Discuss about american politics


Assignment:

You may choose a topic from the list of options that I have provided below.

Please use standard margins. This means 1-inch margins on the top and bottom and either 1-inch or 1.25-inch margins on the left and right. I would also greatly appreciate you using a standard font (e.g., Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial) and size (12 pt. font, please). Please use the APA or MLA citation format to cite your sources.

Essay Topics (choose one)

Option 1: Book Review

This is an important and challenging time for scholars of American government. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, historically high levels of congressional gridlock and unprecedented partisan polarization within the electorate exemplify rather dramatic structural changes to our political system. Below, I have listed three recent scholarly works that attempt to improve our understanding of some of these changes. Each of these books is accessible to an educated general reader - i.e., you don't need to be a Poli Sci "junkie" to understand the authors' arguments.

1. Achens, C.H., &Bartles, L.M. (2017). Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

2. Mason, L. (2018). Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

3. Rosenfeld, S. (2018). The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Choosing to write your paper on one of these books gives you the opportunity to do a "deep dive" into a topic of great relevance to contemporary American politics. The book review option also simplifies your research process, as the book you choose to review is the only required scholarly source for this assignment (you are certainly allowed and encouraged to use additional sources to bolster your analysis of the book, but this is not mandatory). On the other hand, you will be expected to have a thorough comprehension of the book, so your reading load will be higher than it would be if you choose one of the other options.

So, what exactly does the book review assignment entail? You will be expected to write roughly 5 pages (about 1,250 words) critically analyzing the book you have chosen. This means more than just summarizing the book. It means identifying the author's main arguments, the importance of this work, the types of evidence the author utilizes to support her arguments and the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments presented. Some questions you should consider when thinking about how to write your essay include:

• How does this book fit into other research on this topic? In other words, is this book part of an ongoing scholarly debate?

• What is new or novel about this book that enhances our understanding of the topic? (In an upper-level course, you would generally answer this question and the previous one by having knowledge of other works in the field, but for this assignment I only ask that you pay attention to what the author himself says about these issues - most scholarly writers are very explicit about how their work fits into a larger area of research and how their work makes a unique contribution to the field)

• Can you state in simple terms the main arguments of the book (e.g., "Achens and Bartles argue that it is unrealistic to expect voters to follow politics closely enough to vote based on the issue positions of candidates or parties.")?

• Are the author's arguments supported with case studies, statistical analysis, logical reasoning, or any other method? How convincing is the evidence?

• Were you left with any unanswered questions?

• What are the implications of this work? Should it change how we think about American politics in any way? Should we consider any reforms to the political system in light ofthe findings in this book?

• Who should read this book? Politicians? Poli Sci majors? Concerned citizens?

• Finally, what general impressions do you have of this book? Did you find it enjoyable and readable, or not? Did you learn anything particularly surprising or noteworthy from reading this book?

Option 2: Year of the Woman

Write an analytic essay about 2018 as the "Year of the Woman." More women are running for Congress, governorships and other offices nthan ever before in 2018. In your essay, address the following questions: How much does 2018 differ from previous years in terms of women candidates? How successful were women in winning elections (the answer to this question will need to wait until after the Nov. 6 elections)? What difference is there between the Democratic and Republican parties in terms of female representation? Is more ‘descriptive representation' of women in Congress important (in other words, is having the gender balance in Congress look more like the gender balance in society at large important)? Why or why not? What special challenges/obstacles, if any, do women face in running for office? Are there any resources available to female candidates to help them overcome some of these obstacles?

If you choose this option, I am looking for the following qualities in your essay:

• Basic data analysis (e.g., women as a percentage of all congressional candidates in 2018, women's winning percentage in 2018 midterm elections, changes in women's representation in Congress over time, comparison of women's representation in Congress to women's representation in other democracies, etc.)

• An interesting and clearly stated thesis regarding the importance of women's descriptive representation

• A logical, well-organized structure, consistent style, and good grammar and spelling

• The use of appropriate evidence in support of your thesis - at least three academic sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journal articles, law review articles, books by university presses, etc.)

Option 3: Defend or Refute

Write an essay in support of or opposed to one of the statements below:

1. There is too much variation in state laws over marijuana use. It is time for the federal government to impose a nationwide marijuana policy. (Note: you can argue for or against nationwide legalization or nationwide restriction)

2. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was an unconstitutional overreach of executive power (i.e., President Obama's order was so broad that it went beyond his constitutional duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed") and should be overturned.

3. U.S. citizens living in Washington DC, Puerto Rico and other territories are unfairly denied full representation in the federal government. They must be granted full representation in Congress and in the Electoral College.

4. Since World War II, Presidents have largely taken over the war-making power from Congress. This should be reversed: The President should be forbidden from engaging U.S. troops in combat operations without explicit approval from Congress.

5. Partisan gerrymandering is an unconstitutional violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. States should be required to draw congressional district lines without consideration of party.

If you choose this option, I am looking for the following qualities in your essay:

• An interesting and clearly stated thesis

• A logical, well-organized structure, consistent style, and good grammar and spelling

• The use of appropriate evidence in support of your thesis - at least three academic sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journal articles, law review articles, books by university presses, etc.)

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