Up to the writer

Ken Kollman, The American Political System. (1st, 2nd, or 3rd edition)Ken Kollman, Readings in American Politics. (4th edition)
Here is the textbook

Assignment #1: Bringing Political Science to Life

Purpose: Synthesize an actual event using political science. Roughly 500-600 words. O.K. if longer!

Details –

  1. Identify a real world political occurrence, or pattern of behavior. Briefly describe what happened, such as where (e.g. location, institution), and provide a hyperlink to a news story or wiki about the This should be the shortest part of your essay, no more than a couple sentences. I can read the story at hyperlink, but I probably know the story already.
  2. Use the textbook and/or reader to answer the following:
    1. What is the appropriate reading (or readings) to understand this political event?
    2. According to the reading you selected, what should happen between actors, voters, institutions etc. This is where you demonstrate to me that you understand the descriptive political science….so don’t be stingy, this section should be the longest, or a longer part of your Try to use both the reader and textbook in your response.
    3. According to the assigned readings should we be surprised by this event? As in, does your event defy political science theory? Or does it appear to confirm political science? Why? Don’t be stingy on this part I’m interested in how you reflect on what you learned.
  3. Be certain to give your paper an original Allusions, puns, humor, sarcasm, irony are more than welcome, and you’ll be graded on this portion. But don’t don’t don’t write assignment #1 for your title. Don’t do it.

(a) Type your paper in a serif font (like Garamond, Times, Century, Constantia). Do not use a san serif font like (Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, or Century Gothic)

  1. You can use documentaries & films that are relevant to politics. Here are some pre-approved movies:
  • Kill the Messenger (CIA, crack cocaine, & Iran Contra)
  • All the Presidents Men (Watergate)
  • Citizen Four (documentary); OR Snowden (drama)
  • The Candidate (1974)

Paper ideas:

  • Covid masks and Tragedy of the Commons
    • (Hardin would argue that we must use coercion to ensure compliance)


  • McConnell and Scheduling the Impeachment
    • Postponing the trial until Biden inauguration (Cox and McCubbins 3) cabinet-senate-schumer

  • SF School Board changes school names; Ted Cruz to Cancun; Trump to golf course
    • You could talk about agency loss, but I think the better fit is about threats from their primary constituency. Neither anticipates being in a competitive general election (due to partisan district composition), so they are pandering to voters within their party primary Use Fenno 5.3
    • Maybe use Thomas Friedman as the prompt/provocation:
  • Anything about fake news, social media content
    • Use 3 Hersh or 14.3 Allcott and Gentzkow – which are in the “supplemental readings not found” in your reader tab on beachboard under assignment #1

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