Poli 110 (fall 2019)

Professor Adam Brown (about me)
Office phone: (801) 422-2182
Course website:
Last syllabus update: June 20th, 2019

My office location: 772 KMBL
My office hours: See grid below, or email for an appointment.

Teaching assistants. Forthcoming.

What's this course about?

Here is the BYU catalog's course description for Poli 110: "Origin and development of federal Constitution; national, state, and local governments and politics." Let's unpack that. This course consists of three major units:

  • Political development. The origin of our state and national constitutions; subsequent changes to our constitutional order, especially regarding federalism, civil rights, and civil liberties.
  • Political behavior. What individuals know about politics; how voters evaluate candidates; and the role of parties, interest groups, and media in those processes.
  • Political institutions. How the three branches of government operate, with frequent comparison to the alternative institutional arrangements found in the states (especially Utah) and abroad.

This course meets general education requirements. We will discuss the scientific methods, theories, and assumptions used to study human behavior to satisfy the social science requirement. This course also contributes to the American heritage requirement. See the GE foundation documents for detail.

All the above motivates this course's official learning outcomes:

  • Analyze current events in American politics using political science concepts.
  • Describe the most important Constitutional provisions in American national and state government and how they have changed over time.
  • Assess the functions and interactions of American political institutions at the national and state levels.
  • Explain the role individuals play in American national and state government and what factors influence their behavior.
  • Evaluate how you as an individual can effectively participate in the political process.

Required materials (and ways to save)

For those who are short on cash, I will place several copies of each required textbook on 3-hour course reserve at the library. Bring the call numbers found at this link to the circulation desk.

Required: Kernell et al., The Logic of American Politics. 7th, 8th, or 9th edition. Buy used on Amazon: 7th, 8th, 9th. The examples and illustrations change in each edition, but the core concepts change minimally. Still, a caveat (that has never been a problem in practice): Relying on an older edition does not provide grounds to appeal an exam question that happens to draw on the current edition. Pro-tip: Use the practice quizzes and other study resources at the book's website.

Required. Brown, Utah Politics and Government. The press waives my royalty for BYU students, saving you 30%, but you must buy the book directly from the press (online or 800-848-6224) and use discount code 6UTPO. Also in the BYU Store and on Amazon, and available for free in the library on course reserve. We will use Utah's political system as a frequent comparison point to the national system. This book also helps satisfy BYU students' natural curiosity about Latter-day Saints and politics.

Required: An iClicker, iClicker++, or iClicker2. Those are Amazon links; buy used. The original iClicker usually sells cheapest (used). You must have your own, and you must register it using this link; some courses use a different link, so be careful. Fresh batteries will probably last the whole semester. You receive credit only if you use your iClicker in the section you are registered for.

Required: Daily news summary from the New York Times. Visit this link and subscribe to the Morning Briefing email (remember to uncheck all the other possible subscriptions). I have no particular attachment to the NYT, and I encourage you to consume news from a variety of sources. But at a minimum, you should be familiar with the stories highlighted in this daily email—which may mean clicking through to read longer stories. After allowing a few free clicks each month, you'll hit the NYT paywall; consider a student discount digital subscription, or get free access via the BYU library. I include news questions in iclicker quizzes but not in exams; news items from any day of the week are fair game.

Assignments, grading, and important policies

10% In-class quizzes (iclickers)
21% Debate papers (download instructions and submit online)
20% Midterm 1
20% Midterm 2
29% Final exam (29% = 20% new material + 9% comprehensive)
Bonus Enrichment activities (download instructions and submit online)
Bonus Government meetings (download instructions and submit online)

You are responsible for all the information in this syllabus, recognizing that a syllabus is a plan, not a contract. Check your email daily for updates, including your spam. Visit me or a TA with questions.

Course website. You will need to log in to the course website using a password I will provide after the add deadline. If you worry that your account has been compromised, inform me immediately.

What to do if you miss class. Please do not spread illness; if you have more than a minor cold, you owe it to yourself and others to stay home. You do not need to contact me with an excuse. No matter why you miss class, you are responsible for material you miss. Get notes from a classmate or two; just ask whoever sits near you, or attend a TA Q&A session to meet students interested in studying together. After reviewing those notes, the slides, and readings, visit me or a TA to ask your lingering questions.

If you must arrive late or leave early, you do not need my permission. Respect your peers by choosing a seat that minimizes disruption, and read the above paragraph about missing class.

iClickers, dropped quizzes, and (optional) enrichment assignments. Research shows that frequent low-stakes quizzes improve learning. Quizzes emphasize assigned readings, recent lectures, and current events. Because my goal is not to enforce attendance, I drop your 3 lowest scores—meaning I remove it from both the numerator and denominator. Each time you submit an (optional) enrichment assignment (up to twice) I will drop 3 more, making it possible to drop a total of 9.

Written assignments are due at 4pm. Late policy: I do not accept late work except to accommodate emergencies and documented disabilities; if you're not sure what qualifies, ask. You will submit written assignments online. I provide a multiday submission window; submit early enough to preempt unforeseen circumstances. The system will accept submissions without penalty until midnight, but I consider all assignments due by 4pm. If an internet outage or technical problem with the website arises prior to 4pm, tell me and I will either fix the problem or extend the deadline. If a problem arises after 4pm, you will receive a zero.

(Optional) government meeting assignment. I encourage you to attend local government meetings to observe politics in practice. If you complete this government meeting assignment, I will raise your worst debate paper score (at the semester's end) by 15 percentage points, even if goes above 100. Complete it twice for 30 points.

Grade appeals process for written work. TAs and I are happy to discuss your graded paper with you and suggest ways to improve, which is usually more productive than revisiting past grades. Still, I value fair and consistent grading, and I take appeals seriously. Actual appeals must come to me—not a TA. Cool off for 24 hours before appealing, but submit your request within a week. To appeal send me a one-sentence email requesting that I review the grade; no justification needed. I will refer your essay to another TA. If the new TA assigns roughly the same grade, I will not change anything; otherwise, I will adjudicate the discrepancy by reading your paper myself (without checking the original grade) and assigning a score. The grade I assign stands, whether it is higher or lower. (When there are only a handful of appeals, I skip the middle step and move directly to assigning a grade myself.) Because your grade can go up or down, do not appeal unless you are confident there was an error.

Missed exams. If you know of a conflict in advance, email me beforehand to arrange an alternative time. If you miss an exam because unforeseen circumstances, contact me as soon as possible to work things out. Each exam will be in the Testing Center for several days; take exams early enough to preempt unforeseen problems.

Final exam mercy rule: If you do better on the final than on one or both of the midterms, then whichever midterm you perform worst on will have its weight reduced by 5 percentage points and the final will have its weight increased by 5 percentage points.

Do you have a disability? I want you to succeed. Please find the "equal opportunity" heading below.

Do you have a university-excused absence letter? I treat university travel the same as other excusable absences such as illnesses, disabilities, personal and family emergencies, and so on. I have probably already built enough flexibility into this syllabus to accommodate your travel: The provisions for dropped quizzes are for you. I do not need to see your letter unless (1) you will miss an entire exam period, or (2) official travel will cause you to miss more quizzes than you can drop with enrichment assignments. Visit with me if you have questions.

How to get help, and teaching assistants' role

Office hours provide drop-in opportunities for help, with no appointment needed. Both TAs and I hold office hours; see the schedule above. Receive one-on-one help with papers, lecture review, test prep, and so on. If you need to meet with a specific person whose hours conflict with your schedule, email for an appointment.

Q&A sessions: We will hold frequent Q&A sessions. We open by briefly highlighting essential or confusing material, then we take questions. Sessions adjourn when questions stop. Attendance is often low enough that these wind up as TA-led study groups, a great format for improving comprehension. See the schedule above.

