Gubernatorial Race 2014 #AmPolStyle

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Chris Maurice

With Election Day now 21 days away, the American Politics class has begun their Campaign Strategy Project, as American Politics teacher Ms. Gallagher puts it. This year the class is focusing on the Illinois Gubernatorial race where Republican Bruce Rauner and Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm are challenging the incumbent Pat Quinn for his seat as governor in Springfield.  The students in the class are tasked with designing a strategy for these candidates who will then be judged by a panel of parents, teachers, and students to see who has created the best one.

There are two American Politics classes; each class is divided up into four groups. One group representing Pat Quinn, one for Bruce Rauner, one for Chad Grimm, and one group called candidate X in which the students get to create their own candidate. One group is modeling their candidate after the Democratic Senator of Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren, while the other groups is creating a hybrid between Rod Blagojevich and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Candidate X poses a challenge that the other 3 groups do not have to deal with. These groups have no data to use, and it is much more difficult to inform everyone about their candidate. But also allows for the groups to design a candidate truly suited to fix the problems in Illinois.

Ms. Gallagher has plenty of experience for teaching American politics, and has done projects like this before. This year, Ms. Gallagher wanted the project to be different. Today in Illinois, one out of four people would want to leave the state if they could and we are the third most despised within our own state. The project was framed around the idea how could Illinois be better off, and each candidate brings a different set of ideas to the table. It is the students’ job to exemplify those ideas and qualities, and to prove that their candidate would be best for Illinois.

Each team will be presenting their strategy to a panel of parents, teachers, and students. They will be judged on their web and social media presence, as well as a commercial and an info-graphic they will create. The panel will then vote on whom has the best strategy out of all the groups. Hoping to help with their own mock campaign strategies, the students taking American Politics course have already met with representatives from the Quinn campaign, the Rauner campaign, Digital and Social Media Specialist for CSPAN Jeremy Art, and Chad Grimm himself.

Ms. Gallagher hopes that the students in the class, as well as those outside of the class will get a clear idea on what qualities make up the candidates in this upcoming election. Voting allows for the voice of America’s to be heard. We have the power to change Illinois’s future.  Whether that means electing a new candidate, or sticking with what we have, Illinois’s future, our future, can be changed by a mark on the ballot. Though much of the student population at Latin cannot vote, Ms. Gallagher hopes that students and teachers will bring these ideas and facts home and share them, because everyone 18 and older will have the opportunity to vote for the three candidates on November 4th, and in this race, every vote in going to count.

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