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Posts tagged ‘politics’

Only true election and poly sci fanboys will enjoy this post


Syllabification: (fan·boy)
Pronunciation: /ˈfanˌboi/

An extreme fan or follower of a particular medium or concept, whether it be sports, television, film directors, video games, etc.

Yes. That’s me. I follow politics. I’m an extreme fan of elections and love talking strategy, candidates, and poll numbers – and just about anything else that connects somehow with the process. I’m an election fanboy.

So I’m probably one of a very small group of election geeks who cares much about yesterday’s presidential election.

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Technology and 21st century elections

Negative ads. Political mud-slinging. Character attacks by supporters of various candidates. Dirty tricks. Personal insults. Outrageous newspaper editorials. Predictions of national collapse and disunity.

Yeah. Elections can be rough. Imagine if it was this bad in 2012, rather than the election of 1800. John Adams was running for re-election against the challenger Thomas Jefferson. And it was not pretty. But the election of 1800 is interesting not so much for its ugly of its temperament or even the change in the Constitution that it caused.

It’s interesting to me because this was one of the first elections in which new technology, the use of newspapers as a part of the campaign process, became widespread.

And while the mudslinging hasn’t really changed that much, the technology has. It’s a different world than Jefferson’s – one full of social media, internet ads, Twitter, texting, email / online campaign contributions, and instant video are creating a different sort of election process. The infographic below highlights some of these changes. Read more

7 great places to watch the election

For political junkies like me, this is Super Bowl week. If you haven’t noticed, the 2012 election is tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow.

I’ve been loving all of the online / TV coverage of polls, events, speeches, fundraising, and pundits. And I’ve been just a little freaked out.

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Tip of the Week: Voting Information Goodies

Apparently the election is over and the results are in.

The Scholastic Student Vote started earlier this fall and ended  this week. President Obama finished with 51%, Governor Romney finished with 45%, and 4% of the kids voted for another candidate. The Vote may not be official, but its results have often indicated who eventually wins the presidential race. Scholastic has conducted the student mock vote during every presidential election since 1940 and the results have mirrored the actual outcome of all but two elections—1948, when kids voted for Thomas E. Dewey over Harry S. Truman, and 1960, when they selected Richard M. Nixon over John F. Kennedy.

I’ll post more election goodies next week but thought I would start with some voting information so that you can get you own mock election started. Read more

iCivics: Awesome games, lessons, materials

Need some handy civics / government video games, lesson plans, and teaching materials? (And really . . . who doesn’t need handy civics / government video games, lesson plans, and teaching materials?)

If your answer is yes, iCivics just saved your bacon.

Back in 2009, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation.

Securing our democracy requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance.

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How to watch a political debate

For a poly sci major and long time social studies guy like me, presidential elections are the Final Four, Super Bowl, and World Cup all rolled into one. You’ve got the qualifying rounds, the underdogs, press conferences discussing strategy, insider information, accusations of illegal recruiting, poor officiating, and every once in a while some actual game action.

Tomorrow is the first presidential debate between President Obama and former Governor Romney – the first real game action. As a poly sci guy, I know that the debates will probably not really matter that much. The number of people who have already decided one way or the other is pretty large and the number of actual undecided voters who might make a difference in the Electoral College is pretty small.

Some would suggest otherwise but debates make for great television and they’re part of the action so . . . of course, I’ll be watching.

Even if you’re not a poly sci guy (and chances are your students aren’t either), the debates are great teachable moments. They provide an opportunity to discuss and argue about a whole variety of things – systems of government, bias, impact of media and constitutional law not to mention . . . you know, basic stuff like what candidates believe and how they would govern. So don’t blow them off.

The question:

How do I watch a debate? More importantly, how do I use the debate series in my classroom?

There are some handy resources out there:

You don’t have to love politics as much as I do but getting your students involved in the process is not something to blow off. We need to take this whole democracy, government by the people thing seriously and it starts by getting kids engaged in the actual doing of it.

Give it a try and let me know how you integrate your election coverage!


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