Through experience, reading, historical perspective, analysis and discussion with experts, the course will focus on essential questions concerning the health of the US political system, particularly means by which presidential candidates are selected and elected. The course will examine lessons from the 1960 through the 2012 campaigns and elections in an effort to understand the current political condition of the US and the path on which the country is headed. The course will analyze American presidential campaigns and elections since 1960. The course will also help students better understand public opinion polls and the nature and structure of American public opinion. Students will examine ways in which American news media transmit information about presidential campaigns and elections, issues, and candidates, and learn about the impact of news upon political behavior and what people do with the information they receive through the news media. In an effort better to understand the relationship (or disconnect) between theory and practice in this field, students will meet practitioners – people who are involved with presidential politics on a daily basis. By the end of the term, students will be able to make sound, informed and reliable judgments about the health of the American presidential selection system. Students will never look at conventional wisdom in the same way again.