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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:01 PM

Would anyone here care to help educate my daughter?

She's a senior in HS and has to write an essay for U.S. Government. It's a 3-5 page essay addressing the process by which we select, attempt to exert influence on and hold accountable those whom we elect to political office. It needs to address the following:

1) The roles that political parties play in the process;

2) How campaigns are organized and conducted;

3) The factors that influence voters;

4) The role interest groups play in the process; and

5) How the media shapes public opinion.

She particularly needs help on #1, 2, and 4.

19 replies, 1491 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Would anyone here care to help educate my daughter? (Original post)
Flying Squirrel Nov 2012 OP
MineralMan Nov 2012 #1
Warpy Nov 2012 #3
Flying Squirrel Nov 2012 #8
Unknown Disaster Nov 2012 #14
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #15
bluestate10 Nov 2012 #2
ananda Nov 2012 #4
former-republican Nov 2012 #5
roody Nov 2012 #6
JVS Nov 2012 #7
Flying Squirrel Nov 2012 #10
Unknown Disaster Nov 2012 #16
FightForMichigan Nov 2012 #9
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #11
Flying Squirrel Nov 2012 #12
Unknown Disaster Nov 2012 #18
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #13
RobertEarl Nov 2012 #17
Hippo_Tron Nov 2012 #19

Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:03 PM

1. Sure. Google.

That works great for finding out stuff like she's looking for.

Seriously, as a high school senior, this is the kind of stuff she should be doing on her own. Probably there are 100 people on DU who could write 3-5 pages off the tops of their heads on this, but how would that benefit your daughter? Next year, I assume she'll be in college. Who will she ask how to find stuff out then?

I'm sorry but seniors in high school are already supposed to know the basics of doing research. What she's looking for is easy to find.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:24 PM

3. What MineralMan said ^

A high school senior needs to be able to find this stuff on her own. Doing it for her is not going to do her any favors.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:40 PM

8. I'm gonna unrec your thread

And change my vote on the alerted post where someone called u a homophobe.

Of course I suggested google. What's wrong with asking some expert advice here too? And yes she is doing the project on her own for the most part. Problem is, this is the one class she is failing and I'd kinda like to see her graduate with the rest of her class.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:05 PM

14. You seem to misunderstand.

What I need help on is an explanation of numbers 1, 2, and 4, along with perhaps a few examples of what they are to assist in my understanding of said topics.
I'm not asking anyone to write the essay for me. I am more than capable of writing it myself and will most definitely be doing so.

As for the "basics of doing research", I consider myself to be experienced in finding what I need to know in order to complete any given project in a class and whatnot. I have already attempted using Google. What my predicament is is that I don't fully understand the topics in which I am researching, and am therefore struggling to discern what exactly it is that I am needing to find out. Which, in turn, is making it rather difficult to decide what it is that I am specifically looking for and what information I should be taking note of.

Again, I am not asking anyone to do the essay for me. I am simply asking for advice as to what I can do to find the necessary information needed to write the essay. A brief explanation of the topics listed above in Flying Squirrel's post would be greatly appreciated.

I apologize for the length of this post and thank you for taking the time to read it.

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Response to Unknown Disaster (Reply #14)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:07 PM

15. Welcome to DU, and thank you for joining up.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:22 PM

2. Suggestions.

If you are lucky enough to have local democratic office holders, see whether you and your daughter can go to their office and discuss the 5 issues with them. Your daughter can take notes. If you have no elected politicians see whether you and your daughter can visit the your local democratic party chairperson.

Using Google works, but the above is better because your daughter will be talking to real political figures and getting their point of view. Even if your office holders are republicans but aren't the crazy sort, you may want to have a sit down discussion with them, just stay away from hot button issues.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:28 PM

4. Does she have a government textbook.

All of that info should be there.

If not, I'd tell her: hie thee to the library
and look it up.

