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Unit 8: Putting It All Together
A. Read the following selections from the Margin Notes by clicking on each link.
no Margin Notes selections to read for this unit.
B. Watch these presentations. When you click on one of the links below, a new screen will pop up. Use the scrollbar on the side of the new screen to navigate.
You need Adobe Reader to view PDF files.
There are no presentations to watch for this unit.
C. (Optional) Read the following chapters from the textbook.
There are no chapters to read for this unit.
D. The following
Optional Links are designed to help you do better in your course but
they are not required.
E. Project: Candidate Profile
and Assessment (20 points)
Since we have a presidential election coming up, it seems appropriate that your project be
part of that process!
Imagine it's near the end of
March 2016, you work for the Republican National Committee (RNC) and have been asked by the RNC’s Political Director to complete a
Profile and Assessment (P&A) on one of the candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. The RNC needs to know what candidate characteristics matter, what campaign strategies work and what issues play with the voters in the race for the party's nomination.
The RNC's Political Director needs a completed and accurate P&A on
each candidate prior to the Republican National Convention so it's important that you take enough time to do a thorough job.
Start by selecting one of five candidates running for the Republican nomination for president –
Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Donald Trump. Download or
open a copy of the blank P&A form (below, near the end of these
instructions). Read the Profile Explanatory Notes, the Assessment
Explanatory Notes and Information Sources (below), referring to the
appropriate sections in the P&A form. Now that you have the big picture, use
the links in the explanatory notes to begin finding the needed information
on the candidate you've chosen.
The Candidate Profile on the P&A form has 9 profile sections, each of which has a number of questions that require specific and accurate answers. The sections on the P&A form correspond to the profile areas below, which collectively make up a candidate profile. Based on what
you learn while completing the candidate profile, you must also complete the brief
Assessment on the last page of the P&A form.
What follows are the Explanatory Notes for the profile
and assessment, and
Information Sources containing links to the data you need to complete the P&A form.
Note that many of the links connect you to past candidates and campaigns and
are intended as examples you can follow and/or comparisons you can make as
you assess the candidate you have chosen.
A. Candidate Profile Explanatory Notes
1. Personal Statistics
(See the P&A Form for specific
candidate's age, marital status, religion, etc ... mostly objective,
How have the media portrayed and defined the candidate?
The Power of Political Pratfalls,
Fill in the Blanks,
Laugh or the World Laughs at You,
A Campaign Challenge: Defining Obama,
Palin’s E-Mails Undercut Simplistic Views of Her Both Positive and Negative,
the moment Kerry became a
George HW Bush and the
Trail To The Chief: 2016 Gaffe Edition,
Election 2016 presidential candidates,
2016 Candidates Are Cursing More and on Purpose,
any general election 2016 site] How accurate are those portrayals? What
factors, including personal characteristics (such as
and cosmetic variables (such as campaign
Kid Rock’s Born Free),
contribute to the candidate's image?
Consult at least five wide-ranging yet reliable resources to get different
perspectives. Look for quotations that describe the candidate and note who’s
giving the description (a journalist, an opponent, the candidate, etc). Look
for any evidence that a description has resonated with voters, influenced
opponents’ strategies or is otherwise powerful. Note information about
the candidate (divergent
positions, personality traits, actions) that doesn’t
seem to fit with descriptions.
3. Verbal Skill (speeches, interviews, etc)
is one of the most important components of a presidential campaign. [Anatomy
of a Stump Speech,
Romney’s Stump Speech Evolved Over Time,
Ron Paul’s Stump Speech,
Rick Santorum on the Stump,
Newt Gingrich on the Stump,
The Words Speakers Use,
Writing and Giving Stump Speeches]
Using current events or taped past events, examine some of the candidate's
stump speeches and media interviews.
Look at word choice, and how it relates to meaning and effectiveness. Does the
candidate use humor effectively? Is he/she able to think quickly and respond
appropriately to the unexpected? When speaking, is the candidate's body
language relaxed, stiff or anomalous? Do the candidate's speeches tend to
excite or subdue crowds? Does the candidate use symbolism that is unifying
or divisive, positive or negative?
