Congress - the people's branch - is famously unpopular. Nine out of 10 Americans disapprove of Congress. Yet, the same Americans will reelect over 90% of House members and 80% of Senators. One explanation is that candidates, including incumbents, run for Congress by running against it. Ironically, their echoing of public disdain for politics makes lawmaking even more difficult.
Playing politics can be an effective way to appreciate what Congress does. Roughly 50% of this class is devoted to a student-run simulation and nearly all of the graded assignments are simulation-related. This is a terrific way to learn but it depends on your collective participation! When students prepare and take risks, everyone benefits!
Demonstrate appreciation of:
the role of Congress in society
the legislative process, its logic, and proposed reforms
the external and internal influences shaping legislative behavior
listening and communication skills
Required book (Odegaard reserve has one copy (24 hour) Robert Kaiser, Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't
LegSim: Everyone must register and create a profile on LegSim by April 2 at 11pm. There is a $16 registration fee. See registration instructions at the very bottom of this syllabus.
Grades are based on participation activities and writing assignments. There are no formal exams.