Any decent librarian will help her navigate
the research system.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:31 PM

5. Number 4 should take up all of 3 to 5 pages

 

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:31 PM

6. That is a lot for 3-5 pages.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:33 PM

7. Homework is her job.

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Response to JVS (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:41 PM

10. see my response to Mineral Man

Thanks

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Response to JVS (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:09 PM

16. Please refer to my response to Mineral Man.

I do not wish to repost my response, as it is a rather lengthy one. Thanks.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:40 PM

9. I can be interviewed

If she's interested, she can ask me questions by email. I worked on five state House races this year and it was my first time being that involved with any political campaign. I won't give her the questions to ask, but if she has some, I'd be willing to describe how I saw things working. She can send me a note to my inbox here.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 09:57 PM

11. The TEACHER needs help. This topic is ridiculously broad for "3-5 pages." Maybe 3-5 BOOKS.

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:58 PM

12. Ah well... What she really needs is just a general understanding as a basis for her research.

Here I go...

#1 Political parties are groups of people who generally share common ideals. They try to get candidates elected who share those same ideals. There are many parties besides the Democratic and Republican party; for example, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. Also some candidates run as Independents, but if elected will usually caucus (meet to discuss ideas for legislation etc.) with one of the two current major parties (Democratic and Republican).
These ideals are usually codified in the party's "platform".

Democratic Party Platform
Republican Party Platform
Green Party Platform
Libertarian Party Platform

The political parties will often direct campaign donations to the candidates they think are most likely to win a particular seat, and/or run ads for them, and/or have people speak at rallies for them (Example: Former President Bill Clinton spoke at many rallies for Obama this campaign season, helping re-elect him.)

#2 Campaign headquarters are set up to solicit donations and act as a clearinghouse for information and response to opposing campaigns (replying to accusations made via either the news media or attack ads), and to coordinate volunteers to do things such as go door-to-door educating voters and asking them to vote for a particular candidate or make phone calls doing the same thing.

Obama national campaign site
Romney national campaign site

#4 Interest groups are groups of people who have a particular issue they want to see addressed. For example, anti-abortionists; pro-gay rights activists; business leaders; labor unions; advocates for the homeless; etc. These groups will often help campaign for candidates that they believe are most likely to favor legislation which will help their pet issues. In general, anti-abortionists and business leaders favor Republicans, while Pro-gay rights activists, labor unions and advocates for the homeless favor Democrats. These groups will sometimes make donations to political parties or candidates, make recommendations to their members regarding which candidates or parties they support, or endorse (approve of) a particular candidate (allowing that candidate to say that they've been endorsed by a particular group, which makes it more likely that someone who shares that group's ideals will vote for the candidate.)

Special Interest Groups and where they spent their money

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:03 PM

18. Thanks dad :)

This will definitely help.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:02 PM

13. The winner take all nature of American politics virtually guarantees only two major parties

A lot of the rest of our system of government revolves around that peculiar fact.

Google that and your daughter should have a good basis for discussion on #1 anyway.

As other posts have pointed out, you could write a book on each of these topics and still not really cover them.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:49 AM

17. Briefly

First the constitution controls the government. The people, via the const tell the govt what it can do to the people.

Top 2 Pol parties nowadays are top down control mechanisms meant to keep the powerful in power. You have to kiss a lot of butt to rise up. And have lots of $.

Interest groups are mainly about money. Even the big E groups have sold out. Citizens United is corrupting the process. Lobbyist write laws. Churches push govt to control people. WDC is full of money grabbers. State capitols too. People, if they got together can change things but the media and interest works to keep them divided.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 06:18 PM

19. Maybe she could focus on a single individual

Lets take Bill Clinton for example

1) Discuss how political parties select our Presidential nominees, and how Bill Clinton won the Democratic Party nomination in 1992.

2 Talk about the campaigns he ran in 1992 and 1996 for examples of how campaigns work.

3) Describe what factors influenced voters to chose him over George Bush and Ross Perot.

4) Talk about the role that interest groups played in killing his health care bill.

5) Discuss how the media shaped public opinion in the Monica Lewinsky Scandal.

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