FALL 2016 SYLLABUS: Electoral Politics of the United States (for Junior Public Administration EFL Learners & Interested Students of Any Level)
Meeting Time & Location: Thursdays from 3:30-5PM, Rm. 10
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IRPAF16.html
Office: 4th floor, Rm 401
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Candidates' Websites Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: The major goal of this class will be to raise students' comfort and confidence in oral English. Its content will focus on controversial issues in American politics in the context of the 2016 election cycle. In addition to exploring the political campaigns and policy platforms of the presidential candidates from the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green Parties, this class will also introduce the electoral process of the USA, including issues in voter registration, polls, media, debates, etc. Substantive topics which will be debated in class include terrorism/mass shootings & gun rights, abortion and women's health issues, gay marriage and LBGTQ rights, drug & foreign policy, economic/tax/welfare policy, and others according to current relevance and students' interests. It is hoped that on the class before the election, students will host a debate in which they act as the presidential candidates for the four parties listed above, and then all students will cast individual votes (assuming attendance is large enough for this to be worthwhile). In weeks following the election (Nov. 8th), we will examine the results geographically and by demographic groups. The final weeks of class will address topics of specific interest to the students. As the election is a topic of general interest to the world, anyone (not just students enrolled in the course for credit) is welcome to audit (attend) this class. As this is a class focused on current events, students are strongly encouraged to keep up with the news! Recommended websites are listed below. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

EXAMS: There will be no exams in this class, as attendance is not strictly mandatory.

GRADING: The instructor is open to the possibility of grading students based on their attendance and participation in this class. However, any student who attends but does not speak up often should not be penalized.

RECOMMENDED AMERICAN NEWS WEBSITES IN ENGLISH: General & Easy to Read - Washington Post ...(Left-Wing/Liberal) - CommonDreams ...(Right-Wing/Conservative) - National Review (There are lots more of each, and you're encouraged to explore! Many are unfortunately not accessible from China.) Any time you read something interesting about the U.S. election in Chinese or English, please bring a copy of it or a link to the article so we can discuss it in class.

OFFICIAL CANDIDATE WEBSITES & CHINESE NAMES: Unfortunately, these seem to load very slowly from China!

Hillary Clinton 希拉里·克林顿 & Tim Kaine 凯恩

Donald Trump 唐纳德·特朗普 & Mike Pence 迈克·彭斯 (Site appears to require a Captcha entry which requires accesss to Google)

Gary Johnson 加里·约翰逊 & Bill Weld 维尔德

Jill Stein 吉尔·斯坦 & Ajamu Baraka

OTHER WEBSITES FOR REFERENCE: List of all declared 2016 presidential candidates & # of states' ballots they are on.

RECOMMENDED FILMS RELEVANT TO U.S. Politics & Elections: DOCUMENTARY - Michael Moore (Director); Street Fight; Uncounted; What's the Matter with Kansas? FICTION - Absolute Power; American History X; Bob Roberts; The Campaign; Idiocracy; Silver City; The Last Supper; Wag the Dog


Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

Every effort will be made to present class materials in a fair manner which does not unconciously or excessively privilege Western thought and theories over Chinese and other approaches. However, given the instructor's training in a U.S. university, the majority of the material will be presented as closely as possible to an "Intro to IR" class in the USA. Anyone wishing to object officially, of course, has the option of reporting the instructor to the hotline reported below:


It is hoped that will not be necessary, and we can use this class to learn and discuss collegially how China and the U.S. view international politics!



WEEK 1 (9-7): Instructor returns from USA on Sept. 7th, so it is unlikely we will have class this week.


WEEK 3 (9-21): CLASS INTRODUCTION: Read syllabus together. Read handout on U.S. electoral politics, to be continued if future sessions have spare time. Read brief presidential candidate profiles from their official websites' "About" pages. Take a "straw poll".

WEEK 4 (9-28): Take a look at textbook on public policy issues used in U.S. colleges. How have the issues in an edition from ten years ago (2006) been resolved? Debate economic proposals from presidential campaign websites. Consider individual policy proposals: 1. Build a wall on the Mexican border to keep out undocumented immigrants (Trump). 2. Legalize marijuana and decriminalize other drugs (Johnson). 3. Consider ratifying the TPP to increase trade with several Asian states (Clinton). 4. Award large reparations to African-Americans with hereditary ties to slaves (Stein via Ajamu Baraka?). 5. Reduce taxes on wealthy Americans, reduce welfare benefits (Trump, Johnson). 6. Renew campaign finance reform by overturning "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling (Stein, Clinton?). Choose one fiscal & economic policy platform you support and discuss it with a partner before debating each as a class. If that proves too complicated, we may vote as a class on whether the U.S. should raise, lower, or keep taxes at the same rate. If voting to raise, we might decide what to spend the money on. If voting to lower, we might decide what programs to cut or eliminate.


