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Poli 1 Term Project: Solving the US Democracy in Crisis

Overview: Democracy allows/requires broad participation of a citizenry in order to

work properly.

One of the main themes of the course is to view the US political

system critically. Despite the ideals espoused by the Founders in the Constitution, the current reality is that US democracy is being challenged by a whole host of factors. Some would say US democracy is in decline and some would go further and say the US is no longer an effective democracy.

Your goal will be to take a problem-solving approach to the challenges facing US democracy today. You will explain how it challenges democracy. Then you will provide a solution and explain how it can restore/re-invigorate democracy in the US. You will give a step-by-step plan for achieving the goal, using what you have learned in class.

First step: Identify a problem facing US democracy

Examples of this include:

Structural: gerrymandering, money in politics, Senate filibuster

Two party system

Plurality, winner takes all

Closed Primaries

Too Many voters in a district

Media bias


and inequality

/wages/work conditions

Rise of White Nationalism

Electoral College


issues: fraud, suppression, too difficult to register to vote

Foreign Interference in Elections


Lack of educated voters

Bicameral structure of congress/lack of term limits

Tax structure/spending priorities e.g. too much Defense spending

Climate change/environment

Racial/class differences in the US


Some of the Trump administration policies. For example: violation of the

emoluments clause, assassination of Iran general without Congressional approval

(checks and balances), the Ukraine scandal, etc.

Other ways in which the Constitution is being tested today

Second step: Research potential solutions

You will conduct online research to find solutions and how we can effectuate the solution you’ve chosen to make the US more democratic.

Third Step: Midterm

1)Midterm –Prospectus, Outline, Bibliography (~2 pages, at least 1.5 pages):

•Recommended Format:

1. Intro paragraph/Thesis statement –what is the problem facing democracy you have selected and what is the solution?

2. Body paragraph #1: State problem facing democracy and why it is problematic to a working democracy

3. Body #2: Specific solution for the problem you’ve identified –why that solution/how does this solution improve the situation? Is it a policy? Constitutional change? Dependent on election result? Something requiring mass mobilization of people.

4. Body #3: Step by step plan for putting solution into action -the more detailed the better (and better grade)

•What are some potential obstacles that stand in way of plan coming together?

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography –at least 6 sources properly cited in MLA/APA/APSA format

•Best outlines incorporate research into body of outline e.g.

quotes/citations –this shows me you are already thinking of where your research goes into your paper

•The more effort you put into the midterm the higher likelihood you have a stronger final version and grade on the final.

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