Summer Ending


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Summer is drawing to a close. Get ready for another school year. Go Bruins!

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Current Events: 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates


Status: Not yet declared. Upon withdrawing in 2008, Biden said that campaign would be his last run for the White House, but speculation over another run remains. Speculation that Biden might run has grown in July, and he will reportedly make a decision by the end of the summer.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden ran for president in 2008, and dropped out after getting only one percent in the Iowa caucuses. Prior to becoming vice president, Biden was a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years. He chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for four years and the Senate Judiciary Committee for eight. Biden also ran for president in 1988 but withdrew early on after a plagiarism scandal. Rumors say Biden’s dying son, Beau, asked his father to promise he’d run for president.

Age on Election Day: 73
Education: University of Delaware (History and Political Science), Syracuse University Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Jill), four children (Beau [deceased], Robert Hunter, Naomi Christina [deceased], Ashley)
Birthplace: Scranton, Pa.
Current Residence: Washington, D.C.
Religion: Roman Catholic


Lincoln ChafeeLincoln Chafee served one-term as an independent governor of Rhode Island, and opted not to seek re-election when his approval rating fell to 33 percent. Chafee, who ultimately switched to the Democratic Party, had served Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican, but he became an independent after he lost re-election. His father, John Chafee, R-R.I., had been a U.S. senator before him.
Age on Election Day: 63
Education: Brown University (Classics), Montana State University (Horseshoeing)
Family: Married (Stephanie), three children (Louisa, Caleb, Thea)
Birthplace: Providence, R.I.
Current Residence: Warwick, R.I.
Religion: Episcopalian

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton is the best-known candidate in the race. Voters are familiar with her from her time as secretary of state, 2008 presidential campaign and time in the U.S. Senate. And her husband is obviously pretty famous too. It remains to be seen how her lesser-known controversies will affect her White House bid. Clinton has been accused of corruption for allowing the Clinton Foundation to accept donations from foreign governments and hiding emails from when she was secretary of state.
Age on Election Day: 69
Education: Wellesley College (Political Science), Yale University Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Bill), one child (Chelsea)
Birthplace: Chicago, Ill.
Current Residence: Chappaqua, N.Y. or Washington, D.C.
Religion: Methodist

Martin OMalleyMartin O’Malley was the governor of Maryland for eight years until January 2015. Since then he has visited Iowa and New Hampshire to talk about liberal priorities such as same-sex marriage and the minimum wage, calling for a raise to $15 an hour. He has been an outspoken opponent of pending trade agreements. Prior to being governor, O’Malley was the mayor of Baltimore for seven years. His record there has been criticized after the Baltimore riots in April. As governor, O’Malley signed 40 tax hikes into law.
Age on Election Day: 53
Education: Catholic University of America (Political Science), University of Maryland (J.D.)
Family: Married (Katie), four children (Grace, Tara, William, Jack)
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Current Residence: Baltimore, Md.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Bernie SandersBernie Sanders has been a U.S. senator from Vermont since 2007, prior to which he served in the House of Representatives for 16 years. He’s now the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and chaired the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for two years. Technically, Sanders is an independent and has described himself as a democratic socialist in the past. If he chooses to run, Sanders will likely be the most liberal candidate in the race, having long-championed liberal causes like single-payer healthcare, the expansion of Social Security and opposition to free trade.
Age on Election Day: 75
Education: University of Chicago (Political Science)
Family: Married (Jane), four children (Levi, Heather, Carina, David)
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Current Residence: Burlington, Vt.
Religion: Judaism

Jim WebbJim Webb served just one term in the U.S. Senate, deciding against running for re-election in Virginia in 2012. Webb served in the Vietnam War with the Navy and was briefly Reagan’s secretary of the Navy. An outspoken critic of the Iraq War, he has opposed Obama’s policies on the Middle East as well. As a candidate, Webb will be quick to criticize Clinton and Biden (if he runs) on defense policy.
Age on Election Day: 70
Education: United States Naval Academy (completed), Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Family: Married (Hong), five children (Amy, Jimmy, Sarah, Julia, Georgia), one stepchild (Emily)
Birthplace: St. Joseph, Mo.
Current Residence: Northern Virginia
Religion: Christian

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Current Events: 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates


