ASTK15472U COURSE: An American Perspective on Political Campaigns

Volume 2017/2018

The course will examine the operations and tactics of modern political campaigns in the United States and explore the effects - positive and negative - that the campaigns have on the surrounding citizenry.


In order to reflect how the election of Donald Trump upended some assumptions about effective campaigning and reconfirmed others, the syllabus will be (further) adjusted to include relevant material published between now and the beginning of the spring semester.


The students will be graded based on oral exams. The course language will be English.


The course will cover


  • An overview of how political campaigning has evolved historically in the United States
  • The primary system and the Electoral College system
  • The influence of the winner-take-all system
  • Voter behavior patterns and causes
  • Voter segmentation and targeting
  • On-the-ground campaigning and volunteer operations
  • Candidate positioning
  • Campaign finance
  • The role of parties
  • Comparative excerpts from classic campaign literature
  • The increasing role played by Big Data
  • The ways in which the rise of round-the-clock news coverage and the rapidly growing reach of social media have influenced and continue to influence campaigning
  • Real-life examples of effective campaigns, negative campaigning, campaign ads, televised debates, controversial campaign strategies and methods, voter manipulation and voter disenfranchisement


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Oral exam
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner