The Elections course taught by Professor Eleanor Gubins is about understanding the election game.Why do or don't people vote? What is the role of political parties and how has that role changed? How has polling changed? How does the media affect elections? What about special interest groups? How has new technology changed politics? How do local elections differ from national elections? And most importantly, why does it matter in 2016?
The goal of this class is to ponder these questions and to understand the hows and whys of elections past and current. Each student has chosen a battleground state in the presidential election and a competitive Senate, House, and governor’s race to follow and report on to the class.
Together, we are reading political science literature on elections and using it to understand what we are seeing in the press, on TV, and in the debates.
We look at ads from past campaigns available on The Living Room Candidate and other websites and compare them to ads used in the current campaign.
Students are also doing campaign work as part of Rosemont's service learning requirement to experience a campaign from the inside. The requirement is for 20 hours of work completed by the election. This gives students a different experience than just learning in the class. They are pushed into the election field and have first hand experience.
One student is working for the Pennsylvania Republican Party to get Senator Toomey re-elected. She goes door-to-door to the houses in Delaware County area she's been assigned and tries to get flagged voters to participate in a survey for the GOP. She describes it as simple "campaign/intern/grassroots" work. She has even interned in Washington DC.
Several others are working for the Clinton campaign by logging onto a website which gives them specific assignments—door-to-door canvassing, calling lists of likely voters, and handing out literature at different locations (train stations for example).
One student is trying to find a contact in the deaf community, which historically has low voter participation, to encourage registration and voting.