WEEK 6 (10-12): Debate social & environmental issues proposals. Students vote on two to discuss and debate in class. 1. De-fund Planned Parenthood & increase restrictions on abortion (Trump). 2. Increase gun control, including nationwide bans on assault rifles (Clinton, Stein). 3. Return to "traditional marriage" only legal between a man & a woman by overturning Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage (Trump?). 4. Phase out fossil fuels entirely and use 100% renewable energy sources by 2030 (Stein). 5. Require equal pay for men & women nationwide (Stein, Clinton?). 6. Forgive student loan debt & make public colleges tuition-free (Stein, Clinton?). 7. Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency because it's "bad for business" (Johnson, Trump?).

WEEK 7 (10-19): Debate social stability, domestic terrorism, foreign policy, national security, & military issues proposals. Students vote on two to discuss and debate in class. 1. Require nations in military alliances with U.S. (Japan, NATO, etc.) to pay a lot more (Trump). 2. Admit more Middle-Eastern refugees (Stein) or drastically reduce, possibly ban Muslim immigrants (Trump)? RECOMMENDED READINGS: Wall Street Journal article compares Hillary Clinton's foreign policy positions and statements to Trump's (unfortunately, WSJ isn't accessible in China, and the graphic is difficult to paste into a new page on this website.); Hillary's Neoconservatives ; Trump's foreign policy statements ; Hillary Clinton's foreign policy statements (very long; focus on topics on which trump also comments); Banks on Trump's manufacturing push for U.S. foreign policy; Third-party candidates views on foreign policy: Johnson (Libertarian ...rather lacking in detail), Stein (Green ...see 10th section on "Peace and Human Rights")

WEEK 8 (10-26): Watch & discuss excerpts of the presidential debates?

WEEK 9 (11-2): Pre-election in-class debate and vote.

WEEK 10 (11-9): Post-election class. Students share their personal reactions to the election results. Explain again the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college. Examine Trump's winning coalition and the voting blocs which did not support Clinton enough to win. Discuss the viability and influence of third-party candidates in this election and the future. Recommended Reading: Kazin in Foreign Affairs on Trump's populism.

Sat., Nov. 12th, 9AM: Big English & Politics Competition, Round 1. Competing in teams of five from 班 in 政法学院= Scrabble (一楼大厅) & Wordjong Tournament (第五教室). Top 8 teams advance to Round 2. Teams not advancing are awarded notebooks and Russian candy.

WEEK 11 (11-16): President-elect Trump's "First 100 Days" in office. Key questions: Do you trust Trump? Which of his statements and policy proposals are serious (and will be pursued), and which are either "empty promises" which he made to convince people to elect him (but he himself doesn't actually believe/support) or impossible to achieve? READING: NPR on Trump's Contract with the American Voter. HOMEWORK: Watch documentary film "We Steal Secrets"

Sat., Nov. 19th, 9AM: Big English & Politics Competition, Round 2. Game show (like Review Game) format. 1st Place Prize: 1000 yuan & others, 2nd Place Prize: 500 yuan & others, 3rd Place Prize: 300 yuan & others, 4th Place Prize: TBA, 5th Place Prize: TBA, 6-8th Place Prize: Notebook, CD, & Russian candy.

WEEK 12 (11-23): Discuss administrative secrecy/classification of documents in contrast with the radical transparency of the "We Steal Secrets" and "Citizenfour" documentary films. HOMEWORK: Watch documentary film "The Fog of War"

WEEK 13 (11-30): Discuss 20th Century U.S. foreign policy and the administrative influence of elite technocrats like Robert McNamara. HOMEWORK: Watch documentary film "The Unknown Known"

WEEK 14 (12-7): Discuss Donald Rumsfeld's bureaucratic leadership, memoranda, and influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East/Iraq. Compare leadership styles of McNamara & Rumsfeld with regard to accountability. Examine different English words ending in "-cracy" & "-archy."

WEEK 15 (12-15): Discuss the concept of rationality, its various antonyms, and different models of decision-making for leaders of public service organizations.

WEEK 16 (12-22): Guest lecture from Adam Knight of RUNIN on UN reports about North Korea in the mid-2000s. Review basic economic systems and reform in terms of marketization and privatization. Discuss the possibility of Korean reunification and whether there is still only one Korean nation.