What better way to bring reason to the political arguments of the presidential campaign than to examine the work and qualifications of past presidents at:
Select an era and review the achievements and qualifications of the American presidents from that time. There is a scholarly article about each and a synopsis of their domestic policy, economic policy, legislative affairs, national security, presidential politics, administration of the government, and administration of the White House. The site was developed and is maintained by the Miller Center for Public Policy.
If the election process itself is what intrigues you, the Presidential Campaign Memorabilia from the Duke University Special Collections Library will tantalize with a wealth of campaign posters, buttons and other paraphernalia from past candidates and parties. See America Votes http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/americavotes/.
For serious political junkies, SCORE H-SSs 2004 Presidential Elections has a great selection of sites, including:
About Elections and Voting
Project Vote Smart
The 2004 U.S. Presidential Election
Democracy in Action: Race for the White House
Easy Voter guide
To catch the real political spin however, you will have to visit the sites of the political parties:
Republican campaign information can be found at GOP.com <http://www.rnc.org/>, the site of the Republican National Committee. Here you will find a fact log or FLOG, the chairmans corner, speeches, news releases and much more. For the Democrats, the Democratic National Committee <http://www.democrats.org/> site has a section called Our Democratic Values describing the partys view of what needs to be done in the areas of jobs, environment, health care, national security, and education. There is also the Daily Blog and the Cartoon of the Day. Nader fans need to check out Nader for President 2004 <http://www.votenader.org>. Here you will find the key points of Naders platform and a plea to include his party on the ballots. All the sites provide a link for people who want to contribute or volunteer to work on the campaigns.
Teaching about the election process, and the Electoral College is made exciting through the use of the following updated teaching activities on the SCORE H-SS site.
For example, Larry Ganns Electing the President: The American Electoral College System <http://www.historywise.com/lp_electoral.htm> examines the Electoral College system and helps students evaluate it effect. Alternately, teachers might use Barry Biedas lesson The Electoral College: Is it still a plausible system for electing our President? at <http://www.socialstudies.com/c/@e_k6A3jPLafmg/Pages/electoral.html>.
Students will look more closely at the differences between the political parties after doing the Building Your Own Political Platform lesson at http://www.historywise.com/lp_buildplatform.htm. Students can examine the campaigning process through Melan Jaichs Media Survey Project: Television News Coverage of the Presidential Election <http://www.historywise.com/lp_mediasurvey.htm>. This lesson guides students through a field research and evaluation of the broadcast medias coverage of the presidential campaign. Then the League of Women Voters show students How to Judge a Candidate at <http://www.smartvoter.org/voter/judgecan.html> by requiring them to examine many choices that help them make judgments on candidates and issues.