This course is an introduction to the study of American politics in the contemporary era. Its focus is the process of policy making in a sociologically diverse, culturally divided, and institutionally fragmented political system. An underlying issue is whether the American political order (or disorder) is obsolescent, given the contemporary demographics and economic challenges. Among the themes to be discussed are: the contemporary collision between the values of liberty and equality and its impact on public policy, the nature of American national identity in the face of ethnic change, the power of organized interest groups, the role of the media, the meaning of the public interest, and the case for and against reforming fundamental features of the political system, such as the electoral college, campaign finance laws, and the budgetary process.
Please note that the course description is from Fall 2012.