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Rock the Vote: Political Parties and Elections • Students will compare current political parties’ ideas about government and evaluate the impact political parties have on society, government, or the political system.
Political Parties • These are logos from political parties in the United States: Communist Party USA, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Republican Party, and Socialist Party USA. • Here are some basics you need to know before we delve deeper. Please add these notes to your foldable: • The U.S. has a two-party system. There are mainly two political parties competing for control and running for elections in the U.S. • The Democratic and Republican parties have been the two major parties since the 1860’s. • Third parties typically nominate a presidential candidate but so far, none have won. • As of January 2013, all members of Congress are members of the Democratic or Republican parties, except for the following people: • Senator Angus King, Independent from Maine • Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont
Station 1 and 2: Political Parties Graphic Organizer • At each station, your folder will contain an article about the major political parties in the U.S. and their view on government. • Read the article with your teammates. • After reading, cite specific examples from the text that explain the political party’s views about government by listing the paragraph number and summarizing the evidence. Once you have completed the reading and listed your evidence, write a statement that summarizes your assigned party’s views about government. • You must have at least 2 pieces of evidence for each political party.
Station 3: One Big Party? • Read the article, “One Big Party?” with your teammates. • As you read, list the five functions of political parties in the graphic organizer. For each function, write one or two sentences that summarizes the function. • To complete the example column, go to one political party’s website and find examples of each function. Be prepared to share your examples and list your source(s). • Republicans (www.gop.com) or Democrats (www.democrats.org) • After finding examples, explain how each function impacts our society, government or the political system.
Station 4: Political Spectrum • Read the article “Donkeys to the Left, Elephants to the Right” with your teammates. • After reading, complete your own political spectrum. Check each statement that you most closely agree with for each issue. Then look at all the choices and analyze your results. • Then, create your own political spectrum using the guide. Match each statement with it’s correct location. Some are done for you already. Use the construction paper and make your spectrum neat and colorful. Add logos and illustrations to represent each viewpoint. Each bullet point should be written on your spectrum.
The government should take strong action to solve society’s problems. (Far Left) • Pay for government run programs to help people. (Center Left) • The government should encourage people and businesses to solve society’s problems themselves (Center Right) • The government should not get involved in solving society’s problems (Far Right) • Offer tax breaks to people and businesses who do good things or stop doing harmful or unfair things. • The government should regulate people and businesses to promote the common good on all issues. • The government should leave people and businesses alone to do what they want to do. • Pass laws to keep people and business from doing harmful or unfair things.
Station 5: Current Events • Read the Upfront article, “10 Things You Need to Know About Washington: Part I” with your teammates. • Take the mini-quiz with your teammates. • Then, answer the following on the back of your quiz: • Why do you think the political parties are more polarized today than in the past? What effects has this polarization had? • Write a conversation that might take place between a Republican and a Democratic lawmaker about the size of the federal government. Use evidence and details from the article.