The presidential election is a great opportunity to make learning come alive in your homeschool. In this newsletter, we give your homeschool family important information on campaigning during the coronavirus. This information would be great to use along with our free lesson on the primaries. Did you grab your FREE lesson on the primaries? Click here to download now!
Election 2020 will be one for the history books. Never before has a pandemic disrupted a primary season and a presidential election. It has changed the way voters cast ballots. It has derailed candidate strategies. It has reordered issues voters think are important.
“These are extraordinary times,” President Kennedy told a joint session of Congress in 1961, when freedom and liberty were under attack. The same can be said for today. These are extraordinary times.
In this newsletter, we teach your family about three ways the coronavirus has changed the presidential campaign. Read it with your family. And keep on reading for activities and web links to keep your kids engaged while you are hunkered down at home.
1. Voting by Mail and Early Voting
In normal times, most voters would line up at their polling places on Election Day to cast a vote for their favorite candidate. But these are extraordinary times.
Over the last two decades, more and more states have been going to vote by mail and early voting. These ways of voting help to get more people out to vote. High voter turnout is super important in a democracy! In 2016, about 40% of votes were cast by absentee ballots, vote by mail, and early voting. We cover all of these ways to vote in our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschools and co-ops.
Fun fact: Do you know the states that had the highest shares of vote by mail, early voting, and absentee voting in the last presidential election? They were Oregon (100%), Washington (97.7%), and Colorado (94.4%).
State and local government officials are in talks right now to make sure the November election goes forward even if the pandemic continues. Vote by mail, absentee ballots, and early voting are all possible alternatives to voting in person at the polls on Election Day. Even if the pandemic slows or stops, we can expect to see more and more states turning to absentee ballots, vote by mail, and early voting. We are already seeing this trend in the primaries.
In West Virginia, voters can now give the coronavirus as a reason for voting by mail in their primary on May 12. In Georgia, absentee ballot request forms will be mailed to every voter before the state’s primary on May 19.
Switching to vote by mail will not be easy. It will be expensive and take a good bit of time to print the ballots make sure they are secure. But these are extraordinary times.
2. Digital Campaigning
In normal times, candidates would be boarding their campaign planes, crisscrossing the country. They’d be headed to battleground states or the next states on the primary calendar. They’d hold huge rallies in stadiums and auditoriums, in front of crowds of thousands of people. They’d shake hands with voters, kiss babies, and pose for selfies along receiving lines. But these are extraordinary times. States have banned rallies. Americans are practicing social distancing. Kissing babies, taking selfies, and shaking hands are now frowned upon, especially as more and more world leaders are diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Nobody knows how long the nationwide quarantine will keep people in their homes, away from crowds. Nobody knows how long airplanes will be grounded, as travel restrictions mount. Campaigns are building up their digital platforms, preparing to reach voters in new ways. Campaigns are asking themselves the following questions: How can we boost virtual engagement with supporters? How can we get out our message through social media? How can we get people to donate and volunteer over the Internet?
Fundraisers are already going virtual. Virtual town hall forums are being live streamed. Primary candidates are giving addresses from home. In our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, we talk about the history of campaigns, including the front porch campaign of the early 1900s. During the era of front porch campaigns, candidates would address the people and the press from their homes and especially their front porches. Of course, the Internet was not around back then. These extraordinary times are fusing the old era of front porch campaigns with the current digital era. These extraordinary times are forcing us into a new phase, and it is unclear how long it will last.
3. Leadership Qualities and Economic Issues
If a presidential candidate is an incumbent (the person who currently holds the office), that person can campaign from the White House stage. This is especially important in times of crisis. Attention is laser-focused on the president during crisis situations, as voters tune into daily presidential press conferences and live updates. The media give presidential actions non-stop attention. The nation watches—and feels the effects—as the president manages the crisis and dips into his arsenal of presidential powers. In short, the president campaigns by being president.
