Electing the President: Caucuses and Primaries





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This lesson is envisioned as a two-day lesson, that included the HNN fact sheet, an article, handout and various links

Common Core Standards Correlation:

Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9-12: standards 1-4 and 6-9

Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies Grades 9-12: standards 1-9

Readings/Resources:

  • HNN Backgrounder (assigned for first day)
  • HNN Guide: Who Should Be the Next Commander-in-Chief? Moral Leader-in-Chief? Educator-in-Chief? Statesman-in-Chief? Politician-in-Chief
  • Mike Fiore’s Cashocracy vide
  • Citizens United—Story of Stuff Projec
  • Wrong Speech is also Free Speech: Citizens United at Two, by Trevor Burrus
  • Objectives: 

  • Knowledge of the campaign process, presidential primaries, and the nominating convention
  • Understand how campaign finance operates, the laws regulating campaign finance and the connection between the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and campaign financin
  • Assess the validity of Super PACs on the electoral process
  • DAY ONE:

    Introduction (Bell Ringer): Watch Cashocracy video and follow-up with introductory questions:

  • What is the video about
  • How does it depict the election process? Check for prior knowledge of Left vs. Right by discussing point of view
  • How does this video relate to the information in the HNN Backgrounder?
  • Essential Question: To what extent is campaign funding important to the election process, and related to fair electoral practices?

    Move to a general review discussion of the HNN Backgrounder and how the presidential election system works in the United States: caucuses, primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, nominating conventions, campaign finance, general election, Electoral College

    Activities

  • Citizens United—Story of Stuff Project
  • While students are watching have them answer the following questions

  • How did this Supreme Court decision come about
  • What are the essential elements of the Citizens United case
  • Based on this video, how does Citizens United affect the election process
  • What would be an opposing viewpoint of this video’s point of view
  • How might this law help or hinder candidates in a presidential election
  • In a teacher-led discussion, discuss the history of how groups have controlled the election process; how campaign funding relates to election outcomes; what the major sources of such funding are under current law, and how successful reform legislation has been in purifying U.S. elections of improper monetary influences.
  • Compare and contrast the chart and linked article below with the supplemental reading from the Cato Institute


    Source: Ezra Klein in the Washington Post

    Cato Institute: Wrong Speech is also Free Speech: Citizens United at Two, by Trevor Burrus

    Listen to the Rise of the Super PAC NPR Radio show, then have students take notes using the form below.

    Use the following questions to guide student note-taking while listening

  • What is the Citizens United case and how does it impact the development of Super PACs?
  • What is the video about?

  • How does it depict the election process? Check for prior knowledge of Left vs. Right by discussing point of view
  • How does this video relate to the information in the HNN Backgrounder?
  • Essential Question: To what extent is campaign funding important to the election process, and related to fair electoral practices?

    Move to a general review discussion of the HNN Backgrounder and how the presidential election system works in the United States: caucuses, primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, nominating conventions, campaign finance, general election, Electoral College

    Activities

  • Citizens United—Story of Stuff Project
  • While students are watching have them answer the following questions

  • How did this Supreme Court decision come about
  • What are the essential elements of the Citizens United case
  • Based on this video, how does Citizens United affect the election process
  • What would be an opposing viewpoint of this video’s point of view
  • How might this law help or hinder candidates in a presidential election
  • In a teacher-led discussion, discuss the history of how groups have controlled the election process; how campaign funding relates to election outcomes; what the major sources of such funding are under current law, and how successful reform legislation has been in purifying U.S. elections of improper monetary influences.
  • Compare and contrast the chart and linked article below with the supplemental reading from the Cato Institute


    Source: Ezra Klein in the Washington Post

    Cato Institute: Wrong Speech is also Free Speech: Citizens United at Two, by Trevor Burrus

    Listen to the Rise of the Super PAC NPR Radio show, then have students take notes using the form below.

    Use the following questions to guide student note-taking while listening:

  • What is the Citizens United case and how does it impact the development of Super PACs
  • What do candidates say about Super PACs?
  • Gingrich:

     

     

     

     

    Romney:

     

     

     

     

  • What are Super PACs allowed to do that candidates cannot do
  • To what extent are the candidates removed from their respective Super PAC
  • How do the Super PAC commercials depict its candidate or its enemy?
  • Have each student research and write a brief outline, supported with concrete evidence, that both affirms and negates the following resolution, and be prepared to discuss this resolution in a caucus during the next class:

    Resolved: The Citizens United decision is a fair and just law.

    DAY TWO

  • Four Corner Debate on the Citizens United resolution: Have the class caucus their positions for 5-10 minutes, and then eventually guide them to choose one of the designated positions on the resolution: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.

  • After the groups have formed, assign group-work roles (Leader, Recorder, Reporter), and give students about 5 minutes to formulate, as a group, their arguments. The Reporter will share their group’s arguments in an open public forum debate between each designated position. If students are persuaded to change their minds, allow time for students to change corners. Then continue the group discussion/debate—all students should be taking notes throughout the exercise
  • At then end of the discussion, assign each student to use their notes and write a concise position state and warranted paragraph, using specific evidence and a clear rationale, that states and defends his or her position on the resolution.
  • Enrichment: Have students create a poster campaign of their position on Citizens United to post throughout the school to bring community awareness and encourage discourse.

    Summary Question: What would the founding fathers think about Citizens United and campaign financing?


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