Following extensive study and testing of the Executive Branch, students in Mr. Cappleman’s American Government classes closed out the Fall semester by choosing roles at random to participate in a ten-day simulation of the Presidential election process.
They began by competing for their party’s nomination in each state's primary election or party caucus, with the numerous delegates available in California and New York the coveted "silver tunas" to reach a majority. An exciting, old-fashioned nominating convention capped off the first round of competition, complete with backroom political wrangling and delegate defections.
The successful nominees, including two third parties to liven up the competition, then proceeded to the general election to develop platforms and campaign for support from seven interest groups which controlled the popular vote. Students and candidates, on a very personal level, learned the difficulty of gaining support from a broad coalition of diverse interests to achieve a majority in the Electoral College.
Students enjoyed the project and an overwhelming number agreed that their understanding of the Presidential election process was much improved due to the simulation.