Merkitarian Party vs. Storrs of America Party

Campaign Simulation 2008



PURPOSE:  The purpose of this mock campaign is to provide students experience in working within the political process. The Campaign will also give the students an understanding of the many dimensions of the political process, what is needed to manage a political campaign, and what their responsibilities are as citizens within this process.


The Connecticut Social Studies Curriculum Framework Content and Performance Standards:


United States Constitution and Government

Students will apply knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, how the U.S. system of government works and how the rule of law and the value of liberty and equality have an impact on individual, local, state and national decisions.

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of citizens to participate in and shape public policy, and contribute to the maintenance of our democratic way of life.

International Relations

Students will demonstrate an understanding of how the major elements of international relations and world affairs affect their lives and the security and well-being of their community, state and nation.



Students will…

·      evaluate the contemporary roles of political parties, associations, media groups and public opinions in local, state and national politics;

·      determine the significance of political leadership, public service, and a knowledgeable citizenry in American constitutional democracy;




Day 1: The class will be divided into small groups, and from these groups, candidates will be nominated to run for President of the United States.


Groups will:

1.       Prioritize political issues from the list provided and determine the top five; examine each issue from three different perspectives, identifying the benefits and limitations for each. 


What are the benefits of adopting the perspective?

What are the limitations of the perspective

Perspective One: The issue which should be on the agenda are those which are most urgent.



Perspective Two: The issue which should be on the agenda are those which affect the largest number of people.



Perspective Three: The issue which should be on the agenda are those which directly affect students and young people.




2.       Use the issues/perspective to write a 3-5 minute speech to be presented to the class by your nominee on Day 2.


HW:  Students will discuss and compose speech via Facebook



DAY 2:

1.      Speeches/Voting

2.      Establish Campaign Committees:

A.  Issue “Think Tanks” directives

B.  Advertising and Media Responsibilities

C.   Finances

3.      Party Vision: What does the party stand for? Peace? Change? War? Leadership? What is your mission? How will you make it happen?

4.      Create a Name for the party: Try to select a party name that will enhance the

     chances of your candidate winning the election!    The Merikitarian Party Commitment. Action. Success

5.      Write a Vision Statement: Example “Ask not what your country can do for you, but for what you can  do for your country” JFK



HW: Advertising proposal from each Think Tank. Best Advertisement Proposal (Print AD/Song/Commercial (You don’t have to create the actual advertisement, song or  commercial – propose a clear plan to show what is the message/who is targeted/how it will benefit the party) wins and is in charge of advertising-- will vote in class.




Day 3: Resources


Students will…

Develop proposals regarding solutions to significant international, political, economic, demographic or environmental issues.

·         Think Tanks: Identify the most significant issue (specific to your group) facing the nation today and propose a valid solution. Research the issue, compile data used to support (that it is clearly relevant nationally and locally); determine a plan that will resolve the issue.  You MUST make this relevant for your age group! Remember your audience and speak to their needs.

      Students will…

Take a position on a current policy issue and attempt to influence its formation, development and implementation

·    Create a Party Blog  that clearly demonstrates the party platform by displaying the following:


1.      Party Name and Vision

2.      Presidential Candidate photo and biography

3.      Think Tank issues incorporated into the blog as commercials, editorials, interviews … just make sure your idea is approved by me first.



HW:   Research your issue, compile data used to support (that it is clearly relevant nationally and locally); determine a plan that will resolve the issue - Advertisement/Blog post (see above) should reflect this issue as well as the political party vision: Commitment. Action. Success


Day 4: All students will:

·         Think Tank research and blog posting

·         Produce commercial to be posted on the blog

·         Collaborate on Community Canvassing Plan - designate responsibility - create!


HW: Create and distribute Community with flyers, petitions, posters; pass out buttons THERE ARE NO OFF DAYS!



Day 5:


·         Think Tank research and blog posting (Finish for HW)


Days 6-7:


Topic: Issue Race vs. Horse Race


Horserace coverage focuses on who’s ahead. It often includes candidates’ gaffes and coverage of polls and rarely discusses the substance of political issues.


Issue Coverage is focused on informing people about a specific issue and where candidates stand on the issue. These stories will include information about campaign events if related to the issue, but it is the issue, not the campaign that is the main point.


Issue Coverage is focused on informing people about a specific issue and where candidates stand on the issue. These stories will include information about campaign events if related to the issue, but it is the issue, not the campaign that is the main point.


Think Tank Researchers: identify and incorporate current issue coverage stories and to serve as a model for Merkitarian Party blog (posted by Friday 10/24!).

Find two sources which cover the think tank issue. Look for one feature, one op-ed or editorial, and one non-print source, such as a video or audio clip. Complete the attached Current Events Worksheet.

Possible sources:


The Constitution Newswire (via “Educational Resources” on NCC homepage)

Local newspapers or television channels

To find your local news sources visit:

 New York Times Upfront


Scholastic News (

National Newspapers and Networks



Current Events Worksheet

Article Headline: ______________________________________________________________

Source: _____________________________________________________________________

Author: _______________________________________________ Date: _________________

Summarize the main points of the article: ___________________________________________






Is this a primary or secondary source?______________________________________________

Canvas Team:

Glass Case Requirements:

Middle Case is general election news (Obama/McCain); Merk's case is on the left/Storrs Right

See me before you put anything in the case.

Campaign "Props"

stickers or pins

a lawn sign

slogan associated with your think tank issue and visible on flyers/adds etc.

a newspaper ad

issue flyers 10 per think tank

Blog entry

a fund raising social activity (lobby only)

give away items (optional)


Culminating Blog:  The Merikitarian Party


Days 8-9: Popular vs. Electoral Vote


Day 10:  Vote!





Wild Card 1 : Ratification of Constitutional Amendments

Article 5 of the Constitution provides for the amendment of the Constitution by various means (see The Amendments Page for details). However once an amendment is proposed, it does not become part of the Constitution unless it is ratified by three-quarters of the states (either the legislatures thereof, or in amendment conventions). The following is a record of the states and dates that led to the ratification of the 28th Amendment.

The 28th Amendment, which ensures the vote to all citizens over the age of 17, was proposed on June 13, 2008 and Ratified on October 11, 2008

Wild Card II: Declared War on Terror

In the wake of the attacks on US allies overseas in  Israel, South Korea, and Turkey by assumed Osama Bin Laden supported terrorist groups, President Bush has asked Congress to approve a declaration of war against terror. If approved, the Draft would  be reinstated and all men and women between the ages of 17 and 26 would be eligible.

Background of Selective Service
(Source: Selective Service System - June 25, 2008 revision)

For more than 50 years, Selective Service and the registration requirement for America's young men have served as a backup system to provide manpower to the U.S. Armed Forces.

President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 which created the country's first peacetime draft and formally established the Selective Service System as an independent Federal agency.

From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means.

In 1973, the draft ended and the U.S. converted to an All-Volunteer military.

The registration requirement was suspended in April 1975. It was resumed again in 1980 by President Carter in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Registration continues today as a hedge against underestimating the number of servicemen needed in a future crisis.

The obligation of men and women to register is imposed by the Military Selective Service Act.  The Act establishes and governs the operations of the Selective Service System.

(Source: Selective Service System - June 25, 2008 revision)

Wild Card 3: Family income of 50k or more not eligible for federal student loans