Jeb Bush

John Ellis Bush (his name “JEB” is actually an acronym) served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, after narrowly missing winning that job in 1994. Bush is known for his moderate stances on immigration and Common Core, although he says the federal government should have no role in the Common Core debate. He’s the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush. After his time as governor, he founded the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is now chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Age on Election Day: 63
Education: University of Texas (Latin American Studies)
Family: Married (Columba), three children (George, Noelle, Jeb)
Birthplace: Midland, Texas
Current Residence: Coral Gables, Fla.
Religion: Roman Catholic (converted from Episcopalian)

Ben CarsonBen Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who rose to political fame after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. Although he has never held elective office, Carson is a published author, serves on the board of multiple corporations, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 for his work. Carson is an outspoken opponent of Obamacare. He also has a history of controversial comments, including that Obamacare is the “worst thing … since slavery.” Carson briefly led or was tied for the lead in several national polls in late spring 2015.
Age on Election Day: 65
Education: Yale University (Psychology), University of Michigan (M.D.)
Family: Married (Candy), three children (Murray, Benjamin, Rhoeyce)
Birthplace: Detroit, Mich.
Current Residence: West Friendship, Md.
Religion: Seventh-Day Adventist

Chris ChristieChris Christie has been the governor of New Jersey since 2010. Prior to that, he was the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2001 to 2008. Although he was cleared from wrongdoing in the infamous “Bridgegate” scandal, Christie’s reputation still suffers from it. Christie is well known for having a moderate-to-conservative record in deep-blue New Jersey and vehemently defending that record against hecklers, including teachers union members. Christie said “the national teachers union” deserves a punch in the face in an August 2015 interview.
Age on Election Day: 54
Education: University of Delaware (Political Science), Seton Hall University (J.D.)
Family: Married (Mary Pat), four children (Andrew, Sarah, Patrick, Bridget)
Birthplace: Newark, N.J.
Current Residence: Mendham, N.J.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Ted CruzTed Cruz became a U.S. senator from Texas in 2013, when a delayed election calendar helped him get his message out and defeat an establishment Republican candidate who outspent him three-to-one. He was a partner at Morgan Lewis law firm and solicitor general for the state of Texas. He has successfully argued cases before the Supreme Court. Cruz was criticized by some and became a hero to others by trying to defund Obamacare during budget negotiations in Fall 2013 that ended in a government shutdown. Cruz was born in Canada, but he was born to an American mother, so he is eligible for the presidency.
Age on Election Day: 45
Education: Princeton University (Public Policy), Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Heidi), two children (Caroline, Catherine)
Birthplace: Calgary, Canada (Cruz’s mother was born in the United States, so he is still eligible for the presidency)
Current Residence: Houston, Texas
Religion: Southern Baptist

Carly FiorinaCarly Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005. She is the only Republican woman in the race. Fiorina is the chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, which perhaps helps her credibility with Tea Partiers. She has never held elective office. She ran for U.S. Senate in California in 2010, losing 52 to 42 percent to the incumbent, Sen. Barbara Boxer. Fiorina has called Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness into question and made other critical comments, boosting her profile on the campaign trail.
Age on Election Day: 62
Education: Stanford University (Medieval History and Philosophy), UCLA Law School (did not finish), University of Maryland (MBA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management (Master of Science)
Family: Married (Frank), two step-children (Lori Ann [deceased], Traci)
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
Current Residence: Mason Neck, Va.
Religion: Christian

Jim GilmoreJim Gilmore served as governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002 (term limits prevented another run). Gilmore also ran for president in the 2008 cycle, but withdrew after six months. Instead he ran for the U.S. Senate, losing by 21 points to now-Senator Mark Warner. As governor, Gilmore phased out property taxes on vehicles and cut spending during the early 2000s recession. Gilmore is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and was chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2001.
Age on Election Day: 67
Education: University of Virginia (undergraduate and law school)
Family: Married (Roxane), two children
Birthplace: Richmond, Va.
Current Residence: Alexandria, Va., or Richmond, Va.
Religion: Methodist

Lindsey GrahamLindsey Graham has been a U.S. senator from South Carolina since 2003. He has been in some form of elected office since 1993, also serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a firm believer in foreign policy interventionism, but his centrist views on environmental policy are rare in the GOP. He is frequently identified as an ally of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and backed McCain’s campaign finance law in 2002.
Age on Election Day: 61
Education: University of South Carolina (Psychology, J.D.)
Family: Unmarried, no children
Birthplace: Central, S.C.
Current Residence: Seneca, S.C.
Religion: Southern Baptist

