Forum #1 Group A Question:

Stuckey argues that “When we elect presidents, we choose more than administrative officials. We also choose between competing visions of the American polity: its composition, parameters, and mission in the world (639).

Identify one fundamental opposition between Democrats and Republicans that was especially important in the 2004 election (that is, an important idea, value, or policy stance that fundamentally distinguished Democrats’ and Republicans’ visions of the American “nation”). Explain how this opposition was constructed rhetorically, and the nature of the choice that it presented to voters.

Then, identify how your chosen opposition was illustrated through specific differences between Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s addresses to their respective national conventions in 2016. How does your chosen difference relate to the competing visions of “nation” that Trump and Clinton constructed in their speeches? You may use any material from the Stuckey reading, and/or any material from extra news coverage of the conventions, in your response.

Donald’s speech:

Hillary’s speech:

Discussion Forum Grading Rubric

  • Wrote a substantive response according to the instructions in your chosen question. Your response incorporated specific conceptual/theoretical vocabulary and content from the assigned readings and from lecture (40%). Theories are useful to us when they tell us how to look at things, and this becomes possible only if we can demonstrate a detailed and specific grasp of theoretical vocabularies. Theoretical vocabularies are contained in the definitions of major course concepts. If understood in a detailed and specific way, theoretical vocabularies direct our attention toward specific aspects of reality and allow us to develop applied critical thinking skills. Often students will think they understand a concept because they recognize an example of it, but this is mistaken. Theoretical vocabularies provide a general way of looking at the world that allows us to critically analyze and evaluate cultural patterns, problems, ways of thinking, tendencies, and so on. In short, a concept or theory serves as a general way of seeing social realities; an example is a specific thing we are able to see through a conceptual or theoretical lens. For these reasons, discussion participation must reflect a grasp of specific theoretical vocabulary from the readings.
  • Specific conceptual/theoretical vocabulary and content from assigned readings and from lectures applied with analytical rigor (40%). I want to see you taking ownership of course material and applying it to critical analyses. This means that simply describing material from readings and lectures, or stringing together quotes or paraphrases from the readings and lectures, will not receive a high grade. Your forum responses should focus on larger problems raised in the readings and the critical insights offered by particular approaches to these problems. Also, each question will require that you apply the concepts from required academic journal articles/book chapters to the popular news stories assigned for that same week. As you apply the concepts from academic readings, my expectation is that you will provide detailed, substantive connections between the concepts and the popular news articles. The purpose of these connections will be to demonstrate that you are able to apply major course concepts analytically to the events and trends of our current political moment.
  • Ideas/concepts were expressed in a clear and coherent manner (20%). Contributions will be held to high standards for clarity and coherence, including grammar. While no style formats will be imposed, forum contributions should meet formal academic standards similar to essays, where specific ideas, vocabulary, cases, examples and so on from the readings are referenced. Clear, carefully proofread writing is expected in all posts.
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