Help with papers. Before writing a draft, bring an outline to office hours, since a good discussion will probably improve your argument more than asking me or a TA to read a draft. If you mostly want help with grammar or mechanics, visit the FHSS writing lab or the BYU writing center.

TA boundaries. It is inappropriate to ask a TA on a date or offer a gift before grades are posted. It is also inappropriate to offer a TA money for tutoring; their services are free to students in this course.

Difficulty, curving, and workload

Is this a weeder class? No. Weeders ensure only the "best" students enter a certain major. If your major requires "pre-major" courses, those are weeders. You could fail Poli 110 and still declare in political science.

Can non-majors succeed? Yes. Only 10-20% of Poli 110 students are majors, and majors perform no better on average than non-majors. In introductory GE courses, grades mostly reflect effort and dedication.

So grades are based on effort? No. But consider sage counsel from Thomas S. Monson: "Thinking is the hardest work anyone can do, which is probably the reason why we have so few thinkers.... What the public takes for brilliance is really the result of thorough, painstaking investigation and downright hard work." (In "Constant Truths," Pathways to Perfection.)

Do you curve? Uncurved cutoffs are 93.0+ A, 90.0+ A-, 87.0+ B+, 83.0+ B, etc. I never curve down. I curve up when needed by lowering cutoffs to ensure ≥25% of students earn an A/A- and ≥67% land in the A or B range. Grades below C- are rare for those who attend often and complete assignments. This distribution resembles those found in other introductory social science courses. (I curve before adding bonus assignments to your score, so that students who do not complete optional assignments face no penalty.)

How much time should students spend on this class? At BYU, "The expectation for undergraduate courses is three hours of work per week per credit hour for the average student who is appropriately prepared; much more time may be required to achieve excellence" (source). BYU defines an A as "excellent," a B as "good," and a C as "satisfactory." Thus, an "average student" (29.5 ACT, 3.86 high school GPA) who is "appropriately prepared" should plan on 9 hours per week to "satisfy" (B or C) course requirements, while "much more time may be required" to "achieve excellence" (an A). More generally, an average student enrolled for 15 credits should plan 45 hours for school each week to maintain a B or C average. Plan on more time out of class than in.

Tips for success

Performing well requires (1) comprehending the material and (2) retaining what you have comprehended. Reexposure (reviewing notes, re-reading books, attending review sessions) boosts comprehension, but research demonstrates that retention requires different strategies.

Improving comprehension of lectures.

  • Slides are visual aids, not notes. Take your own notes, but do not transcribe every word. Make an outline and write down the most important points.
  • If you choose to take notes on a laptop or tablet, put it in airplane mode and close all other programs to minimize distractions. Put your phone away during class.
  • Consider taking STDEV 109 ("Effective Study and Learning") to improve your note-taking skills.

Improving comprehension of readings.

  • Textbooks aren't novels, so don't read them the same way. First, skim. Read the introduction and conclusion; read the headings, boldfaced/highlighted text, tables, figures, etc. Read the chapter's terms list and review questions. Prime your mind to recognize what's important. Second, read. Speed up for easy material and slow down for hard stuff. Third, skim again. Review the introduction and conclusion. At each heading, try summarizing that section's main point. Quiz yourself on the review questions.
  • For non-textbook readings, focus on finding the central point. Practice summarizing these readings in 1-2 sentences per assigned page.
  • Find a place to study without distractions. Turn off your phone and wifi.
  • Catching up is harder than staying current. Use the reading load planner to plan ahead.
  • Consider taking STDEV 205 ("Success in College Reading") or STDEV 305 ("Advanced Strategies for College Success") to learn speed-reading and other skills.

Improving retention. Retrieval aids retention more than reexposure does. Retrieval means forcing yourself to try remembering something. Retrieval boosts learning even more when you retrieve regularly. Retrieving for 15 minutes three times a week is more effective than retrieving for 60 minutes once a week. Your study should include only enough reexposure to ensure comprehension; after that, emphasize retrieval as your study strategy.

  • Raise your hand often in class or participate regularly in a study group, both to ask questions and to participate in discussions. Formulating ideas in your own words is a powerful retrieval exercise.
  • Use terms lists and review questions to quiz yourself. Do not check yourself against your notes until you have finished an entire day's list.
  • Use the textbook's website. It has flashcards, practice quizzes, and other retrieval exercises.
  • Write down 5 things you learned after each lecture or after each reading. Doing this a couple hours after class will make retrieval more effective.
  • Set up a schedule for these exercises. For example, a couple hours after each lecture, take 10 minutes retrieving information from that day's material, 10 minutes retrieving information from the previous day's lecture and readings, and 10 minutes retrieving information from the lecture before that. This schedule will lead you to review everything three times, dramatically boosting your retention later on.
  • Power tip: Meet with 2-3 friends at the same time every week in one of the library's study rooms. Discuss all the review questions and terms—both those I provide, and those you prepare yourselves. Explain each out loud in your own words. Argue about what was most important. Find any other strategies you can think of that help you practice retrieval rather than mere reexposure.
  • Some of these tips are drawn from Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.

Improving your writing. Writing in the social sciences means defending a position. Debate papers must have (1) a central claim, clearly stated as you open and close; (2) logical arguments (reasons) that support your claim; and (3) compelling evidence that supports your reasons.

  • Read the assignment instructions carefully before beginning and again before submitting. Ask questions.
  • After outlining your argument, write a new outline taking the opposite stance—or show your outline to a friend, a TA, or me and invite a rebuttal.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Read your work out loud. Don't let errors or awkward phrasing obscure your ideas. Visit the FHSS writing lab or BYU writing center for help with mechanics.
  • Finish your draft a couple days before the deadline so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.
  • Unintentional plagiarism caused by sloppy notetaking is still plagiarism and has consequences. Read the plagiarism policy below and visit me or a TA with questions.

General suggestions

  • When you have questions, ask. Take advantage of Q&A sessions and office hours.
  • Take breaks from school—short breaks each day, and longer breaks each week. Your mind needs rest. Sometimes "we have to forego some good things… to choose others that are better" (from "Good, Better, Best"). Higher education is good, but leave time to socialize, worship, serve, and relax.
  • Exercise, eat nutritious food, and develop healthy sleep habits to "find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge." Your mind will not function as well on stimulants as on appropriate food, exercise, and sleep.

A matter of a few degrees. Consider a true story related by Dieter Uchtdorf:

In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus....

By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.

It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees....

Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways...

Though he had a different point, we can apply this story to school: Good grades don't go to those who never make mistakes, but to those who recognize when they go off course and take prompt corrective action. If an exam or paper early in the course comes back with a lower score than you hoped, then read and apply the study tips listed above. Visit me or a TA for help. Don't wait until the volcano has filled your windshield.

University policies and resources

Plagiarism and cheating

While all students sign the honor code, there are still specific skills most students need to master over time in order to correctly cite sources, especially online sources, as well as deal with the stress and strain of college life without resorting to cheating. As your professor, I will notice instances of cheating on exams or plagiarizing on papers. Even if the plagiarism was unintentional, it will have serious consequences for your grade. General information about the honor code can be found at Details about Academic Honesty are found in the university catalog

Writing submitted for credit at BYU must consist of the student's own ideas presented in sentences and paragraphs of the student's own construction. The work of other writers or speakers may be included when appropriate (as in a research paper or book review), but such material must support the student's own work (not substitute for it) and must be clearly identified by appropriate introduction ("According to so-and-so...") and punctuation (such as quotation marks) and by footnoting or other standard referencing. Take care with your notetaking to track sources and to differentiate quotations you have jotted down from paraphrases you have written. Unintentional plagiarism caused by sloppy notetaking is still plagiarism.