Mike HuckabeeMike Huckabee served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. Following his failed campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, he hosted the “Huckabee” show on Fox News until early 2015. Huckabee is well-known for his very conservative positions on social and cultural issues, and was an ordained Southern Baptist minister prior to becoming Arkansas’ lieutenant governor. Huckabee is critical of some conservative economic policies, such as reforming Social Security.
Age on Election Day: 61
Education: Ouachita Baptist University (Religion), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (did not finish)
Family: Married (Janet), three children (John Mark, David, Sarah)
Birthplace: Hope, Ark.
Current Residence: Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
Religion: Southern Baptist

Bobby JindalBobby Jindal has been the governor of Louisiana since 2008. Born to immigrants from India, Jindal is one of the few candidates with a non-white ethnic background. Prior to becoming governor, Jindal served in Congress for three years. Unlike other governors who might run for president, there’s little to wonder about Jindal’s national policy positions. He’s already released national policy plans on education, health care, national defense and energy through America Next, his policy shop.
Age on Election Day: 45
Education: Brown University (Biology and Public Policy), Oxford University (MLitt.)
Family: Married (Supriya), three children (Selia, Shaan, Slade)
Birthplace: Baton Rouge, La.
Current Residence: Baton Rouge, La.
Religion: Roman Catholic (converted from Hinduism).

John KasichJohn Kasich has served as the governor of Ohio since 2011. Kasich had an 18-year stay in Congress until he decided against re-election, instead trying a presidential bid that didn’t last beyond the 2000 Iowa Straw Poll. Early in his time as governor, Kasich signed a law strictly limiting collective bargaining rights, but the law was overturned in a referendum. Kasich has been criticized by conservatives for expanding Medicaid in Ohio through Obamacare, and also for his support for Common Core.
Age on Election Day: 64
Education: Ohio State (Political Science)
Family: Married (Karen), two children (Emma, Reese)
Birthplace: McKees Rocks, Pa.
Current Residence: Westerville, Ohio
Religion: Anglican (converted from Catholicism)

George PatakiGeorge Pataki served three terms as governor of New York, ending in 2006. Since then, Pataki has been an environmental lawyer and run his own business development firm focused on clean energy. He also spent some time helping run Revere America, an anti-Obamacare organization. Pataki’s record as governor of deep-blue New York puts him closer toward the moderate part of the conservative spectrum.
Age on Election Day: 71
Education: Yale University (History), Columbia Law School (J.D.)
Family: Married (Libby), four children (Emily, Teddy, Allison, George Owen)
Birthplace: Peekskill, N.Y.
Current Residence: Garrison, N.Y.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Rand PaulRand Paul has been a senator from Kentucky since 2011, after Tea Party support helped him upset an establishment party-favorite Republican in the primary. The son of a former presidential candidate, former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Paul already has a solid base of libertarian support. He was cheered by conservatives in 2013 for his 13-hour filibuster of now-CIA Director John Brennan’s nomination, motivated by President Obama’s drone strike policy. Paul has campaigned on “trying to kill the tax code,” preferring dramatically simpler and lower taxes.
Age on Election Day: 53
Education: Baylor University (did not finish), Duke University School of Medicine (M.D.)
Family: Married (Kelley), three children (Robert, Duncan, William)
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Current Residence: Bowling Green, Ky.
Religion: Presbyterian (converted from Episcopalian)

Rick PerryRick Perry served as the governor of Texas for 14 years until he decided against running for re-election once again. He will have to overcome the ghost of his failed 2012 campaign, in which he shot up to the top of the field before falling even faster after committing a series of gaffes. Perry built a strong economic record in Texas and has long been a proponent of giving federal powers back to the states. Perry can claim to be more familiar with immigration than most of the other candidates, having governed a state with more than 1,000 miles of Mexican border.
Age on Election Day: 66
Education: Texas A&M University (Animal Science)
Family: Married (Anita), two children (Griffin, Sydney)
Birthplace: Paint Creek, Texas
Current Residence: Austin, Texas
Religion: Methodist or Evangelical