If the pandemic persists, the candidates’ re-election strategies and appeals will change. They already have changed. Voters will evaluate the candidates on how they led the nation through this unprecedented national emergency. How well did they take command? Did they make wise decisions?
The most important issue in any presidential election is the economy (the wealth or resources of a country). The 2020 election will be no different. A strong economy usually keeps the incumbent candidate or party in office. A weak economy usually ousts the incumbent candidate or party. The pandemic has caused a huge economic disruption. But given the current crisis, voters may look forward rather than back. They may ask themselves a different question: which candidate is best equipped to rebuild the economy after coronavirus?
Questions for Debate and Discussion
Don’t forget to grab your free lesson on the primaries. Click here to get your copy of the 2020 Presidential Election Unit Study for homeschool families and co-ops.
The coronavirus is not just disrupting everyday life, it’s disrupting the presidential election as well. The good news is that these disruptions provide a great opportunity for homeschool students to engage in the presidential election—and get to know the primary calendar a little better. Here, we help your homeschool family navigate the 2020 presidential election’s primary calendar—coronavirus and all.
In this newsletter, you’ll find a quick lesson on the primary calendar (including coronavirus disruptions), hands-on activities to do with your homeschool students, and video links to explore the presidential election primary calendar in your homeschool.
In our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, we cover all the ins and outs of the primary season. The primary election is actually a series of elections where candidates from the same party compete against each other for the party’s nomination. That is, they compete to decide who whose name will be on the ballot in the November presidential election.
And there’s good news! We’re offering our lesson on the primaries as a free download on the Silverdale Press website! Click here to download the free lesson on the primaries or buy now.
The Primary Calendar
The presidential primary calendar can be confusing—for homeschool students, parents, and average Americans alike. Different states vote at different times. Some states have regular old primary elections, and some states have caucuses. There’s all this attention on the states that vote early, but the states that vote late in the calendar seem to get the short end of the stick. Do the votes of the people in the states that vote late in the calendar even matter?
Understanding the primary calendar is key to figuring out who will ultimately become a party’s nominee. Candidates plan their strategies around the primary calendar. Where should they spend their time? Where should they spend their advertising dollars? Which states have people who will vote for them?
Iowa and New Hampshire
Iowa is first state in the nation to vote, and New Hampshire is second state in the nation to vote. These two states very important for presidential candidates. If they do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, they go on to compete in later contests. If they do poorly in these states, many will decide to end their campaigns.
Months—even years—before Iowans cast their votes, presidential candidates travel to fairs, farms, and coffee shops around Iowa to meet and greet voters. The presidential candidates make speeches. They run advertisements on television and the radio. They talk to everyday voters about their everyday problems. Finally, in the early days of a presidential election year (usually January or February), Iowans will go to their caucus sites and vote. Candidates who finish ahead of the pack will go on to compete in New Hampshire. Those who finish at the end of the pack will either drop out or make the hard decision to go on.
New Hampshire voters are different than Iowa voters. Sometimes, candidates who do well in Iowa do not do well in New Hampshire. But New Hampshire is still very important. It gives candidates who lost in Iowa a second chance to prove that they can win with a different group of voters.
We dig deeper into Iowa and New Hampshire in our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020. Click here to download a sample chapter or buy now.
Nevada and South Carolina
It’s hard—but not impossible—for a candidate to lose in both Iowa and New Hampshire but go on to win the nomination. Nevada and South Carolina usually vote next. These states are also important because they give candidates yet another chance to prove they can win.
Nevada and South Carolina are in different regions of the country. The people who live there are more diverse than in Iowa and New Hampshire. They have different tastes, backgrounds, histories, and interests.
Fun fact: Between 1976 and 2016, there was only one candidate to lose in both Iowa and New Hampshire but to go on to win the nomination. Do you know who it was? It was Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in 1992. He lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire but did very well in South Carolina. After he proved himself in South Carolina, he went on to do well in the rest of the states. Because of his come-from-behind victory, Clinton became known as the “comeback kid.”