Substituting another person's work for the student's own or including another person's work without adequate acknowledgment (whether done intentionally or not) is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a violation of academic, ethical, moral, and legal standards and can result in a failing grade not only for the paper but also for the course in which the paper is written. In extreme cases, it can justify expulsion from the university. Because of the seriousness of these consequences, students who wonder if their papers are within these guidelines should visit the Writing Lab or consult with their professor or TA. Useful books to consult on the topic include the current Harbrace College Handbook, the MLA Handbook, and James D. Lester's Writing Research Papers.

Counseling and stress management

Most lifelong mental illnesses emerge in adolescence and early adulthood—the typical college students' age. If you experience frequent sadness, worry, fear, inability to focus, nightmares, forgetfulness, or extreme mood changes; if you are withdrawing socially by avoiding friends and social activities; if you experience significant changes in sleeping habits or eating habits; if you are abusing alcohol, prescription medications, or other substances; or if you are thinking about hurting yourself, then please talk to somebody. You may find that all is well, but please find out.

Mental health concerns and stressful life events can affect students' academic performance and quality of life. BYU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 1500 WSC, 801-422-3035, provides individual, couples, and group counseling, as well as stress management services. These services are confidential and are provided by the university at no cost for full-time students. For general information please visit For more immediate concerns please visit

Equal opportunity

Disabilities: Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (801-422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Office at 801-422-5895, D-282 ASB

Going beyond the boilerplate language above: If you have a disability, please visit the University Accessibility Center to receive an accommodation letter. Then, contact me to inform me of the accommodation letter and to request specific accommodations based on it. The letter will not disclose the disability and I will not ask. I will work with you to identify appropriate accommodations supported by the letter. If you wish to discuss accommodations, I am happy to schedule an appointment at any time, including outside office hours if needed.

Discrimination and sexual misconduct: In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "sexual misconduct" prohibited by the university. University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of sexual misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of sexual misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day). BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by sexual misconduct, including the university's Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university's Title IX Coordinator.

Reading schedule

Dates and deadlines are subject to change. "Terms" are intended to focus your exam preparation. The terms listed here are in addition to those listed in your textbook. "Readings" are required; please tell me if a link is broken. "Resources" are not required, but you may find them interesting.

You can also view the reading schedule in calendar format.

