Iowa Caucuses: Grassroots Politics on a Global Stage
FYS 018, CRN 7498
Lee B Jolliffe
We will explore the presidential nominating process as it occurs in Iowa, comparing candidate messages with media coverage of the candidates and their public events. Because candidates will be building toward voters' final choices on caucus night, we’ll have opportunities for field experience, from hearing the candidates to talking behind the scenes with their field organizers, national media in town to cover the selection process, and various activist groups engaged in politicking. During class time, guest speakers, discussion, and short films will help explain the ongoing build-up to caucus night, with students writing short responses to all these. Students will work inside the campaign of their choice for at least one 4-hour block of phone-banking, attend on-campus political events, and potentially engage in short-term fieldwork for a campaign or visiting media, so flexible weekends are required of participating students. In longer assigned papers, students will compare events with coverage, answer the questions of ‘why Iowa?’ and ‘why caucuses?’, and examine their personal experiences inside a campaign.