When listening to
the candidate's stump speeches, focus especially on (1)
are some of the main messages
of this particular speech? (2) Oratory: What words or phrases help
to support the speech’s main purposes? In particular, which words or phrases
evoke emotion, paint a strong image or are very descriptive, and which
words seem strategically chosen to make something seem particularly good or
particularly bad? How do the words and phrases support or distract from the
points made? (3) Emotion: What emotions do you believe the candidate
is trying to evoke? Is he/she successful? If so, what words in particular
help convey emotion? (4) Audience: To whom is the candidate trying
to appeal? What words help you come to this conclusion? and (5) Delivery:
What do you notice about the candidate’s use of elements like tone of voice,
inflection, dramatic pause, pacing, rising and falling volume and body
language to emphasize specific points in the speech? What works and what
Rubric for Assessing Candidate Speech and Interview Performances
might be useful. Try
2016 Presidential Election Campaign Speeches.
If you are interested, The History Channel has links to
past political speeches.
4. Debate Performance
Televised presidential debates revolutionized campaign politics so, although
not many voters watch the debates, it is possible for a candidate’s debate
performance to electrify the campaign or destroy it. [Can
the Presidential Debate Format Be Un-Wrecked,
If You Didn’t Catch It the First Time,
UCSB’s Presidential Debates 1960 – 2016] Watch excerpts from the candidate’s presidential debates, using current
debates or taped past debates,
New York Times
New York Times
Presidential Debates 2016,
Full 2016 Debate Videos,
2016 Debate Transcripts,
Presidential Debate or Reality Television?]
Pay particular attention to rhetorical moves and
commonly heard themes or phrases.
Analyze the debates for examples of issue- and character-based arguments.
Focus especially on (1)
Setting: how colors, camera positions, view
framing (eg, close-ups, side view, other angles) favor or hurt the
candidate (2) Persuasion Techniques: the candidate’s use of
avoidance, etc. Do these help or hurt the candidate? (3) Favorite Phrases: the candidate’s use of slogans and buzz words. Does the
candidate use them effectively or not? (4) Rehearsed Responses:
the candidate’s use of prepared phrases or retorts that seem spontaneous.
Does the candidate use them effectively or not? (5) Cutaways:
non-verbal expressions, gesturing, audience reactions seen during debate.
Do these images help or hurt the candidate? (6) After analyzing the
candidate's approach to debating, look at his/her most and least effective
debate moves. A
Rubric for Assessing Candidate Debate Performances
might be useful. [How
Presidential Debates Work,
What You Miss When You Watch a Debate at Home,
How to Watch a Presidential Debate,
How to Watch a Presidential Debate (or Win It)]
post-debate feedback from news
sessions and/or use a tool like
to sift through online content (such as from Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and
Sure Could Use My Own Spin Doctor,
The Debate and the Spin Doctors,
In Wake of News a Plan: Uniting Party and President,
For 2012 Presidential Debates Campaigns Speed Up the Spin]
Focus on key phrases or moments and the kind of feedback they
draw. Analyze the debates and post-debate discussions for examples of spin (interpreting an event in such a way as to make it fit the
campaign's agenda and so affect public opinion). Look for examples of horse-race words/phrases used by commentators, pundits, others. Do they
favor the candidate? [Inside
the Spin Room,
The Drama behind the Leaders' Debates,
Spin vs. Reality,
Republican Advisers Spin Debate]
Look for examples of challenges to the factual accuracy of the
candidate’s claims. Do the facts support the candidate’s statements? If you
need to check facts from a debate, try
Truth or Fiction,
Annenberg Political Fact Check
Schedule - Republicans
Schedule - Democrats
Examine the candidate's stance on the issues. How, if at all, has the
candidate's stance on issues evolved over time? Where does the candidate
stand on key domestic and foreign policy issues? In what ways are his/her
issue positions significantly different from other candidates for the
Republican nomination? What issues is the candidate emphasizing in his/her
commercials and on the campaign trail? You can find issue information in
On The Issues,
Real Clear Politics,
Election 2016 Presidential Candidates,
ABC News: Election
The Road to 2016,
Sneak Peek at Heritage Action’s Report on the Republican
The Real Issues You Won't Hear from the 2016 Presidential Candidates This
What is the depth of the candidate’s previous experience in
public office? What
elected offices did the candidate previously hold? Has the candidate held
unelected or appointed public offices? What experience does the candidate have in the
private sector? For candidates currently serving in the US Senate or House, you can probably find much of the information on their Senate or House web sites at
www.house.gov. Other good sources on currently-serving political officials include
The Almanac of American Politics and Politics in America. You can also search the candidate's web sites (through Google) and biographical profiles published in newspapers like the
Washington Post. For additional information, you might try
Road to the White House 2016. C-Span has tons of additional information at its
C-Span Classroom site. Look at the table of
contents on this page.
