moment of Zen


Week 15

Exam 3:  Dec9-Dec14

Final Exam date determined by University:  Tues Dec 5, 2:30-5pm.  We will discuss in class