  • Unit 1. Introduction to political science
  • Wed, Sep 4th, 2019. Course overview. What is politics? Why study American politics? What is political science?
    Termspolitics; policy; false consensus bias; American politics; comparative politics; international relations; political philosophy; methodology; political institutions; political behavior; political development; all terms from textbook
    9 pages
    • Complete each day's readings prior to class.
    • I will use this space to write notes helping you understand the purpose of non-textbook readings. (For Logic readings, rely on the review questions and terms at the end of each chapter.)
    • BYU Mission, Aims, DC 88: Why have you chosen to study at BYU? Why do you suppose that a school with BYU's mission and aims requires this course? How will "a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms" help make you "prepared in all things" (DC 88)? Review the "what's this course about" and "learning outcomes" sections at the top of this syllabus as you consider your answer.
  • Fri, Sep 6th, 2019. The logic of politics. What is politics? Why can voluntary action produce undesirable results? What are the tradeoffs of governmental involvement?
    Termscoordination problem; prisoner's dilemma; chicken; free rider problem; tragedy of the commons; transaction costs; conformity costs; all terms from textbook
    25 pages
    • Logic 9e 3-11, 28-33 (8e 1-8, 25-30; 7e 1-8, 31-35) [14 pages]
    • Utah pp xiii-xix [11 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Logic: 9e, 8e, and 7e refer to different editions; read the right pages for your edition. Remember that there is a study site.
    • Utah: What evidence suggests that Americans underestimate the importance of state politics? What might change this?
    • Why a Utah book? Poli 110 addresses American politics at the national, state, and local levels. Understanding Utah politics will (1) prepare you to engage state and local politics wherever you may settle and (2) help you better understand national politics. Moreover, since this book is written in my voice you may find it a more useful resource than Logic for understanding concepts from lecture.
  • Mon, Sep 9th, 2019. Continued.
    24 pages
    • Logic: Remember that there is a study site.
    • DC 134: It's as interesting to notice what is NOT said as it is to reflect on what IS said. You'll notice, for example, that there is no judgment made between monarchy and representative democracy. What about this section (whether inclusions or omissions) do you find most unexpected?
    • Elder Bednar argues that two Elders may have the same authority but different power. Why might two presidents have the same authority but different power?
  • Unit 2. Political development: Forming a union
  • Wed, Sep 11th, 2019. The Constitution. How do institutions matter? What influenced the framers' thinking and interests? What was wrong with the Articles of Confederation? Why is it hard to know the founders' intent? Why was compromise important in drafting and ratifying the Constitution? How was the Constitution inspired?
    DUERegister your iClicker. You must register your iClicker online if you wish to receive credit for quizzes! Visit BYU's iClicker registration page and enter your iClicker number if you haven't already. You must click the link provided; if your other courses have used a different iClicker registration link (and some do), I won't have access to that information.
    Termsinstitutions; Newton's laws; human nature; home rule; Articles of Confederation; confederation; Shays's rebellion; aristocracy; Virginia Plan; New Jersey Plan; three-fifths compromise; plural executive; separation of powers; federal division of powers; popular sovereignty; rule of law; Bill of Rights; Federalist; Antifederalist; ratification; Federalist Papers; all terms from textbook
    46 pages
    • Logic 9e 36-46 (8e 33-41; 7e 39-47) will be review if you have taken US history. Skim, focusing on key terms.
    • Review the 1776 Declaration of Independence [4 pages]
    • Logic 9e 46-52 (8e 42-47; 7e 48-53) [7 pages]
    • Review the 1777 Articles of Confederation [8 pages]
    • Logic 9e 52-58 (8e 47-54; 7e 53-60) [5 pages]
    • Review the 1787 US Constitution and all amendments [22 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Many browsers choke on large PDFs. If clicking a particular PDF (such as those assigned for today) doesn't seem to work, try right-clicking and choosing "Save link as" to download the file to your device rather than opening it directly in the browser window. Also, some versions of Safari do a particularly poor job with large PDFs, so switch browsers if needed.
    • Declaration of Independence: Read it all, but pay special attention to the first two paragraphs and the final paragraph.
    • Articles of Confederation: What flaws may have led to a desire to replace this first constitution with a new one? For example, take note of what sort of national executive and judiciary the AofC created.
    • Constitution: I will regularly assign brief sections of the Constitution throughout the course. For now, focus on the big picture, comparing it to the Articles of Confederation and to the principles in the Declaration of Independence. Look for anything that surprises you. Compare section II in the AofC to Article 6 (second paragraph) of the Constitution to see how these two documents differ on state authority. Compare the powers delegated to Congress in the AofC (mainly Article IX) to those listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to see how they differ in the central government's role. There are many other such differences you may notice.
    • If you haven't listened to the Hamilton soundtrack, let me just say... dude. Here's your preview. (If you look up the album, be aware that there are two versions: Explicit and non-explicit.)
    • Learn more in Poli 202, "Western Political Heritage"
    • Learn more in Poli 365, "Early American Political Thought"
  • Fri, Sep 13th, 2019. Continued.
    20 pages
    • Logic 9e 58-78 (8e 54-72, 79; 7e 60-79), special attention to Fed. 10 and 51 [19 pages]
    • Logic 9e table 2.3 on p 79 (8e table 2.3 on p 72; 7e table 1.1 on p 24). Read this section if the table is unclear. [1 page]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Brutus (1787), Anti-federalist #3, November 15, 1787 [5 pages]
    • Madison (1787), Federalist #10 (Appendix 4 in Logic) [4 pages]
    • Madison (1787), Federalist #51 (Appendix 5 in Logic) [3 pages]
    FYIFederalist 10 and 51 address concerns about representation and factionalism raised by the antifederalist Brutus. Federalist 10 presents the proposed union's vast size as a safeguard against factionalism, turning Brutus's argument on its head; since larger unions have more factions competing for influence, Madison argues, it is less likely that any one faction will dominate. Federalist 51 emphasizes the proposed Constitution's checks and balances, both horizontal (executive-judicial-legislative) and vertical (federalism), to argue that the Constitution will effectively prevent any narrow interest from taking over the whole thing. Take care to understand discussion of these important essays in Logic. To go the extra mile, click "show additional resources" for the full text of these essays, and also of the Brutus essay they respond to. To what extent do these two essays fail to address some of Brutus's concerns? Did the eventual emergence of two national political parties undermine Madison's expectations, enabling coalitions of factions (parties) to subvert checks and balances?
  • Mon, Sep 16th, 2019. Flex day. We will finish the previous lecture and get started on the next one.
    DUEGet your password. You will need a username and password for this website to submit assignments. Look for the "login" link at the top of the page. (On mobile devices, expand the menu to see it.) I count this as if it were an iclicker quiz; log into the course website by the end of today to receive credit.
    21 pages
    • In addition to office hours, this week TAs will begin holding weekly group Q&A sessions. Scroll all the way up to the top of this syllabus to see the schedule. I encourage you to pick one of the weekly times and attend, even when you don't have a ton of questions. These are usually small groups, so you can think of them as group study sessions with TAs present. (Avoid coming late, as the sessions will adjourn once people stop asking questions.)
    • Oaks: Memorize the five points Elder Oaks identifies as inspired. Re-read the Constitution to see what he omits as (apparently) uninspired. He stresses that this is merely his opinion, not an apostolic pronouncement. Thus, reflect: What might you add to, remove from, or change in his list?
    • Lee: Rex E. Lee was BYU president when he delivered this address. He previously served as Solicitor General of the United States and in other influential positions. One of his sons serves on the Utah Supreme Court, another in the US Senate. Pay special attention to his defense of judicial review (under "Genius Features") and to his discussion of the Constitution as "divinely inspired" (under "The Constitution's Significance for Latter-day Saints").
    • Where do Oaks and Lee agree and disagree? How would you resolve these disagreements?
    • Utah: Why does the Utah Constitution receive so many more amendments than the US Constitution? Because the US Constitution is so much harder to amend, we rely on judicial reinterpretation rather than formal amendments to keep it modern. Should the US Constitution's amendment process be simplified, perhaps to look more like Utah's, so that we can shift to updating it through formal amendments rather than judicial fiat?
  • Wed, Sep 18th, 2019. Constitution Day. No class. Please attend the TUESDAY event instead of our regular lecture. View the videos below, too.
    12 pages
    • Beeman (2013), "The Founding Fathers of 1787" (40:31) [6 pages]
    • Griffith (2012), "The Hard Work of Understanding the Constitution" watch (42:48) or read [6 pages]
    • Read the US Constitution and all amendments. I mean, it's Constitution Day.
    • Read ahead for next time.
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • BYU celebrates the September 17, 1787, signing of the Constitution with an annual lecture or panel discussion. I am giving you this day off to make it easier for you to attend this year's event. I would require your attendance if it were held during our class time, but unfortunately it is not. Instead, I will encourage your attendance by allowing you to use this year's event as the basis for the (optional) enrichment assignment.