Marco RubioMarco Rubio has been a senator from Florida since 2011, after Tea Party support helped push him past Charlie Crist in a three-way general election. Prior to that, Rubio had a nine-year career in the Florida House of Representatives, two years of which he was speaker of the House. Rubio’s Cuban descent has been a notable influence on his support for conservative immigration reform and on Cuban-American relations, an issue he has criticized Obama heavily on.
Age on Election Day: 45
Education: University of Florida (Political Science), University of Miami School of Law (J.D.)
Family: Married (Jeanette), four children (Amanda Loren, Daniella, Anthony, Dominick)
Birthplace: Miami, Fla.
Current Residence: West Miami, Fla.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Rick SantorumRick Santorum was a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007. He is well-known for his 2012 presidential campaign, when he arguably finished second in the GOP primaries and won the Iowa Caucuses. Santorum has been the CEO of EchoLight Studios since 2013, a film company that produces Christian films. He is most famous for his very conservative positions on social issues, like a ban on most abortions.
Age on Election Day: 58
Education: Penn State University (Political Science), University of Pittsburgh (M.B.A.), Dickinson School of Law (J.D.)
Family: Married (Karen), eight children (Elizabeth, Johnny, Daniel, Gabriel [deceased], Sarah, Peter, Patrick, Bella)
Birthplace: Winchester, Va.
Current Residence: Great Falls, Va., or Dallas, Texas
Religion: Roman Catholic

Donald TrumpDonald Trump is the son of Fred Trump, a wealthy real estate developer. Donald Trump is a successful businessman in his own right. Trump has flirted with running in the past and appeared at multiple Conservative Political Action Conferences. His brash personality and wealth make him one of the most well-known figures in the country. Although he was a Republican before 1999, Trump was a registered Democrat from 2001-2009 and previously supported universal healthcare. He was the host of “The Apprentice,” a reality show on NBC.
Age on Election Day: 70
Education: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Economics)
Family: Married (Ivana [divorced], Marla [divorced], Melania), five children (Donald, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, Barron)
Birthplace: New York, N.Y.
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Religion: Presbyterian

Scott WalkerScott Walker has been the governor of Wisconsin since 2011. He’s best known for signing Act 10, a law that removed most collective bargaining privileges for public-sector labor unions in 2011. He later signed a right-to-work law for his state in March 2015. Walker beat back a union-funded recall election attempt in 2012 and won re-election in 2014, meaning he’s won three statewide elections in a state Obama carried twice. Walker was the executive of Milwaukee County prior to becoming governor. He’s been criticized for changing his positions on immigration and ethanol subsidies.
Age on Election Day: 49
Education: Marquette University (did not finish)
Family: Married (Tonette), two children (Matt, Alex)
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Current Residence: Maple Bluff, Wis.
Religion: Evangelical Christian

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Current Events: Presidential Primary 2016


PrintHow to go about comparing and then judging the candidates? All too often, slogans, name recognition and personality are all that come through in campaign materials. Because television continues to dominate political campaigns, with the Internet as an every growing presence, it is difficult to move beyond a candidate’s image to the substance of a campaign. However, it is possible to move beyond style to substance. The steps outlined are designed to help you to judge a candidate.

Decide what you are looking for in a candidate.
Candidates can be judged in two ways: the positions they take on issues and the leadership qualities and experience they would bring to the office. Your first step in picking a candidate is to decide the issues you care about and the qualities you want in a leader.

When you consider issues, think about community or national problems that you want people in government to address. Also consider what party the candidate belongs to and the typical stance the party takes on the issues.

When you consider leadership qualities, think about the characteristics you want in an effective leader. Do you look for intelligence, honesty, an ability to communicate?

Find out about the candidates.
Pick campaigns to study. Find out which candidates are running in the race.

A Voters’ Guide is a source of information. Find out all the eligible candidates that will appear on the ballot. Be sure to include minor party and/or independent candidates.

Gather materials about the candidates.
Put together information about the candidates. Collect any records you can find on the candidates. Call campaign headquarters and watch the press. Sources of information you may choose to review include:

  • campaign literature
  • direct mail letters (mass mailings sent to selected voters asking for support and funds)
  • press reports (newspaper clippings and television and radio reports)
  • radio and television ads
  • candidates’ speeches
  • candidate debates

Evaluate candidates’ stands on issues.
As you read the materials you collect, does the materials give you an overall impression of the candidates? What specific conclusions can you draw about the candidates’ stands on issues?

