Free-Response Question 1:
A. Discuss third parties and the challenges they face in winning elections. In your discussion, explain three reasons third parties have difficulty in our political system.
B. Identify a third party candidate who received a significant number of popular votes but no electoral votes.
C. Identify one third party candidate who received significant popular and electoral votes
Thesis Statement: Third parties encounter major disadvantages compared to the two major parties due to the plurality system, “wasted vote” mindset, and ballot access laws and fees.
Major Point #1
- Winner takes all. There are no partial votes given in the Electoral College
II. Vote is Wasted
- People feel minor parties have had a hard time winning in the past and that voting for them will not significantly affect the election
III. Ballot Access Laws
- Ballot Access Laws and Fees make it difficult for third parties who lack funding and/or support
Major Point #2
I. Ross Perot
- Reform Party
- In 1992, he received 18.9% of the popular vote but no electoral votes
- Ran against Bill Clinton and George Bush
Major Point #3
I. George Wallace
- 1968 American Independent Party candidate
- Forty-six electoral votes
- Thirteen percent of the popular vote
Free-Response Question 2: The Electoral College has long been debated as an odd process in our American election system.
A. Explain two arguments that support the idea that the Electoral College be replaced by a direct popular election of the president.
B. Describe the impact the abolishment of the election college would have on the following:
1. Political parties
2. Presidential campaign strategies
3. Identify one institution that would benefit from direct elections and explain why this institution would benefit from the change.
Thesis Statement: Disbanding the Electoral College and replacing it with a direct popular vote would benefit the American election system because it would increase the number of political parties, directly reflect popular opinion and give religious groups more of a say.
Major Point #1
I. Directly Reflects Popular Opinion
- The general population would feel the election was fairer because the candidate with the most popular vote won, not the candidate with the most electoral votes.
II. Third Party Benefits
- People would not feel voting for third parties would be a “waste,” since every vote would count
- The two major party split would diminish as people would most likely vote for a variety of different parties
Major Point #2
I. Political Parties
- More minor political parties would become involved since they would be able to impact the election more significantly
- The two-party system would diminish
- Political parties can no longer disregard minor concerns
II. Presidential Campaign Strategies
- Would no longer focus on swing states and smaller, less populated states
- Campaigns would have to be focused on popular opinion
- Candidates would campaign in highly populated areas
III. Religious Groups
· Religious groups would benefit because they would have a bigger say in election due to their size and their ability to efficiently get people to vote for their beliefs