Unit 3: Political Parties, Campaigns, Elections, and Interest Groups
There are innumerable factors that impact the American governmental system, often making an already byzantine political process even more complex. In this unit, you will learn about campaigns, the electoral process and how political parties and interest groups shape the political landscape by influencing candidates and voters. You will first focus on the role of political parties (especially in elections), their historical development, and their effect on the political process. You will also discover how the American political system maintains a strong two-party system (made of Democrats and Republicans) that makes it difficult for a third party to gain prominence. Next, you will focus on interest groups, how they impact campaigns, candidates, and voters and can often entrench the system through aggressive issue advocacy and campaign contributions, which are directed to incumbents far more often than challengers, helping to maintain the political status quo.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 20 hours.
3.1: Political Parties
3.1.1: What Are Political Parties and What is Their Role in Government?
3.1.2: Historical Development of Political Parties
3.1.3: Political Parties in the American Two-Party System Today
3.1.4: Political Parties and Party Identification
3.2: Campaigns and Elections
3.2.1: The History of Campaigns in the United States
3.2.2: Nominations – Presidential, Congressional, and State Nominations
3.2.3: Elections – Presidential and Congressional
3.2.4: Campaigns – Context, Financing, and Strategy
3.2.5: The Incumbency Advantage
3.2.6: Campaigns and Elections in the Information Age
3.3: Interest Groups
Unit 3 Assessment