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Researching Congressional race, research and journal students to research a 2016 Congressional race (House or Senate). Students should choose and reserve in Canvas a specific current election. Research news stories on the race, and select at least two with different perspectives. Check the opposing campaigns’ official positions against online sources such as Vote Smart and Open Secrets for researching candidates to evaluate those running.
From the top of Congress.gov’s home page, select “Members.” Pull down and select either a House Rep or a Senator to see the member’s website, which includes on the right links to remarks in the Congressional Record and down below Legislation. What impression do you gather about the personality of the politician from the bills introduced? This may work better for some (students and members) than for others.
Another good place to look for information about politicians, bills, and elections is the organization Vote Smart (http://www.votesmart.org/ (Links to an external site.)). Try checking the Interest Group Ratings for various politicians’ support and opposition. If you don’t know your representatives, enter your Zip Code in the search above the blue folders. Then, scroll down to figure out who your incumbent House Rep is (US House is between the many US Senate candidates and Jerry Brown, Governor of California, the first of the state offices). Select the name and click the blue folder labeled Ratings. This will show how various interest groups rate the politician and may give you a quick impression. For example, the House Rep for the LACC area gets high ratings from the groups labeled Liberal and low ratings from the groups called Conservative. He gets low scores from gun rights groups and high scores from gun control groups, as well as high scores from pro-choice groups and low scores from anti-abortion groups. Open Secrets is another site useful for researching Congress, and the following link leads to their race info page (http://www.opensecrets.org (Links to an external site.)). Try checking officials’ top 20 contributors and deciding what the list shows about them.
After deciding who should win the Congressional race and why, consider how the race compares/contrasts to the US Presidential contest. Find at least one article with a quote you can explain as comparison/contrast to the Congressional race.
It’s not required, but students may find the online game How to Win the White House (https://www.icivics.org/games (Links to an external site.)) useful or interesting. The organization that produced the game, iCivics, has also created other educational games on a variety of political and governmental topics.
Keep reading Gladwell’s David and Goliath, and make a list of about five challenges involved in running a country that are most important and urgent to you. Evaluate examples of how well the Congressional campaigns address the issues you consider important. Look for quotes that represent points where you, Gladwell, and the candidates agree and disagree.
Continue reading Drury’s Advise and Consent, and reconsider your list of about five challenges involved in running a country that are most important and urgent to you, and imagine how the scenarios described by Drury might influence the issues you care about. Look for quotes that represent points where you, Drury, and the candidates agree and disagree.
Working title: __________ (change it later if you like)
Thesis topic: specific 2016 US House or Senate race
Thesis opinion: candidate _____ should win because reasons 1, 2, 3
Body (explanation of your reasons for your opinion, supported by research)
relevant details of the Congressional race, explained
2 news stories on the Congressional race, explained
1 news story on the Presidential contest, with comparison/contrast to Congressional race explained
1 quote from the Congressional record by the incumbent, if any. If there is no incumbent, a quote from the nearest geographical incumbent of a similar position, i.e., probably the nearest House rep