Assignment: Review the April 2018 Pew Research Center report, “The Public, the Political System, and American Democracy,” and the July 2019 report, “Trust and Distrust in America,”on attitudes towards democracy and the American political system (both reports were assigned as readings at the beginning of the semester and are available on Canvas). Select one of the major issues addressed in the Pew Report, such as political knowledge, the responsiveness of politicians to the public, or the structure of institutions, and write an Op-Ed proposing a reform to address it. Your paper should be around 3 pages, double-spaced (12 point font, 1 inch margins). You should include at least 2 peer-reviewed scholarly sources in support of your argument (in addition to the Pew Report); you may draw from readings on the syllabus or from your own research. You must cite your academic sources using parenthetical references (author last name, date, page no) and include a bibliography on an additional page (follow the Chicago Manual of Style). As part of this paper assignment, you will upload a draft of your paper to Canvas for a randomly assigned peer review by a classmate the week of April … You will receive more information about this process in the coming weeks. You must upload your paper to Canvas. Drawing on what you have learned in class from lectures and readings, your Op-Ed paper should: 1. Propose a reform to the U.S. political system that addresses one of the issues identified in the Pew Report2. Make an argument for why your proposed reform will improve the American political system. Include relevant evidence from the Pew Report and scholarly research to support your argument. For example, if you propose a reform addressing the level of political knowledge in the U.S., your evidence might include Pew statistics on the current status of political knowledge in the U.S., as well as scholarly research on the relationship between political knowledge, and participation and representation. Be sure to identify and respond to potential critiques to your proposed reform. 3. Your paper should also explain how your reform will be adopted (constitutional amendment, state or federal law, party rules, leadership prerogative, etc.), identify hurdles to adoption, and analyze potential unintended consequences of your proposed reform. For example, if you propose abolishing the legislative filibuster in the Senate in order to strengthen majority party rule, you might also consider the impact of your proposed reform on minority representation, bipartisan compromise, and policy stability in the national government. This assignment provides an opportunity for you to engage with important questions about the current status of the U.S. political system and the potential for changes that might strengthen American democracy. Some examples of reforms you might propose include: mandate general election voting to make the electorate more representative; mandate that individuals pass a civics class when applying for a
driver’s license in order to strengthen political knowledge; or abolish lifetime court appointments in order to make Supreme Court justices more accountable to the public. Citations: You are expected to use the Chicago-style citation method to complete parenthetical references and a bibliography on a separate page. Consult The Chicago Manual of Style Online for a model: https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/
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