GOVT 2305 Unit 8


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Unit 8: Putting It All Together



A.  Read the following selections from the Margin Notes by clicking on each link.


There are 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.



    Currently Under Construction!

E.  Project: Candidate Profile and Assessment (20 points)To Do Note   







Joseph Biden

Cory Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Julián Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

Kamala Harris Beto O’Rourke Bernie Sanders


Campaign 2020: The list of Democratic presidential candidates 

Your guide to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates

Who's Running for President in 2020?

2020 Democratic Candidates: Our Latest List

2020 Candidates for President: A Guide

Presidential candidates, 2020


Since we recently had a presidential election, it seems appropriate that your project be part of that process!

Imagine it's near the end of March 2016 prior to the election, 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 which candidate characteristics matter, which campaign strategies work and which 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 statistics.)

candidate's age, marital status, religion, etc ... mostly objective, historical information

2. Media Image

How have the media portrayed and defined the candidate? [Worst Political Mistakes, 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 infamous Dean scream, the moment Kerry became a flip-flopper, George HW Bush and the supermarket scanner, Dukakis’s tank, Trail To The Chief: 2016 Gaffe Edition, Times Topics page, 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 hairstyle and dress) and cosmetic variables (such as campaign theme songs, 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.

Keep in mind that your opinion isn't relevant here. If the media are portraying your candidate as "attractive and sensitive, which plays well with women voters," that's what the RNC's Political Director needs to know ... not that in your opinion your candidate is an arrogant hypocrite.

3. Verbal Skill (speeches, interviews, etc)

A strong stump speech 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) Messages: What 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 or body language to emphasize specific points in the speech? What works and what doesn’t? A 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.

Keep in mind that you're looking only at candidate speeches. In "real time" the election may be over and your candidate may have won but you're not interested in speeches your candidate made after being elected. Your only interest is the campaign.

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 Debating, New York Times Presidential Debates, Huff Post Presidential Debates, New York Times Videos, 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 glittering generalities, name-calling, emotional appeals, 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), Why presidential debates can cut through the campaign hoopla]

Look at post-debate feedback from news Spin Room sessions and/or use a tool like Storify to sift through online content (such as from Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and etc). [I 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 (1:53), Inside The Debate Spin Room Where Everybody Wins] 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 and

Keep in mind that your opinion is only relevant if you are as objective as possible. That's one reason you need to honestly consider feedback from several sources ... Is it possible there is some truth in the debate feedback about your candidate even if you disagree?

2020 General Election Debates 

5. Issues

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 these sources: On The Issues, Real Clear Politics, Election 2016 Presidential Candidates, Washington Post Politics, ABC News: Election 2016, CNN: The Road to 2016, Sneak Peek at Heritage Action’s Report on the Republican Presidential Candidates, The Real Issues You Won't Hear from the 2016 Presidential Candidates This Election Year.

Keep in mind that you are looking at your candidate's positions across time and compared to other candidates' positions, not whether or not you agree.

6. Experience

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 and 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 C-SPAN: 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 that page.

7. Finances

Money is critical to presidential campaigns. How much money has the candidate raised? What share is from individual contributions? What share is from PACs? 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 Open Secrets, a web site created by the Center for Responsive Politics. Try also The Federal Election Commission's Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal, the NY Times Campaign 2016 interactive feature on campaign finance, Political Money Line, Super PACs 2016 (PDF), the 2016 Presidential Money Trail, the Center for Responsive Politics Resource Center and Which Presidential Candidates Are Winning the Money Race?

Keep in mind that you're looking at funds and expenditures as of March 2016, not for the entire campaign.

8. Polling Data

Examine the results of several polls, particularly ones that have accompanying graphics. 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 his blog, fivethirtyeight. Look at poll results from Survey USA, Polling Report, Gallup, Pew Research, Real Clear Politics, Washington Post Polling, New York Times Poll Watch and/or any other nationally-ranked polling company.

Keep in mind that you're looking at polling data as of March 2016, not for the entire campaign.

9. Strategy

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 Counter. [Republican 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 advertisements? [Political TV Ad Archive, CNN's Presidential Political Ad Archives, The Living Room Candidate Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2016, Analyzing Media: Political Ads, Election 2012 Campaign Ads, Election 2016 Campaign Advertising, 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 (PDF), Dissect-An-Ad, 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 states? Try NY Times Campaign 2016, Washington Post Politics, ABC News: Election 2016, Real Clear Politics and CNN: Election 2016.

You might also look at:    2016 Presidential Candidates in a Minute    New York Times Interactive Candidate Tracker

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.)

Assessment Method I: Performance-to-Date Analysis

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 well.

Assessment Method 2: Delegate Analysis

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 (PDF)]

Assessment Method 3: Financial Analysis

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 the nomination?

Assessment Method 4: General Election Analysis

Primary voters seldom select a nominee that they believe is incapable of winning the presidency. Using the Electoral Map, map out various routes to the White House by examining each state's population 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 Trump (PDF)]

2. Brokered Convention

Finally, how likely is it that the Republicans will end up with a brokered convention in 2016? On which of your data do you base your answer? [Karl Rove Tries His Hand at a Brokered/Deadlocked Convention Scenario, A Brokered GOP Convention in 2016, Could the GOP Really See a Brokered Convention in 2016, A 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 obviously 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 all!


C. Information Sources

In addition to the sources listed in each section above, try the NY Times' political news blog First Draft and data analysis blog fivethirtyeight, as well as its Candidate Profiles, Primary Results by State, Political Polls and the politics Video Channel for videos that capture specific elements of the campaign in footage and explanation. Washington Post Politics, ABC News: Election 2016, CNN: Election 2016, C-SPAN: Road to the White House 2016, Democracy in Action: P2016, Politico and PBS all have excellent features and vast amounts of data. Presidency 2016 provides social media addresses. Try 270 to Win for a variety of electoral maps. Newspapers also are often excellent sources of information on campaigns.



Important: 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 and, 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.


 Profile and Assessment Form [Word Doc]   DOWNLOAD BUTTON - PROFILE & ASSESSMENT FORM WORD DOC                      Profile and Assessment Form [PDF]   DOWNLOAD BUTTON - PROFILE & 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 and holidays.

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.





Course EvaluationTo Do Note

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)To Do Note

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.



Copyright © 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   04/06/2024 0830

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