Some political campaings are remembered as mud-slinging (negative campaigning). This week, we will learn about the process of electing a president by studying various texts and sources in addition to watching the movie The Ides of March (2011).

Before watching the movie, you should answer these questions:

  1. What is a caucus?
  2. When do the Democrats and the Republicans have their conventions?
  3. What is decided at these conventions?
  4. How is a candidate chosen?
  5. What is the party ticket?
  6. What is a party platform?
  7. What is the Electoral College?
  8. What do you think is the decisive factor in winning a presidential election?
  9. Find out who the Democratic candidates for the 2020 election are. What strikes you as special about the candidates?

In order to understand the US political election system, there are numerous videos you can watch:

After watching the videos, discuss: What are the strenghts/weaknesses of the American election system?

After watching the movie, discuss these questions:

  • What stood out as the main points/highlights in the movie?
  • What themes are explored?
  • What assumptions were embedded in the story?
  • What challenged you? What questions did it raise for you?
  • What characters in the movie change the most and why do you think?
  • Is politics more than likely to corrupt or ‘wake up’ idealistic wide eyed visionaries and dreamers? 
  • What role does media play in politics?
  • What is the message of the movie, in your opinion?


Written assignment

In the movie, Paul Zara says “there’s only one thing I value in this world . That’s loyalty. Without it, your’re nothing”. Discuss this statement and comment on its relevance when it comes to American politics that you learn about in the movie. In your discussion, you should also comment on the title The Ides of March and its relevance.

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