    • This year's event: Details forthcoming. Optional, but please attend if possible. Again, if you choose to attend, you may use this event as the basis for an (optional) enrichment assignment.
    • I am also assigning you a few past Constitution Day lectures (originally presented as campus forums in the Marriott Center) to watch today on your own time. The videos are on YouTube, so watch them at 2x speed if you like as long as you can still follow along. These are required and will be addressed on the midterm.
    • Richard Beeman goes through the personalities and contributions of several key founders. He also emphasizes several points I discuss in class: The united states becoming the United States, the importance of compromise, the improbable odds, the severity of the disagreement between Virginia and New Jersey plans, etc. Beeman was a prominent historian of the American Revolution until his death a couple years after this address.
    • Thomas Griffith gives a wonderful overview of the different ways that judges read the Constitution, showing, for example, how the originalist and "living Constitution" approaches differ. (We will return to these approaches later when discussing the Supreme Court). His examples concerning the Second Amendment and Commerce Clause are enlightening. He is a BYU grad now serving on the DC circuit court. This court is the nation's highest court below the Supreme Court, and is a frequent source of Supreme Court nominees.
  • Fri, Sep 20th, 2019. Federalism and centralization. What is federalism? Why has power grown more centralized (or nationalized) over time?
    Termsstate; unitary; confederal; federal; dual federalism; shared federalism; centralization; supremacy clause; necessary and proper clause; commerce clause; McCulloch v Maryland; Gibbons v Ogden; all terms from textbook
    39 pages
    • Utah pp 17-23, 30-31, 134-8 [13 pages]
    • Logic 9e 96-107 (8e 86-96; 7e 85-95) overlaps lots with Utah. Skim.
    • Logic 9e 107-130 (8e 96-118; 7e 96-118) [24 pages]
    • US Constitution, Articles IV and VI, Amendments 9-11, 16-17 [2 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Utah: If you are interested in national parks, forests, national monuments, and other public lands, read the unassigned portions of chapter 2 also. Ch 2 key concepts: unitary, confederal, federal, shared federalism, dual federalism, necessary and proper clause, commerce clause, Tenth Amendment, matching grant (e.g. Medicaid), block grant (e.g. TANF), Tea Party, Patrick Henry Caucus. How does Utah's distinctive history shape state-federal relations? How might state-federal relations be different in New York, or in Texas? Ch 9 key concepts: unitary governance, political subdivisions, Dillon's rule, preemption laws.
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 325, "Politics of Wilderness, National Parks, and Public Lands"
    • Learn more in Poli 420, "Constitutional Law: American Federal System"
  • Unit 3. Political development: Rights and liberties
  • Mon, Sep 23rd, 2019. Civil rights. How are the terms "civil rights" and "civil liberties" used differently? Why did the same northern Republicans who waged the Civil War, ended slavery, and enacted the 13th-15th amendments later tolerate the rise of segregation and Jim Crow? Why did the successful civil rights litigation of the 1950s have so little impact prior to the 1960s civil rights movement? How did the civil rights movement of the 1960s overcome free rider problems?
    Termscivil rights; civil liberties; procedural equality; substantive equality; 13th amendment; 15th amendment; Civil Rights Act; Voting Rights Act; Plessy v Ferguson; NAACP; Brown v Board of Education; segregation; Martin Luther King; busing; affirmative action; de facto; de jure; all terms from textbook
    37 pages
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
    • What is the "purpose" mentioned in DC 101:80? (Verse 79 contains the direct answer, although verses 76-78 are relevant.)
    • Huntsman, Bird, and Korver: Readings and lecture mostly address the government's treatment of historically oppressed classes. In his BYU devotional address, Huntsman invites us to think about how we personally reach out to people who are different from us. In his op-ed, Bird shares his experience as a gay BYU student. Korver reflects on what it means to understand your own privileges. What steps can you take to better understand your peers at BYU and elsewhere whose backgrounds or experiences are profoundly different from yours?
    • Consider watching Lincoln, which depicts just how difficult it was to end slavery. Though Congress is very different now, Lincoln also accurately depicts the 19th-century Congress.
    • In "Race and the Priesthood," take special note of this statement: "Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church." And later in the essay: "Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form." If you ever hear somebody bring up old LDS racial teachings, point them to this disavowal and to the 9th article of faith.
    • The Charlottesville rally and violence are part of a long-suppressed white supremacy movement that has increasingly emerged from the shadows since 2016. Read the LDS statement and Trump's remarks about these events. Reflect on the extent to which race and racism continue to influence modern American society and on what, if anything, should be done.
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
  • Wed, Sep 25th, 2019. Civil liberties. What are the rights and duties of an American citizen? How have your liberties evolved over time? When are restrictions on free speech constitutionally permissible?
    Termscivil liberties; ex post facto laws; bills of attainder; habeas corpus; 14th amendment; selective incorporation; 1st amendment; freedom of speech; pure political speech; symbolic speech; speech accompanied by disruptive conduct; incitement; all terms from textbook
    27 pages
    • Logic 9e 186-197 (8e 172-82, 196-210; 7e 174-84, 198-12) [26 pages]
    • Logic 9e 197-208 (8e 182-92; 7e 185-95) overlaps lots with lecture material. Skim.
    • US Constitution, Amendments 1, 5, and 14 [1 page]
    • Recommended: Don't talk to the police [46:38]. Despite the provocative title, this is an excellent discussion of criminal process rights, particularly the 5th amendment. Highly recommended if you want to understand why Constitutionally guaranteed rights matter.
    • Follow national political news every day.
    FYILearn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
  • Fri, Sep 27th, 2019. Flex day. We will finish the previous lecture and get started on the next one.
    • Read ahead.
    • Follow national political news every day.
    FYIDebate 1 is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Monday, September 30th.
  • Mon, Sep 30th, 2019. Religious liberty. What was the framers' experience with religious liberty? When can free exercise be limited? When is prayer allowed in public schools?
    DUEDebate 1. Read the instructions and then submit online.
    TermsToleration Act; establishment clause; free exercise clause; theocracy; de jure establishment; de facto establishment; incidental burden; Lemon test; neutrality test; Main Street Plaza; school prayer; all terms from textbook
    30 pages
    • Clark (2005), "'The only game in town': An ACLU perspective," from God and Country: Politics in Utah [16 pages]
    • Utah ch 1: Council of Fifty, Brigham Young as Governor, Utah War (Johnston's Army, Camp Floyd, Alfred Cumming), Camp Douglas, People's Party, Liberal Party, twin relics of barbarism, Edmunds-Tucker Act. Regardless of whether polygamy is a good idea or not, do you think the first amendment should protect polygamy (today) among those whose religion allows or requires it?
    • Utah ch 5 excerpt: anticipatory decision making; non-discrimination.
    • What lessons about modern religious liberty do we learn from the early LDS experiences you are reading about today? We usually attribute President Van Buren's decision not to bring federal action against Missouri to his political need to win Missouri's electoral votes. Even so, how might the lack of a 14th amendment (as of 1843-4) have limited President Van Buren's ability to help the Saints?
    • DC 134 is presented as a declaration, not a revelation. How might this declaration have been written differently if it had been adopted in 1844 (after the martyrdom), 1857 (Utah War), 1890 (Edmunds-Tucker), 1950s (LDS in cultural mainstream), or today rather than in 1835? Consider LDS priorities and experiences in each era.
    • The optional reading by Garr briefly summarizes Joseph Smith's (very) longshot bid for president. It's not required, but it's worth reading. Why did he mount this bid? What were some key parts of his platform?
    • Learn more in Poli 336, "Government and Religion"
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
  • Wed, Oct 2nd, 2019. Review.
    DUEPeer reviews for Debate 1. Submit online.
    • We will catch up if we are behind. Otherwise, I will leave today free to answer your review questions.
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
  • Fri, Oct 4th, 2019. Woohoo! There is no class today. Take the test.
    DUEMidterm 1. Take it in the Testing Center between X and X. The Testing Center will charge you a $5 late fee after X. Bring a pencil. Check the Testing Center hours before you go. The Testing Center will be closed Saturday for General Conference.
    • This portion of your midterm is multiple choice. (The midterm also has a take-home written portion that you already completed: Your first debate paper.) Expect 100 questions, drawing evenly on lecture and readings. Past experience suggests that most students will take 60-80 minutes on this test, though you may take as long as you wish (until the Testing Center closes).
    • The Testing Center imposes the late fee, not me. Save yourself some money and take it before the fee starts.
    • I write new questions every year, making it hard for me to predict what the average score will be. If the testing center tells you that you scored 60% on the exam, don't assume you failed; I may need to drop some questions or apply a curve, but I cannot make those decisions until the test closes and I review scores.
    • If you have questions about whether I curve grades, how you can raise your grade, or the course's overall difficulty level, read through the syllabus once again. It's all covered there. If you have questions, come ask me.
  • Unit 4. Political behavior: Public opinion and voting
