Political Science | American Politics (3 cr)
Y661 | 3588 | Hershey

With regard to holding a democratic government accountable to its citizens,
elections are a pretty blunt instrument.  Other institutions, however, work
much more regularly and more explicitly to convey information and
preferences between leaders and citizens.  These intermediaries, then --
parties, organized interests, social movements, and the media -- become
vitally important to the maintenance of a democratic system.  So it's
important for us to understand their capabilities and their behavior.  How
accurately do they convey public opinion to decision-makers?  What sorts of
participatory opportunities do they provide to citizens?   What biases exist
in their functioning that affect representation in the U.S.?  In this
seminar members will write frequent memos on the assigned readings, share
their insights in seminar, and prepare a research design that's usable for a
second-year paper (or a dissertation) on political intermediaries.