This class will teach you how to better understand the fundamental factors that drive elections in America and to learn some of the skills employed by political professionals. Many of your assignments will require you to apply the lessons of this class to real time events. Pundits and other observers have already generated a phenomenal amount of analysis and commentary about the 2012 election – and occasionally they have even been right. The goal in this class is to go beyond the spin and hyperbole of many election commentators and understand how voters decide and how strategists persuade. And, to give you some of the technical skills to get an interesting job with a campaign. This class will combine the insights of campaign professionals with insight from the study of previous campaigns and core academic knowledge. It will combine theory, practice, and exploration, taking the insights of political scientists and political practitioners and rolling them into one. particular emphasis on Congress, the White House, executive bureaucracy, interest groups, and media.