  • Mon, Oct 7th, 2019. How voters decide. What are the major candidates and themes of recent elections? How informed are voters? How committed are voters to their party? How do voters select a candidate? Does democracy work? Which explanation of vote choice makes the most sense to you?
    Termssubstance; style; always shuck your tamales; Iran hostage crisis; sociological model; cross-pressure; opinion leader; minimal effects hypothesis; rational choice model; economic model; calculus of voting; information shortcut; endorsements; partisanship as running tally; psychological model; funnel analogy; partisanship as identity; perceptual screening (also called "selective perception" or "motivated reasoning"); all terms from textbook
    • Post-midterm breather. Read ahead if you have the energy.
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
    • It's time to apply for BYU's best internship: The Utah state legislature internship. The application deadline is coming up very soon. All majors may apply. Ask me for details.
    • Learn more in Poli 317, "Public Opinion and Voting Behavior"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
    • Learn more in Poli 324, "Political Psychology"
  • Wed, Oct 9th, 2019. Continued.
    30 pages
    • Logic 9e 431-448 (8e 397-414; 7e 398-417) [18 pages]
    • Utah review pp 8-11, then read pp 32-38 and 45-49 [12 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Enrichment 1 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Friday, October 11th.
    • Utah: People's Party, Liberal Party, twin relics of barbarism, Mormon Moment, Heber J Grant and the New Deal, partisan conversion. Why did Utah experience such wild partisan swings after statehood? Why did a religious-partisan cleavage reemerge in the 1970s? In Utah, how does religion compare to ideology as a predictor of partisanship? What would it take for Utah to become a competitive state? What would it take for Latter-day Saints to become a competitive demographic? More generally, how does all this help you understand the links among attitudes, ideology, and partisanship (as defined in Logic)?
  • Fri, Oct 11th, 2019. Continued.
    DUEEnrichment 1 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    25 pages
    • Logic 9e 448-466, 475-477, 484-488 (8e 414-31, 439-41, 447-52; 7e 417-434, 442-446, 454-458) [25 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
  • Mon, Oct 14th, 2019. Public opinion polling. How can you assess a poll's trustworthiness?
    Termspopulation; sample; random sample; sampling error; margin of error; convenience sample; self-selection bias; non-response error; response rate; measurement error; double barreled question; social desirability bias; Bradley effect; framing; priming
    17 pages
    • I highly recommend reading all of Joel Best's short and very readable book (Damned Lies and Statistics), not just the except I have assigned. It will dramatically increase your confidence when you hear statistical arguments on the news or in political discourse.
    • Learn more in Poli 317, "Public Opinion and Voting Behavior"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
  • Wed, Oct 16th, 2019. Flex day. We will finish the previous lecture and get started on the next one.
    22 pages
    FYIThe Popkin reading is background for the "turnout and engagement" lecture material on civic knowledge, the byproduct theory, and issue publics. It is skimmable.
  • Fri, Oct 18th, 2019. No class.
    FYIYou deserve a mid-semester breather. Catch up or get ahead.
  • Mon, Oct 21st, 2019. Turnout and engagement. Why do some people vote but others don't? Does it matter who votes? Why do Americans flunk civics quizzes? How does political knowledge relate to turnout? What can states do to influence turnout? Which mobilization tactics are most effective?
    Termscalculus of voting; civic duty; information costs; civic knowledge; byproduct theory; issue public; participation costs; motor voter; absentee voting; mobilization; GOTV; social pressure; all terms from textbook
    10 pages
    • Logic 9e 477-484 (8e 441-47; 7e 446-454) [8 pages]
    • Utah pp 39-40 (including chart on p 41) [2 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Govt mtg 1 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Wednesday, October 23rd.
    • Utah: Why has turnout in Utah moved from above average to below average? What could turn this around?
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 317, "Public Opinion and Voting Behavior"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
    • Learn more in Poli 324, "Political Psychology"
  • Unit 5. Political behavior: Political parties and interest groups
  • Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019. Political parties. Why can there be only two major parties? Why do we have these two parties? What do the Republican and Democratic coalitions look like today? How do presidential nominations work? What makes horse race polling during multicandidate primary elections so unreliable?
    DUEGovt mtg 1 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termsparty-in-government; party-as-organization; party-in-electorate; major party; minor party; Duverger's law; majoritarian; proportional; wasted vote; Ralph Nader; election of 2000; realignment; party system; Republican; Democrat; King Caucus; nominating convention; primary; 1968 Democratic convention; pledged delegate; superdelegate; open primary; closed primary; semi-closed primary; runoff; Howard Dean (2004); John Kerry (2004); Hillary Clinton (2008); Barack Obama (2008); Mitt Romney (2012); all terms from textbook
    25 pages
    • Logic 9e 513-537 (8e 479-499; 7e 485-504) [25 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Learn more in Poli 150, "Comparative Government and Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 316, "American Political Parties"
    • Learn more in Poli 318, "Campaigns and Elections"
  • Fri, Oct 25th, 2019. Continued.
    23 pages
    • Logic 9e 537-559 (8e 499-520; 7e 504-25) [23 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
  • Mon, Oct 28th, 2019. Continued.
    25 pages
    • Debate 2 is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Wednesday, October 30th.
    • Utah: caucus-convention system, party delegate, direct primary. Why do we see more factionalism among Utah Republicans than among Republicans nationally?
  • Wed, Oct 30th, 2019. Interest groups. What strategies do interest groups use to influence Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy, and the public? What makes an interest different from an interest group? What barriers make it hard to organize? How do interest groups overcome these barriers? Are interest groups good or bad for representative democracy?
    DUEDebate 2. Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termsinterest group; insider tactics; outsider tactics; lobbying; grassroots; hard money; soft money; PAC; superPAC; amicus curiae; free rider problem; selective incentive; purposive incentive; AARP; NRA; all terms from textbook
    29 pages
    • Utah pp 87-98 [12 pages]
    • Logic all of ch 13 but especially 9e 569-75, 592-603 (8e 530-39, 548-57; 7e 536-46, 555-63) [17 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Utah: lobbyist, stakeholder, insider tactics, outsider tactics, interest, interest group, anticipatory decision making, non-discrimination ordinance. How does the free rider problem affect which interests form into interest groups? (You will read the rest of this chapter when we cover representation in Congress. It may be easier to read the whole thing now to get the flow of what's going on.)
    • In Logic, take special care to understand why smaller interests can often overcome the free rider problem (referred to in this Logic chapter as "the problem of collective action") more effectively than broader interests. Also, make sure you understand how some large interests manage to overcome these problems by invoking moral incentives (also called "purposive incentives" elsewhere) or selective incentives. The examples of AAA and AARP are especially instructive. Note that Utah touches on these issues also.
    • Both Utah and Logic make some references to campaign finance issues—that is, to money that individuals or groups give to candidates to finance their campaigns. We'll cover these issues a bit more later when we get to Congress. For now, keep in mind that US law governs contributions to candidates for federal office (Congress/president), while Utah law governs contributions to candidates for state and local office (Legislature/governor/mayor/etc). Thus, discussions of campaign finance in Logic and Utah are discussing different things.
    • Also from Logic: Make sure you understand what a PAC is and what PACs do. We will have some more coverage of campaign finance issues when we cover representation in Congress later in the course. In a nutshell: Federal law limits how much individuals can contribute to individual federal candidates; PACs allow individuals to donate additional money to an organization—the PAC—that then bundles those contributions and redistributes them to several candidates sharing a common vision.
    • Learn more in Poli 313, "Interest Groups"
  • Fri, Nov 1st, 2019. Review.
    DUEPeer reviews for Debate 2. Submit online.
    • We will catch up if we are behind. Otherwise, I will leave today free to answer your review questions.
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
  • Mon, Nov 4th, 2019. Yay! (No class)
    DUEMidterm 2. Take it in the Testing Center between X and X. The Testing Center will charge you a $5 late fee after X. Bring a pencil. Check the Testing Center hours before you go.
    • This portion of your midterm is multiple choice. (The midterm also has a take-home written portion that you already completed: Your second debate paper.) Expect 100 questions, drawing evenly on lecture and readings. Past experience suggests that most students will take 60-80 minutes on this test, though you may take as long as you wish (until the Testing Center closes).
    • The Testing Center imposes the late fee, not me. I find it foolish to pay to take a test; please take it before the fee starts.
    • I write new questions every year, making it hard for me to predict what the average score will be. If the testing center tells you that you scored 60% on the exam, don't assume you failed; I may need to drop some questions or apply a curve, but I cannot make those decisions until the test closes and I review scores.
    • If you have questions about whether I curve grades, how you can raise your grade, or the course's overall difficulty level, read through the syllabus once again. It's all covered there. If you have questions, come ask me.
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
