Weeks 3 and 4: The political and electoral system

Lecture recordings

Week 3

Week 4

Lecture notes

Tutorial readings

Tutorial 3: Constitution, Federalism and Congress

Questions: What is Congress? What is the separation of powers? What is the system of checks and balances? How powerful is the President? Is it essential that the same party control both executive and legislature? If not, how does the system allow for the resolution of conflicts over issues like the annual budget? How much influence do PACs and lobby groups have?

Required readings:

  • James Morone and Rogan Kersh, By the People, Oxford University Press, (Textbook) chapters 2, 3, 10.
  • Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, It’s Even Worse than it looks, New York: Basic Books, 2012: ix-3.

Supplementary:

  • Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-take-all politics : how Washington made the rich richer--and turned its back on the middle class, New York : Simon & Schuster, 2010 (The Reading for Week 12).

Tutorial 4: Presidency, Bureaucracy and Supreme Court

Questions: How powerful is the President? Is it essential that the same party control both executive and legislature? If not, how does the system allow for the resolution of conflicts over issues like the annual budget? How much influence do PACs and lobby groups have?

Required readings:

  • James Morone and Rogan Kersh, By the People, Oxford University Press, (Textbook) chapters 11, 12, 13.
  • Hugh Heclo, “Whose Presidency is this anyhow,” in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency, ed. George Edwards and William Howell, Oxford, 2009.

Links

Blame it on the Congress

Who has the power to make a deal with Iran: Obama or Congress?

On political dysfunction

Voting Rights in US Territories

Symbolic president

Number of Blacks in the US Congress

Number of Women in the US Congress