Learn about the candidates’ leadership abilities.
Deciding if a candidate will be a good leader is difficult. How can you know if someone will be honest, open or able to act under pressure if elected to office? Here are some ways to read between the lines as you evaluate the candidates’ leadership qualities:

  • Look at the candidates’ background and their experience. How prepared are they for the job?
  • Observe the candidates’ campaigns. Do they give speeches to different groups – even those groups that may disagree with the candidates’ views on issues? Do they accept invitations to debate? Do the campaigns emphasize media events, where the candidates can be seen but not heard? For instance, a candidate is seen cutting ribbons to open new bridges rather than talking about transportation. Review the campaign materials. Do campaign materials emphasis issues or image? Are they accurate?

Learn how other people view the candidate.
Once you have accumulated information from campaigns and other sources, you will want to learn what other people think about the candidates. Their opinions can help clarify your own views, but do not discount your own informed judgments. You may be the most careful observer of all!

Seek the opinions of others in your community who keep track of political campaigns. Interview three people (not family members), such as a librarian, store owner, neighbor or politically active volunteer, to find out which candidate they support and why. Learn what has shaped their political opinions. Was it an event? An idea or program proposed by a candidate? A particular issue about which they feel strongly? A long-standing party loyalty?

Learn about endorsements. This is a way for interest groups and organizations to give a “stamp of approval” to a candidate. Endorsements provide clues to the issues a candidate supports. Get a list of endorsements from each of the candidates’ headquarters. Find out what these groups stand for and find out why they are endorsing this candidate.

Look into campaign contributions. Where do the candidates get the funds to finance their campaigns? Do they use their own money or raise funds from a few wealthy donors, from many small contributors or from Political Action Committees? (PACs, as they are known, are groups formed to raise and distribute money to candidates.) Many types of information about campaign contributions must be reported to the government and are watched by the press. Check the newspaper for stories on campaign finance. How might these campaign contributions affect the candidates’ conduct in office? You might also want to analyze an incumbent’s voting record on issues important to PACs and other campaign contributors.

Throughout the campaign, opinion polls will be taken by a variety of groups to evaluate public support for the different candidates. Polls reveal who is leading at a certain point in the race. This information can be crucial for a candidate because it can increase support and contributions from people who want to be on the winning team. As you read the polls, ask these questions: Who sponsored the poll? Was the poll produced by a trusted and independent group? Were all the figures released, even unfavorable data? What kinds of questions were asked? Were they slanted or unbiased? How were respondents selected – randomly or in such a way to include all segments of the population? How many people were included in the poll sample?

Sorting it all out.
Review the information and compare all the candidates. Ask yourself these final questions:

  • Which candidate’s views on the issues do I agree with the most?
  • Who ran the fairest campaign?
  • Which candidate demonstrated the most knowledge on the issues?
  • Which candidate has the leadership qualities I am looking for?

Is the choice clear? If so, pick a candidate.


GOP Presidential Candidates 2016
Who would be the best Republican nominee in the 2016 presidential election? (listed alphabetically)
Jeb Bush
Dr. Ben Carson
Gov. Chris Christie
Sen. Ted Cruz
Carly Fiorina
Jim Gilmore
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Mike Huckabee
Gov. Bobby Jindal
Gov. John Kasich
George Pataki
Sen. Rand Paul
Rick Perry
Sen. Marco Rubio
Rick Santorum
Donald Trump
Gov. Scott Walker


Democratic Presidential Candidates 2016
Who would be the best Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential election? (listed alphabetically)
Lincoln Chafee
Hillary Clinton
Martin O’Malley
Bernie Sanders
Jim Webb

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HGov: Equal Rights Struggling Toward Fairness


civilrights_wordcloudDuring the past half-century, the United States has undergone a revolution in the legal status of its traditionally disadvantaged groups, including African Americans, women, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Such groups are now provided equal protection under the law in areas such as education, employment, and voting. Discrimination by race, sex, and ethnicity has not been eliminated from American life, but it is no longer substantially backed by the force of law. This advance was achieved against strong resistance from established interests, which only begrudgingly and slowly responded to demands for equality in law.