  • Unit 6. Political institutions: The legislative branch
  • Wed, Nov 6th, 2019. Introduction to Congress. How can Congress be so unpopular when individual representatives are so popular? How does the structure of Congress influence how we evaluate Congress? How do reapportionment and redistricting work?
    Termstyranny; efficiency; Congress; legislature; legislator; term length; chamber size; reapportionment; redistricting; all terms from textbook
    19 pages
    • US Constitution, Article I, Amendments 16-17 and 27 [6 pages]
    • Logic 9e 231-44 (8e 213-22; 7e 214-23) [13 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
  • Fri, Nov 8th, 2019. Flex day. We will finish the previous lecture and get started on the next one.
    28 pages
    • Logic 9e 244-50, 260-68, 274-75, 291-94 (8e 222-29, 241-47, 252-54, 267-70; 7e 223-31, 242-48, 254-55, 269-71) [19 pages]
    • Utah pp 50-58 [9 pages]
    • Glance at Logic Appendix 6 (Congressional partisanship)
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • If you want to complete the optional government meetings assignment to raise your lowest debate paper score, start planning. Most city councils and such meet only semimonthly.
    • Logic: You will read all of the Congress chapter over the next days. I have assigned it out of order, but if that gets confusing, just read the chapter as written. Portions assigned for this lecture deal with the structure and organization of Congress.
    • Utah: General Session, single subject rule, omnibus bill, interim, party caucus, caucus, leadership, standing committee, staff, professional legislature, citizen legislature. The US Congress is the nation's most professionalized legislature, while the Utah Legislature is among the least. What would happen if we switched that? (Remember the "three s's" of legislative professionalism: Salary, Staff, Session length.) What if the US Congress had a single subject rule?
    • Remember, the Utah Legislature is an entirely separate organization from the US Congress, with different procedures, offices, and rules. Keep them separate in your mind. Throughout our unit on political institutions, contrast what you learn about Utah institutions (the legislature, governor, state courts, etc) and federal institutions (Congress, president, federal courts, etc). Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each set of institutions. What would happen if the federal government were designed like the Utah government—or vice versa? Does it make sense for Utah and the federal government to have different institutions? That is, is one set of institutions clearly superior? Or is one set of institutions more suited to a smaller polity like Utah while another is more suited to a large polity? Keep these questions in mind over the coming weeks.
    • Learn about BYU's best internship: The Utah state legislature internship
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
  • Mon, Nov 11th, 2019. Elections and representation. When do the "best" candidates run? Who serves in office? What creates the incumbency advantage? What is representation? How do Representatives view constituents? How does the Constitutional structure of Congress influence how Representatives behave?
    Termsstrategic entry; amateur candidate; professional candidate; wave election; incumbent; challenger; open seat; incumbency advantage; reelection incentive; advertising; credit claiming; position taking; geographic constituency; reelection constituency; primary constituency; personal constituency (or "intimates"); issue representation (or "substantive representation"); service representation; allocational representation; descriptive representation; delegate; trustee; all terms from textbook
    32 pages
    • Logic 9e 250-53, 488-93, 498-504 (8e 229-32, 452-58, 462-67; 7e 231-34, 458-64, 466-70) [13 pages]
    • Utah pp 78-87, 96-100, 144-47 [18 pages]
    • Clarifying discussion about campaign finance below [1 page]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Important: Chapter 5 in Utah uses "delegate" in two unrelated ways: The delegate-trustee tradeoff, and party delegates. These are totally different. If you do not understand what a party delegate is from this chapter, see Utah pp 42-43 for a fuller explanation.
    • Utah ch 5: geographic constituency, reelection constituency, primary constituency, party delegate, delegate-trustee tradeoff. The geographic-reelection-primary constituency framework was originally applied for the US Congress; I adapt it slightly in my book for the Utah context but will give the standard version in lecture when discussing Congress. Also, you read the remaining portions of this chapter when we covered interest groups earlier in the course, but you may want to review those portions now so that the chapter hangs together. Your call.
    • Utah ch 9: How can you most effectively influence local officeholders? Also, the delegate-trustee tradeoff.
    • These readings contain some discussion of campaign finance issues. For the most part, details about campaign finance law are beyond the scope of this course. Here are some clarifications as far as this course is concerned, though.
    • First, federalism. US law governs contributions to candidates for federal office (Congress/president), while Utah law governs contributions to candidates for state and local office (Legislature/governor/mayor/etc). Thus, discussions of campaign finance in Logic and Utah are discussing different things.
    • Second, legal substance. US campaign finance law is much stricter than Utah campaign finance law. In general, Utah law requires candidates for state office only to disclose their donors; you could give a candidate millions of dollars as long as the candidate provides the proper disclosures to the state. US law likewise requires candidates for federal office to disclose their donors, but then it goes further by limiting those donations. The amount rises with inflation, but in general you cannot give more than a few thousand dollars to any particular federal candidate per election cycle. These contribution limits give rise to two important distinctions you will encounter in Logic.
    • Distinction #1: "Hard money" refers to funds given directly to a federal candidate's campaign (subject to contribution limits). "Soft money" refers to funds given to some outside group that will spend that money independently on behalf of a candidate.
    • Distinction #2: When outside groups spend on behalf of a candidate (rather than give their money to a candidate as "hard money"), it is either a "coordinated expenditure" (outside spending that is coordinated with a candidate's campaign efforts and is therefore legally treated as an in-kind contribution) or "independent campaign spending" (spending by an individual or group in favor of a candidate but without coordinating with the candidate).
    • Logic goes deeper into the weeds of campaign finance law, but if you understand its discussion of these concepts you are doing fine for purposes of this course.
    • Learn about BYU's best internship: The Utah state legislature internship
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
  • Wed, Nov 13th, 2019. Legislating. How does a bill become a law? Who is empowered by the legislative process in the US House? In the US Senate? How do initiatives, referendums, and recalls differ? How do initiatives get on the ballot? Should we have a national initiative process?
    Termsbill; law; committee; Speaker; conference committee; Rules Committee; open rule; closed rule; modified closed rule; unanimous consent agreement; filibuster; cloture; initiative; direct initiative; indirect initiative; referendum; legislative referendum; popular referendum; recall; all terms from textbook
    19 pages
    • Read carefully: Logic 9e 253-60 (8e 232-41; 7e 234-41, 243) [7 pages]
    • Logic 9e 276-91 (8e 254-67; 7e 255-68) covers material I will lecture on at length; skim it after lecture to be sure you got it all
    • Recommended: Utah pp 58-65
    • Utah pp 65-77 (to contrast Utah Legislature to Congress) [12 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Enrichment 2 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Friday, November 15th.
    • Utah ch 4: "procedures create power," partisan batting averages, vetting. Compared to the US Congress, the Utah Legislature has less partisanship, more bills passed, fewer "no" votes, and much less vetting time. Why? Would you rather have a legislative body like the Utah Legislature or the US Congress? Why?
    • Learn more about direct democracy in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
  • Fri, Nov 15th, 2019. Continued.
    DUEEnrichment 2 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    9 pages
    • Utah ch 6 (to contrast direct and representative democracy) [9 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    FYIUtah ch 6: vouchers, direct democracy, initiative, referendum, gun behind the door. Does direct democracy make Utah politics better or worse? Should we have direct democracy at the federal level?
  • Unit 7. Political institutions: The executive branch
  • Mon, Nov 18th, 2019. The presidency. What do we expect of American presidents? How are our expectations of presidents at odds with their formal powers? How has the presidency evolved over time? How do presidents compensate for their limited formal powers?
    Termsbudget; OMB; veto; veto override; treaty; appointment power; filibuster; chief clerk; Andrew Jackson; Theodore Roosevelt; bully pulpit; stewardship theory; Woodrow Wilson; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; negotiation; going public; executive order; signing statement; all terms from textbook
    25 pages
    • Logic ch 7 especially 9e 299-307, 319-26, 332-34, 339-40 (8e 277-82, 290-92, 294-302, 306-7, 311; 7e 279-83, 292-3, 296-304, 308-9, 313) [19 pages]
    • US Constitution, Article II, Amendments 12, 20, 22, 23, 25 [6 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Logic, Appendix 6 (party control of Congress and presidency)
    • Logic, Appendix 7 (presidential elections)
    FYILearn more in Poli 314, "The US Presidency"
  • Wed, Nov 20th, 2019. Flex day. We will finish the previous lecture and get started on the next one.
    14 pages
    • Utah pp 112-15, 119-22 (recommended: ch 7) [7 pages]
    • Goodwin, "Lessons from presidents," video (19:19) or transcript [7 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • If some of Doris Kearns Goodwin's stories sound familiar, that's because she was the consulting historian for Lincoln.