Money is critical to presidential campaigns. How much money has the
candidate raised? What share is from individual contributions? What share is
How much has the candidate already spent? How much remaining cash does the
candidate have? How do these figures compare to those of the other
contenders for the Republican nomination? Compare to Democratic candidates?
You can find all of this information at
a web site created by the Center for Responsive Politics. Try also
The Federal Election Commission's Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal,
interactive feature on campaign finance,
Political Money Line,
Super PACs 2016
2016 Presidential Money Trail,
Center for Responsive Politics Resource Center
Which Presidential Candidates Are Winning the Money Race?
8. Polling Data
results of a recent poll
or a selection of recent polls, particularly ones that have
Hunt for trends in the polling data. What trends exist across different
groups – men, women, young, old, different ethnicities, religious, secular,
gay, straight and so on? What opportunities for the candidate do the polls
reveal? Do any of the polling results surprise you? Which trends in the
polling data are most significant? Examine Nate Silver’s data analyses on
Look at poll results from
Real Clear Politics,
New York Times
and/or any other nationally-ranked polling company.
In what states is the candidate focusing his/her campaign? Has the candidate
chosen to skip either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary? Why or
why not? Track and analyze Republican primaries using a Republican Delegate
Detailed Delegate Allocation - 2016,
2016 Republican Primaries: How Delegates Will be Awarded,
2016 Presidential Primary Calendar,
2016 Primary Calendar and Results]
How does the candidate measure up in terms of allocated delegates?
How many more delegates does he/she need to claim the Republican
presidential nomination? How does this compare to the other Republican
presidential candidates? In what states and among what demographic
groups is the candidate likely to do well (or at least hopes to do
well)? How is the candidate positioning himself/herself? What issue
positions is the candidate emphasizing or deemphasizing? If given the
opportunity, what might you advise the candidate to focus on at this point
in his/her campaign?
What is the strategic goal of the candidate’s
TV Ad Archive, CNN's
Presidential Political Ad Archives,
The Living Room Candidate Pres Ads 1952-2004,
EASE History Campaign Ads 1952-2004,
Election 2012 Campaign Ads,
TV and Radio Ads from the 2016 Presidential Campaign,
2016 Campaign Is Already Underway on TV,
How Data and Programmatic TV Will Dominate the 2016 Presidential Campaign,
The Television Election,
Analyzing Political Ads using the TARES Test,
Explore Political Advertising,
Media Investigations: Specific Tools for Analysis,
The Language of Advertising Claims,
Deconstructing Campaign Messages and Perceptions,
The Role of Media in Politics]
Are the advertisements
effective? Why or why not? Focus on the types of ads the candidate is using – Advocacy, Attack or Contrast.
Identify the claims the ad is making. Look for evidence for the claims made.
Are there any visual arguments? Identify the sponsor.
