Political Science, Current Events


Is our democracy broken? History offers hope. Consider five pivotal cases in U.S. history from three centuries as decision makers would have, through background briefing on the issues. Read the case (about 30 pages each) on your own; in class, analyze and wrestle with the issues and options decision makers faced. Experience history in a more immersive way and emerge with a greater appreciation of the strengths, weaknesses and resilience of American democracy. Required text is Democracy: A Case Study by David Moss ($20).

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Explore the economics behind the proposals of the candidates and the current administration as we lead up to the 2020 election. We will analyze the economic impact of trade and tariffs, the effects of budget deficits on the national debt and the debt impact on the economy, the economics underlying health care and education proposals, and the role of the Federal Reserve in incorporating campaign proposals into the economy.
Be a part of the world's largest discussion program on world affairs, organized by the Foreign Policy Association. The 2019 topics include: refugees and global migration; the Middle East; nuclear negotiations; the rise of populism; U.S.-China trade; India and its neighbors; cyber conflicts and geopolitics; the state of the State Department and diplomacy. Read a 10-page briefing, view expert testimony on the week's topic, discuss. Required text: Great Decisions Briefing Book, ($30).

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The Bill of Rights impacts our lives every day. We will discuss the rights guaranteed by the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution, how the courts interpret and limited them. We will put particular emphasis on how the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments impact our criminal justice system.
Demographics, water, energy, and climate change will have a major impact on the U.S. and its role in the world, no matter who is president or which party controls Congress. Will the U.S. recognize and adapt to the challenges? We will examine the effects of protracted conflicts on our foreign military policies and consider strategy options, focusing on our policy on Syria and the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
Take a seat in the courtroom and perhaps even on the jury as an experienced criminal trial attorney dissects the roles of judge, lawyers and jurors, focusing on the importance of the jury in our legal system. In this hypothetical first-degree murder case, class participants can sit as jurors, hear evidence from both sides and deliver a verdict. Afterward, offer your views of the jury system.
Beginning in the early 20th Century, numerous cases concerning freedom of speech and press were brought before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). These cases addressed a range of issues, including libel, obscenity, political dissent, and how much authority government has to stifle or punish speech it finds objectionable or perceives to be dangerous. We will be looking at a sample of those cases and the challenges that issues of freedom of speech and press will pose for the near future.
In this continuing series on the 2020 election, we will examine the major issues facing the country and the most prominent solutions being proposed by the various parties. Each session will examine the current status of an issue, the solutions under consideration, the impact of the issue on the election, and the likelihood that significant change will occur related to that issue.

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Define party rules for the 2020 Democratic and Republican primaries and the rules for the 2020 Democratic debates in this interactive session. Review and analyze the 2020 presidential primary: debates, polls, policies both proposed and opposed, and fund-raising. Which states are targets for gubernatorial and senatorial capture? Investigate the 2020 primary strategies for winning the Presidency and the U.S.Senate. Participate in an in-class poll for both presidential primaries.