civil_rights_judicialTraditionally disadvantaged Americans have achieved fuller equality primarily as a result of their struggle for greater rights. The Supreme Court has been an instrument of change for disadvantaged groups. Its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in which racial segregation in public schools was declared a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause, was a major breakthrough in equal rights. Through its affirmative action and other rulings, such as those providing equal access to the vote, the Court has also mandated the active promotion of social, political, and economic equality. However, because civil rights policy involves large issues concerned with social values and the distribution of society’s opportunities and benefits, questions of civil rights are inherently contentious. For this reason, legislatures and executives have been deeply involved in such issues. The history of civil rights includes landmark legislation, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

equality_rectangleIn more recent decades, civil rights issues have receded from the prominence they enjoyed during the 1960s. The scope of affirmative action programs has narrowed, and the use of forced busing to achieve racial integration in America’s public schools has been nearly eliminated. At the same time, new issues have emerged, including the question of whether same-sex couples will have the same rights as opposite-sex couples.

google-numbers2The legal gains of disadvantaged groups over the past half-century have not been matched by material gains. Although progress has been made, it has been slow. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, other Americans lag behind in levels of education, income, and health care. Tradition, prejudice, and the sheer difficulty of social, economic, and political progress stand as formidable obstacles to achieving a more equal America.

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HGov: Summer Assignment Chapter 5


civil_rights-map_with_facesAll individuals have the right of equal protection of the laws and equal access to society’s opportunities and public facilities. African Americans, women, Hispanic Americans, and other traditionally disadvantaged groups have a disproportionately small share of America’s opportunities and benefits. Existing inequalities, discrimination, and political pressures are major barriers to their full equality. African Americans, women, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and others have all had to fight for their rights in order to come closer to equality with white males.


Homework Assignment:
Chapter 5: Equal Rights. Read pages 142-176

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Current Events: Invisible Primary


primary_election_voteThe invisible primary is the period between when a candidate announces their bid for public office and when the actual primaries take place. It’s also sometimes called the “money primary” since candidates spend most of their time during this period raising money in an effort to show political strength. During this period the first well-known presidential candidates with strong political support networks show interest in running for president and demonstration of substantial public support by voters for them in primaries and caucuses.

latest-poll-results-08.04.16During the money primary candidates raise funds for the upcoming primary elections and attempt to garner support of political leaders and donors, the party establishment. Fund raising numbers and opinion polls are used by the media to predict who the front runners for the nomination are. It is a crucial stage of a campaign for the presidency, as the initial front runners who raise the most money appear the strongest and will be able to raise even more money. On the other hand, members of the party establishment who find themselves losing the invisible primary, may abandon hope of successfully running. There is little or no campaign advertising using television, particularly by the candidate, during this period, although online advertising may be used to build mailing lists of grassroots supporters and small contributors.

early look at 2016 raceIn contrast to the smoke-filled room where a small group of party leaders might at the last minute determine the candidate, the invisible primary refers to the period of jockeying which precedes the first primaries and caucuses. The winners of the invisible primary come into the first primaries and caucuses with a full war chest of money, support from office holders, and an aura of inevitability. Winners of the invisible primary have the support of the leaders of their political party and, in turn, support the political positions of their party.


Democrats Donkey Logo-1In the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton has a host of endorsements by party elites and activists, a growing fundraising operation, and a strong lead in presidential opinion polls. As a result, some would-be candidates are staying out of the race, leaving Clinton to run virtually unopposed. That makes the front-runner’s path to the nomination much easier. In nomination campaigns like this, a rival or two may emerge, but caucuses and primary voters generally support the candidate backed by party elites and group leaders. The main question is whether the front-runner will stumble enough to blow the nomination.

GOP Elephant Logo-1The 2016 Republican race shows some serious competition with a lot of candidates, but none with a majority of support in opinion polls. As a result, there is little to deter even more politicians from entering the race. With a number of potentially appealing candidates in the race, Republican insiders are undecided and divided about who they will support. Most Republican elites are standing on the sidelines, waiting to see who catches fire before endorsing a candidate. As a result, rank-and-file Republicans lack clear signals about who to support. Such nomination campaigns tend to remain competitive at least through the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, when party activists and a broader population of party identifiers begin to settle the matter. These nominations tend to hinge more on campaign momentum gained or lost during the primaries.

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