Political Science Assignment

Teachers Guidleines:
Select a major reform to American government that has been proposed by a politician and/or an interest group. The reform may seek to change the composition of government, the rights and responsibilities of the electorate, apply a state-passed law to the federal government, alter the balance of power between the 3 branches, abolish a previously-adopted reform, and/or something entirely different. It may have majority or minority support, or it may be a reform that few if any political actors or groups are talking about. You may not select a reform to local government. Based on your knowledge of governmental reform and independent research, write an 8-page (10-pages for MA students) research paper that makes an argument about whether the reform will have a positive effect on the strength of American democracy. On the last day of class, you will give an 8-10 minute presentation of your selected reform and research to the class. Your paper (due Dec. 9th) should: Make an argument about the impact of your selected reform on the strength of American democracy
Explain the selected reform: What change is proposed? What underlying “problem” is the reform intending to address? How will it be implemented (constitutional amendment, law passed by Congress and signed by the president, state law, etc.)? Assess major barriers to adoption:What challenges to adoption is the reform likely to confront? If the reform requires a constitutional amendment, or a law passed by Congress (or the states), is there enough support to adopt the law? Is the public informed on the reform, or does it require a significance shift in public opinion? Will informational asymmetries hinder the capacity of the reform’s supporters to build a winning coalition? Do the reform’s supporters need to launch an education campaign with the public and/or elites inside and outside of government?
Analyze the likelihood of passage:Based on what you know about supporters of the reform and the barriers to adoption, is adoption and implementation likely in the near or long-term? Analyze the likely effects of the reform’s passage, as well as potential unintended consequences: What effect is the reform likely to have on American politics and government (e.g. Knowledge of the public? Legitimacy of government? Capacity of the two parties to work together? Checks and balances/separation of powers? Biases in representation? Competition in elections? Etc.) What potential unintended consequenceswill the reform have on American politics and government?

Your 2-page proposal (due Nov. 18th) should: Identify and explain the proposed reform that you plan to analyze and who has proposed the reform;Briefly outline the argument that you intend to make about the impact of the selected reform (and explain why); Identify at least 1 likely effect of the reform’s passage and 1 potential unintended consequences of the reform; and Identify at least 3 scholarly sources that you intend to use (and briefly explain why these sources are relevant).Citations & Other Things: Be sure to cite at least 8 sources, including at least 4 scholarly sources (up to 2 of these sources may come from the syllabus). Non-scholarly sources might include newspaper articles, blog posts, press releases from politicians or groups, or polling data. Cite all sources used to complete the assignment above using Chicago style.

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