Special Interest Groups, Campaign Finance, Political Parties, and the Mass Media


Our unit will commence with an examination of special interest groups and campaign finance and determine their effects on the political system and elections. We will then move to examine political parties and the two party system. We will look at the history and examine the history, purpose, the nature of the two party system. Finally we will examine the effects the mass media plays on public and the U.S. political system.


Unit Activities:


1.) HW:

a.) Teacher Worksheets and Readings

b.) Project research and presentations


2.) Lectures/Discussions: On the history and development, and purpose of America's Political Parties, aspects of the election  

    process  (including money, voter behavior, interest groups etc.), and the mass media.

3.) Class Presentations: CHEESIE

4.) Debates/Discussions: Does Money Buy Elections? How Powerful is the Media?

5.) Reading: Teacher handouts and Chapters 7, 8, 9.3, and 10.

6.) Videos: Campaign Finance, Political Ads and Propaganda Techniques, Media, Third Parties,

7.) Test: At the end of the Unit

8.) Continued analysis of various current issues including: the economy and the budget including domestic issues such as immigration and an international look at the emerging issues involving the Middle East and Asia


Unit Questions:


1.) What  purpose do political parties continue to serve? Since candidates raise most of their own campaign funds, do they even need party affiliation? Would the nation be unable to run itself without political parties?

2.) Can the pledges from both parties to be more civil translate to more bipartisanship and compromise?  

3.) How much will the Republican Party’s control of the House and Senate affect White House goals in President Trump’s second year? How will the Democrats address the conservative House and Senate? How will the Republicans address a very narrow lead in both houses (with a possibility of losing control especially in the Senate)?

4.) Does a strong party system, as exists in most European countries, make government more accountable since voters know whom to blame for failed policies? For this reason should Congress regulate political parties?

5.) Why is the media considered the fourth branch of government? How can we best decipher and analyze the huge amounts of information that we receive? Who controls whom? Do we control the issues that should be covered by the media or does the media tell us what we should be concerned with? How is the media so vital in the election process? How does the media impact the outcome of an election? Can it have too much of an impact? What are some of the consequences of “fake news” and how can we spot it?

6.) How has money become so important in the election process? How is political influence gained and what does money have to do with it? Is the current election system in need of serious repair due to the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding campaign financing? (Citizen’s United v. FEC) How are Super PACS and 501c4s affecting the campaigns?

Back to Unit II                                                                                         Table of Contents






Review Final (20 minutes)

Class admin info: Binder and course outlook (5 minutes)

Review Cheesie (15 minutes)

Start Special Interest Groups, PACS, and Campaign Finance (#29) Lecture (45 minutes)

  • Print UNIT III SCHEDULE (this page) and place it behind your Unit III divider in your binder. (#28)
  • Read 328-341
  • Work on CHEESIE – presentations on 1/19-1/20 Bring in materials for tomorrow



CHEESIE Work time (20 minutes)


Start Thank You For Not Smoking (65 minutes) (#30)





Finish Thank You For Not Smoking w/discussion (15 minutes depending on the class) (#30)

Finish Special Interest Group Lecture (#29) Videos: Colbert Super PAC






Political Ad Techniques video (30 minutes)  (#34)





Extra Credit Opportunity: Watch this video in its entirety on the 2 party system and whether it helps or hurts the running of the U.S. gov’t.. Write and type a synopsis that includes : 1.) at least a paragraph summary for each of the debaters that highlights their main points; 2.) include your opinion (1-2 paragraphs) on the 2 party system? Which debater did you side with and why? Due 2/1




Finish Political Ads Analysis (#34)

Time to Work on CHEESIE







CHEESIE Presentations

Political Parties Lecture (60 minutes) (#38)








Finish Political Parties Lecture






      Colbert and Kimmel and the    

      Politics of Late Night (#43)

Study for the upcoming Unit III test:

Here is the studyguide for the unit

Here are some of the PowerPoints:

·  Special Interest Groups/Campaign Fundraising

· Political Parties

· Mass Media (Sorry I can’t post the videos- Hopefully you took good notes!)




Start Mass Media Lecture (#44)

Activity: Spotting Fake News (#45)



Study for the upcoming Unit III test:

Here is the studyguide (#48) for the unit

Here are some of the PowerPoints:

·  Special Interest Groups/Campaign Fundraising

· Political Parties

· Mass Media (Sorry I can’t post the videos- Hopefully you took good notes!)

Test is on Mon.



Finish Mass Media (#44) and Fake News Activity (#45)

Review for Test

Test is Mon.- Here is the studyguide (#48) for the unit

Finish Fake News w/s (#45)

Go To Unit IV Schedule




UNIT III TEST (60 minutes)

Continue Unit IV

Go To Unit IV Schedule