How is the candidate’s campaign
organized? Are resources (staff, advertising
dollars, volunteers, office space and etc) concentrated in particular
Real Clear Politics
You might also look at:
Presidential Election 2016: Key Indicators
B. Assessment Explanatory Notes
1. Assessment and Rationale
Use the data from the candidate profile you created and as many of the following methods as necessary to make
an assessment of the candidate's chances of winning the Republican nomination for president. You must provide not only your assessment (prediction / projection) of the candidate's chances but
your rationale (the reasons why) for the assessment you are making. (For example, I've assessed Abe Lincoln's chances and decided he has NO chance of winning because he is
deceased. What's most important is not that I said he has no chance but the reason I gave for it.)
Examine the reasons for the candidate's successes or failures to date.
(Remember that it's near the end of March 2016.) Did the candidate do well
in the early Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary? What groups were
his/her strongest supporters in those contests? Based on the early contests,
what are the implications for the candidate's long-term prospects? If the
candidate did well, what accounts for it? If the candidate did poorly, can
he/she still possibly recover and win the nomination? You might check out
how SWOT analyses are performed.
The example given is for a firm but SWOT analysis is used in politics as
Using sources given above, compare the
delegate count of each of the five candidates. Compare the states
already won/lost to those states with elections still outstanding. Given
the candidate's current delegate count and the past states in which
he/she did well, how well is the candidate likely to do in the remaining
primaries? Are there significant roadblocks ahead in states that have
yet to select their delegates to the national convention? [Election
2016 Presidential Candidates,
2016 Primary Calendar and Results,
Who’s Winning the Presidential Campaign?,
A Very Big Tent]
Using sources given above, examine the influence of money in the current
primary election by investigating any correlations between campaign
donations and poll numbers. Given the findings, does the candidate have
sufficient campaign funds (or the potential of finding sufficient) to win
General Election Analysis
Primary voters seldom select
a nominee that they believe is incapable of winning the presidency.
map out various routes to the White House by examining each
and electoral vote count, and how many electoral votes the candidate would
need to win the presidency if he/she became the party's nominee. Which
combinations of states could yield a victory? [Never
Finally, how likely is it that the Republicans will end up with a
convention in 2016? On which of your data do you base your answer?
Rove Tries His Hand at a Brokered/Deadlocked Convention Scenario,
Brokered GOP Convention in 2016,
Could the GOP Really See a Brokered Convention in 2016,
Brokered Convention in 2016,
Could Rule 40 Force the GOP Into a Brokered Convention In 2016,
Yes, A Contested Convention Is Legitimate]
Important: (1) You must complete the profile. Without that
information, there is no possible way to assess the candidate's chances of
success. (2) You must assess (make a projection / prediction) the
candidate's chances. If you're wishy-washy, you won't get any points for
your assessment. (3) You don't receive points for your assessment based on
whether it's right or wrong. The biggest item on the grading rubric (in
terms of points) is the reasons you give for why you made the assessment you
made. If you write a good explanation based on the candidate's information
you'll do well. (4) Do NOT spend tons of time on the rest of the P&A form
only to give a non-answer for your assessment and a weak explanation. "I
made this assessment because I like this candidate the best and it just felt right" won't help your grade at
C. Information Sources
In addition to the sources listed in each
section above, try the NY Times' political news blog
and data analysis blog
as well as its
Primary Results by State,
and the politics
for videos that capture specific elements of the campaign in footage and
News: Election 2016,
Road to the White House 2016,
Democracy in Action: P2016,
all have excellent features and vast amounts of data.
provides social media addresses. Try
270 to Win
for a variety of electoral maps. Newspapers also are often excellent sources
of information on campaigns.
Be very careful to assess ALL sources of information for quality and
accuracy – for example, the NY Times is a reliable source, USA
Today is not always. Wikipedia can be accurate but at times it's not,
and there's often no way to tell which is which. When in doubt, try
Truth or Fiction,
Annenberg Political Fact Check
sites that sift through candidate information, analyze content and detail
the accuracy of statements and information. Your P&A form's value will
depend more than anything on the completeness and accuracy of the data it
contains so be prepared to justify the data you use.
and Assessment Form [Word Doc]
and Assessment Form [PDF]
Special Email Instructions (NOT THE SAME OLD EMAIL!)
