write a five page paper (this is the length of the body and does not include the works cited page) on a topic selected from the list below. The purpose of the project is to give students an opportunity to discuss a key political science concept, and to show a basic understanding of academic research and reporting skills. The project consists of producing a paper on one of the provided topics (see below), as well as a works cited page for sources containing information used in the paper. The assignment is to be formatted according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Students should research this style in order to properly format the assignment; papers not formatted properly will not receive a passing grade.

Students should use Courier or New Courier 12 point as the paper’s font, double space the text, and create one inch margins on all four sides of the page. In addition, the assignment should be formatted according to MLA style for papers with no title page. You must use a minimum of five different sources and cite them within this paper as well as list them on the works cited page using the MLA fomat. One of the five sources must be your text book and at least one of the other four sources must be another book.

  • Complete your assignment using word-processing software such as MS Word, Open Office (download free software at http://www.openoffice.org/), or other per course requirements.
  • Save your file as an .rtf file to ensure that it can be opened at any computer.

Please choose one topic from the list below for this research assignment. No other topics are allowed. Use your text book to get started and use it as one of your sources.

Read Chapter 4, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Should the Tea Party Movement Launch a Third Party?” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • What is the Tea Party? When were they created? What policy positions do they advocate?
  • Do you think the rise of the Tea Party has been beneficial for the Republican Party? Why or why not?
  • If you were advising the Tea Party on how to maximize its power and influence, would you tell Tea Party members to stay with the Republican Party or launch their own?
  • As an independent party could the Tea Party be competitive in a state like Texas? Why or why not?
  • Do you think that there should be more than two competitive political parties in the United States? Why or why not?

Read Chapter 5 in the textbook, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Voter Identification Laws,” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • What are some of the historical and contemporary barriers to voting?
  • What accounts for the low level of participation in Texas?
  • What are the arguments for and against voter identification laws? Should a student ID be an acceptable form of identification for voting?
  • What can be done to increase voter participation in the short term? In the long term?
  • Do you think lawmakers and election officials in Texas are open to adopting methods to increase turnout? Why or why not?

Read Chapter 8, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: A Plural or Single Executive?” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • How does the power of the governor in Texas compare to other states?
  • What is a plural executive? What is the single executive model?
  • What are the arguments for and against a plural executive?
  • Do you believe that the plural executive is more democratic than the single executive model? Why or why not?
  • Does the plural executive lead to more efficient and accountable government? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe the power of the governor should be increased, decreased or remain the same? Why or why not?

Read Chapter 9, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Elected or Appointed Judges?” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • How well does the racial and gender composition of the judiciary reflect the demographics of the state’s population?
  • Should judges be elected or appointed? What are the arguments for electing judges? What are the arguments for appointing judges?
  • Should the selection system vary according to the type of judge? Why or why not?
  • How should judges be selected in Texas? Is there a way to make the process less political?
  • In the case of elected judges, should judges recuse themselves or abstain from cases that affect their largest campaign contributors?
  • How informed do you think the public is about judicial elections and judicial candidates?
  • If you were voting for a judge, would you take the time to learn about the candidates and their qualifications or would you vote based on party affiliation?
  • Champagne A. Harpham E. and Casellas J. Governing Texas Third Edition W.W. Norton & Company.
 
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