Inside Elections: Empower Yourself with Information

Special thanks to Spencer Hanson for the following post!
The general election is but a week away, as well as the kickoff for campaign 2020. But jokes aside it seems like election season never ends anymore, so it is important to know the election process inside and out to avoid being misled. Do you think you a are savvy informed voter? Do you understand how the voting process works in detail? Who the big players are? Even if you think you do, you are sure to find some surprises and insight while reading Lerner Digital’s new 2016 series, Inside Elections. These eBooks cut through the bias to give you the information you need to analyze candidates, political parties, special interests, the media and the voters themselves. Readers will learn about questioning their sources, analyzing arguments, examining differing points of view, and other media literacy skills. There is great potential for some cool assignments for students to apply what they have learned to actual election analysis.
by Sandy Donovan
Special interest groups, lobbyists, political action committees, campaign finance reform—if people on the news are arguing about these subjects, it’s probably an election year. Billions of dollars flow through special interest groups to fund campaigns at local, state, and national levels. This year just over 2 billion alone has gone into the combined campaigns of the presidential front-runners, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Donors, corporations, and committees have the potential to greatly influence political candidates and election results, so the rules surrounding special interest groups and campaign funding should be of great concern to all citizens. Examine opposing viewpoints on some of the key issues and consider for yourself who has—and who should have—a say in the election process. 
by Sandy Donovan
The frenzied news coverage during a political election is unstoppable. Political ads bombard you from every source—websites, TV, radio, and print. Then there are the memes, links, and video clips that show up through social media. Are these just annoyances, or do media messages actually shape an election’s outcome? News outlets, campaign staff, and even members of the public use many forms of media for different purposes: to explain candidates’ platforms, to explore issues, to expose controversy, and more. Some messages are biased, while others try to be balanced. Examine opposing viewpoints on some of the key issues involving media’s role and consider for yourself what power media has to influence the election process. 

by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
When an election is coming up, you usually expect a face-off between the two major US political parties—Democrats and Republicans. It’s easy to forget that there are numerous minor parties—and even groups within a single party—that have different goals. Why do we need political parties? In modern elections, they are important in shaping candidates’ positions on issues, determining who is nominated to run on a party ticket, and working behind the scenes to influence an election’s outcome. Examine opposing viewpoints on some of the key issues surrounding political parties and consider for yourself the power they hold in the US election process. 

by Robert Grayson
On election night, all eyes are on the ballot tallies to see which candidates come out on top. But the actual voting process begins much earlier. Years before an election, candidates recruit supporters—voters—to work on their campaign and win support from other voters. Then political party members vote in primaries and caucuses to determine which candidates will represent their party in the general election. Finally, the general election takes place, but the voting process is not complete until members of the Electoral College cast their votes as well. Examine opposing viewpoints on some of the key issues in the election process and consider for yourself the responsibilities and challenges of voting in a US election. 

Remember the 8th of November, but never forget that Lerner Digital wants its readers to understand why!