    • Utah: plural executive vs unitary executive, item veto, full/package veto, veto override, appointment power. Governors vary widely in their powers. Should US presidents share their authority with a plural executive? Should they have an item veto, or should the veto override threshold be changed? Should presidents have appointment power that is more restricted, like the Utah governor's? In general, how does this discussion of gubernatorial power in the states shape your perception of presidential power?
  • Fri, Nov 22nd, 2019. The executive bureaucracy. What is a bureaucracy, and why do we need one? How is the bureaucracy structured, and what are its powers? Why and how have we increased bureaucratic independence? How do Congress and the president control the bureaucracy?
    Termsbureaucracy; Executive Office of the President; cabinet department; independent agency; merit system; regulation; implementation; oversight; police patrol; fire alarm; Federal Register; OMB; central clearance; all terms from textbook
    24 pages
    • Logic, ch 8 especially 9e 349-54, 364-66, 367-75, 378-79, 384-86 (8e 319-24, 332, 334-41, 344-45, 349-50; 7e 320-25, 336, 339-46, 349-50, 353-55) [21 pages]
    • Utah pp 50-52 [3 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Utah: "Working 4 Utah." How would the federal government be different—and how would the federal bureaucracy's role be different—if the US Congress were as jealous as the Utah Legislature of its authority?
    • Learn more in Poli 314, "The US Presidency"
    • Learn more in Poli 315, "Congress and the Legislative Process"
    • Learn more in Poli 333, "Politics of Bureaucracy"
  • Unit 8. Political institutions: The judicial branch
  • Mon, Nov 25th, 2019. The judiciary. How is the federal judiciary structured? How are state judiciaries different? How did federal courts acquire the power to strike down laws?
    Termscommon law; civil law; precedent; stare decisis; statutory law; constitutional law; administrative law; case law; District Court; Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. Supreme Court; trial court; specialty court; intermediate court of appeals; state supreme court; judicial review; Marbury v Madison; all terms from textbook
    23 pages
    • Logic 9e 394-409 (8e 361-74; 7e 364-77) [16 pages]
    • US Constitution, Articles III, IV, V, and VI [3 pages]
    • Utah pp 123-26 [4 pages]
    • Recommended: Kerr (2007), How to Read a Judicial Opinion
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Utah: How do state court caseloads compare to federal court caseloads? Why? Utah is one of several states to experiment with specialized courts (e.g. drug courts, teen courts, mental health courts). Should other states try this experiment or not?
    • Kerr (mainly pp 53-61) gives very clear definitions of the complicated terminology we discuss in class, in addition to discussing how cases proceed from trial courts into appeals courts. If today's discussion is at all unclear, read his short, simple essay.
    • Learn more in Poli 311, "State and Local Politics"
    • Learn more in Poli 420, "Constitutional Law: American Federal System"
    • Learn more in Poli 421, "Constitutional Law: Rights and Immunities"
    • Learn more in Poli 364, "Jurisprudence"
  • Tue, Nov 26th, 2019. 🤷
    13 pages
    • Logic 9e 417-28 (8e 383-94; 7e 385-96) [13 pages]
    • Follow national political news every day.
    FYIThe university says it's Friday, but my calendar says Tuesday. No class, but please complete these readings on your own. Drive safely.
  • Wed, Nov 27th, 2019. Thanksgiving break. No class.
    FYIIt was 1863, in the depths of the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a regular holiday. Celebrations were sporadic prior to that time. There was so much to mourn and worry about in 1863, but Lincoln understood that even in our darkest hours we need to look on high and give thanks. May we all do so this week.
  • Fri, Nov 29th, 2019. No class.
  • Mon, Dec 2nd, 2019. Continued. How does the Supreme Court operate? How do Supreme Court justices interpret the Constitution?
    Termsdecision to decide; rule of four; writ of certiorari; decision on the merits; amicus curiae; majority opinion; dissenting opinion; concurring opinion; originalism; living Constitution; merit plan; all terms from textbook
    17 pages
    • Logic 9e 409-17 (8e 374-83; 7e 377-85) [7 pages]
    • Utah pp 126-33 [7 pages]
    • Hamilton (1787), The Federalist, #78 [3 pages]
    • We will probably have time to start the next lecture today, so start those readings if possible.
    • Follow national political news every day.
    • Govt mtg 2 (optional) is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Wednesday, December 4th.
    • Utah: Why do state supreme courts (and the Utah Supreme Court particularly) strike down fewer laws than the US Supreme Court? Understand the merit plan (nominating commission, retention election). What evidence suggests that it is the merit plan rather than partisan agreement that promotes consensus on the Utah Supreme Court?
    • Hamilton defends the Constitution's provisions for unelected judges with lifelong tenure. He argues that these provisions will guarantee judicial independence, which he characterizes as desirable under certain conditions. What are the conditions? Are those conditions met today? If not, would it be better if judges ran in elections as Republican or Democratic candidates?
    • How would American politics change if federal judges were selected using the merit plan? What if judges were elected instead?
    • Consider going back and watching Judge Griffith's Constitution Day lecture that I had you view earlier this semester.
  • Wed, Dec 4th, 2019. Crime and punishment. What are the goals of criminal justice policy? How is justice policy made? Do "tough on crime" laws work?
    DUEGovt mtg 2 (optional). Read the instructions and then submit online.
    Termsdeterrence; retribution/punishment; incapacitation; rehabilitation; restitution; truth-in-sentencing; three strikes; sex offender registry; mandatory sentencing guidelines; parole; probation; legislation by anecdote; crime news script; Ronnie Lee Gardner; death penalty
    27 pages
    • As you read, ask yourself: What is the goal of criminal justice policy? What are we trying to accomplish when we impose jail time, fines, community service, probation, drug treatment, and other sentences? (There are several possible answers, so don't stop with one.) For example, with the frozen turkey story, how might the outcome have been different if the perpetrator were imprisoned for 25 years? Or what if Ronnie Lee Gardner had enjoyed access to youth court and drug court in his formative years rather than spending so many of those years institutionalized or incarcerated?
    • Since most of you belong to a church that believes in change and redemption, even for murderers and the vilest sinners, take time to ponder: When is rehabilitation most likely to work, and which approaches are most likely to succeed? (I suggest you click each of these links; doing so will help you figure out the relevance of some of the scriptures assigned for today.)
    • If you find the packet about Ronnie Lee Gardner interesting, here's an optional follow-up piece, written a year after the execution, and very much worth reading: "LDS bishop recounts Ronnie Lee Gardner's final days".
  • Fri, Dec 6th, 2019. Continued.
    15 pages
    FYIDebate 3 is now open. Read the instructions and then submit online by Monday, December 9th.
  • Unit 9. Time to declare as a political science major!
  • Mon, Dec 9th, 2019. What have we learned?
    DUEDebate 3. Read the instructions and then submit online.
    TermsAll terms from textbook
    13 pages
    • I am happy to discuss the pros and cons of the political science major with you at any time.
    • I train and supervise BYU's interns in the Utah legislature. Please ask me if you have questions about this internship.
    • Utah: political subculture, Trump's "tremendous problem" in Utah. How will understanding the delegate-trustee tradeoff help you engage officeholders more effectively?
    • Balan discusses how Arrow, Downs, Olson, and Riker changed our view of politics. I taught Olson's free rider problem; I taught a definition of federalism derived from Riker; I taught part of Downs (the calculus of voting, further developed by Riker); though I didn't discuss Arrow explicitly, his contributions shaped this class at many points. This brief writeup therefore presents an excellent summary of much of what you learned in this course, and much of what political science can and cannot do.
    • If America's founders saw our nation today, what would surprise them? What would please or disappoint them, and how might Jefferson/Madison and Hamilton/Adams react differently to what they see? What have we learned since 1787 that they did not know, and which might have led them to change parts of the Constitution? What amendments, if any, would you propose to the US Constitution? And now that we have completed this course, how do you react to the Oaks talk about which fundamentals in the Constitution strike him as inspired—or to Lee's list of genius features?
    • If you are unable to sell your texts, please consider donating them to me. Next time I teach this course, I will place donated books on reserve in the library. You may drop them at my office after taking the final if you wish to donate them.
  • Wed, Dec 11th, 2019. Review. Bring questions.
    DUEPeer reviews for Debate 3. Submit online.
  • Wed, Dec 18th, 2019. Final exam info. The final exam will administered in the Testing Center throughout finals week.
    • Format. The final exam combines a midterm on the last third of the course (100 questions) with comprehensive questions reviewing material from the first two-thirds of the course (40 questions), a total of 140 questions. You already completed the take-home written portion (your third debate paper), so all that remains is the multiple choice section. If you're worried about your grade, don't forget the mercy rule described elsewhere in this syllabus.
    • Scheduling. Please do not ask to take the final examination early. It is against university policy to give final examinations outside of the scheduled final examination period. Do not make any plans that interfere with the final exam schedule. Please do not ask for exceptions except in the most extenuating medical circumstances (such as a baby's due date during finals week). I am not authorized to grant exceptions to attend weddings or other family events.
    • Review opportunities: Regular office hours and group sessions end on the last day of lecture. However, you will have the following review opportunities during the exam period: (TBD).