Video Exercises

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Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

Third-party candidates play an important role in the electoral process, even if the widespread financial and popular support of the two major parties rarely provide opportunities for a third-party victory in elections. Some voters view third-party candidates as “spoilers” in close races between Republicans and Democrats, while others see them as an essential part of a functioning pluralist democracy.

Time Ripe for a Third Party?
CNN
First aired October 2, 2009

1a.
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In what ways could third-party candidates enhance voter representation?
1b.
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Some argue that third parties are election “spoilers” or are the equivalent of “throwing your vote away.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
1c.
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How important are third-party candidates to you? Have you ever voted for a third-party candidate? Why or why not?
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Moveon.org is a nonprofit, progressive, liberal public policy advocacy group and political action committee that has raised millions of dollars for candidates of the Democratic Party in the United States. In this video, it highlights a Republican who supported Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Moveon.org
Obamacan
May 11, 2008

This video clip from Fox News Channel discusses Democratic supporters of the McCain 2008 campaign.

Fox News
Democrats for McCain

2a.
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What reasons do the people featured in these videos give for voting outside their traditional party affiliation?
2b.
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What do these videos suggest about the changing relationship between political party identification and voting behavior in the United States?
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The DNC and YouTube held a contest in 2008 to ask voters to explain “Why I’m a Democrat in 2008.” During YouTube’s coverage of the convention, prominent Democratic Party officials were also asked the same question. This video shows highlights from the contest entries and interviews.

3.
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What reasons were given by people in the video as to why they are Democrats?
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As your textbook explains, the major political parties have national, state, and local-level organizations. This video, from the Pinellas County Republican Committee in Florida, answers the question “Why Are You a Republican?”

Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC) promotional video
Created November 13, 2009

4a.
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What reasons were given in the video for being a member of the Republican Party?
4b.
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How do the “Why I’m a Democrat” and “Why We Are Republican” videos compare? What sentiments do the videos have in common? What are their major differences in terms of policies and political values?
4c.
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What policies and political values are important to you? Does either of the two major national parties represent your interests best?

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