DPI-322M: Presidential Elections

Semester: Not Offered

Credit: 0.5

Faculty: Elaine Kamarck


Day Time Location
First Day
Meet Day


In a nation where there are hundreds of separate election contests every year, presidential elections are the only truly national elections. But this is not the only thing that makes them unique. Both the nomination system, consisting of primaries, caucuses and a national convention and the general election, dominated by the demands of the Electoral College, differ substantially from all other elections in the American political system. This module will provide students with the history and political science they will need to make sense of the 2012 presidential election and beyond. It will focus on the structure of the presidential election system, both the nominating system and the general election; the very different sets of voters that participate in presidential primaries and presidential general elections; the influences that contribute to the unique narratives of both challenger and incumbent campaigns; and finally the role issues play in creating a mandate for governance by the person who wins the presidency. On several occasions we will also meet outside of class to view video of important campaign events. The course also includes several speakers with extensive experience in some aspect of presidential campaigns. In addition, on the weekend in between the two weeks of this module students will go to New Hampshire to observe and/or participate in campaign activities leading to the run up to the New Hampshire Primary. The module presupposes a basic level of understanding of American government and politics. International students are encouraged to take the class and Course Assistants will provide regular extra study groups for them.

Not offered in 2013-14.