As you know, I never accept emails with attachments. For this assignment, I have to make an exception since it would be impossible for many of you to copy-and-paste page after page of your P&A into an email and still maintain the formatting. So, for this assignment only, you are going to email your work by attaching it to your email.
To minimize the risk, I'm going to be very specific about what you need to do and insist that you follow my directions.
1. When you're ready to complete your P&A, use the links above to download the Word and/or PDF version of the P&A form and save it to your computer. (One note of caution: Unless you have Adobe Acrobat you probably won't be able to type into the PDF version of the form.
Use the Word version instead.)
2. Open the form you saved to your computer and type in your answers. YOU MUST TYPE YOUR ANSWERS INTO THE P&A BEFORE SUBMITTING IT. Although your answers won't really be in an essay format and must fit into a form's boxes, you must still pay attention to spelling and grammar. Complete sentences are not necessarily required but don't assume
I'll understand your meaning if you just use one or two words as shorthand for a longer thought. As always, I value conciseness and quality but, for this assignment, there's no way around the importance of quantity as well. Too, as is always the case, misspelled words that occur more often than very occasionally greatly distract from your content.
3. When you finish typing for the day or
finish the form,
save the document before closing it.
4. To send your P&A, open a new email and type in my address
and the correct subject line as always.
5. Type some kind of message in the body – "My P&A is attached." or etc
and your name – so my software won't automatically assume your email is spam.
6. Your email should have one and only one attachment – your typed P&A form.
7. If you made a mistake of some kind and need to resend your assignment, send me an email
warning me of that before you resend it. If I get a second email with an attachment from you, I'll delete it unless you've warned me in advance.
You don't need to wait for me to respond ... just send me a warning first.
Project Submission Instructions
By the deadline shown in the Course Schedule on the main page of the syllabus:
Send your typed P&A as an attachment to a new email
(following the instructions above) to
Put your name on your P&A.
Be careful to use the correct subject line on your email.
Late P&As will lose one point per day late, including weekends
A NOTE OF CAUTION: This is a 20-point comprehensive assignment ... the detail and
thoroughness of your response should reflect that additional weight.
Proofread your work for spelling
and grammar errors and make corrections where necessary.
While the benefit you gain from your courses is ultimately up to you, all faculty members take seriously the responsibility for facilitating student learning. Faculty members desire students’ honest opinions to help improve instruction and to help verify the positive aspects of instruction. Creating online courses is extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming and all online faculty members value thoughtful feedback.
I’ve modified a short face-to-face student evaluation for online student use and strongly encourage you to participate. The answers from each completed evaluation are electronically submitted to a results file that is never publically accessible. Because no login is required to complete the evaluation, it is impossible to identify who completed a specific evaluation. The only information associated with an individual evaluation (as a method of weeding out bogus evaluations) is the date and time it was submitted.
To begin, go to the
Student Course Evaluation page and follow the directions. Take care to choose the correct course and semester. Too, remember that your course is an online course and should be compared to other online courses you've taken, not to face-to-face courses. If the course you are evaluating is your first online course, compare it to your realistic expectations of an online course.
The evaluation will be available at the link above two weeks prior to your final exam and will remain available for one week following your final. The evaluation only takes about 10 minutes to complete but the feedback you provide will be invaluable … I really do use student feedback to help improve my courses!
Final Exam (20 points)
The final exam has 40 multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth one-half point. There is a comprehensive
review for the final on the Final Exam Review page, linked off of the main page of the syllabus.
The final exam is an online exam.
You must read the
instructions for the final exam before taking it.
The instructions are on the main page of your syllabus just below the Course Schedule.
Please note that students taking the final exam online must complete the exam by the
deadline shown in the Course Schedule on the main page of the syllabus. The deadline gives you the maximum possible amount of time to take the exam but it allows NO margin of error since grades are due. If you miss that deadline, regardless of the reason, you will not be able to take a make-up exam. I strongly encourage you to take it early rather than risking damage to your grade by waiting until the last minute.