The parties have rules that keep other states from voting before Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. And there are penalties if the states break those rules. States still want to have as much impact on the primary election as they possibly can. So many states schedule their elections as early as they can, if their state election laws allow. That’s how we get Super Tuesday. In 2020, Super Tuesday was on the first Tuesday in March.
If one candidate does really well on Super Tuesday, it can be hard for others to catch up. Candidates who did not have a good showing on Super Tuesday will usually drop out. Those who do well enough can go on to compete in the rest of the states.
The Rest of the States
Do the rest of the states matter? It depends. If the race is close the rest of the states can matter. For example, the 2008 Democratic primary was a really close race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama won Iowa. Clinton won New Hampshire. The Super Tuesday states did not choose a clear winner. Obama and Clinton competed in every single state. And every state mattered. When the very last primary was over, Obama had a slight lead over Clinton. He became the party’s nominee.
But in 2016, the Republican primary was pretty much over by Super Tuesday. Texas Senator Ted Cruz won in Iowa. Donald Trump won in New Hampshire--and effectively ensured himself victory on Super Tuesday.
The 2020 Primary Calendar—Disrupted
The 2020 primary calendar will be one for the history books. For the first time in modern history, a pandemic has forced some states, such as Georgia and Ohio, to postpone their primaries. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted the primary calendar. What will happen to the race? Will the states reschedule and when? There is still so much uncertainty.
Just because the coronavirus has disrupted the primary season—and probably your homeschool routine—you have a great learning opportunity to engage your homeschool in the presidential election.
Here are some primary calendar activities to keep your homeschool students busy while hunkered down at home.
Here are some good internet resources about presidential primary calendar (and disruptions):
Click here to learn more about the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for your homeschool and to download your free lesson on the primaries. It would also work well for homeschool co-ops.
It’s finally here! We at Silverdale Press are thrilled to announce the re-release of our popular Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 edition. If you’ve loved our Veterans Day Unit Study, Martin Luther King, Jr. Unit Study, or any of our White House unit studies, you will really love Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschool families and co-ops.
Click here to buy now or download a free sample chapter.
Presidential elections are a chance to make learning come alive!
Presidential elections in the United States can be both exciting and confusing for students and parents alike. For homeschool families and co-ops, they are also a tremendous learning opportunity.
Here's confusing part. Most people don’t know how presidential elections work. How does a candidate win a primary? What are delegates, and how are they “captured”? What’s the difference between a primary and a caucus? What are parties, and why do we have them? Why do we have the Electoral College, and how does it even work? How does a candidate win a presidential election? These are important questions. It is vital that we as homeschool parents can help our kids navigate the election process.
Now, here’s exciting part. Presidential elections get so much buzz. They are fast-paced and exciting. The debates, advertisements, the strategy all capture our attention for months. This is a great time to get our kids involved and interested in our democracy. It is our job to make sure our kids grow up to be active and involved citizens. It is up to us to make sure that they know about our government and will grow up participate in our democratic process. They need to understand how presidential elections work.
What kids should know about presidential elections
Kids should know about presidential elections from start to finish. They should know what the Constitution says about who can run and how the winner is decided. They should know about how primaries work and the history of the primary system. They should know about what political parties are and what happens at conventions. They need to know what issues are important in 2020 and what the parties and candidates believe about those issues. The need to know about the Electoral College, the actual system we use for electing a president. They need to know about how candidates win in the Electoral College, and this includes campaign strategy, advertising, and media. They need to know about the debates—what to do and not to do. And they need to know what happens on Election Day, from how voters make decisions all the way through the Inauguration.
What you’ll learn in the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020
The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for families and co-ops is all you need to energize your homeschool this election season. The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 has all of your questions covered:
The table of contents comes with the free sample chapter. Click here to download or buy now.
What you’ll do in the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020
Each lesson is also loaded with fun activities designed to get your homeschool students engaged in the presidential election.
The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 will be a great addition to your homeschool or co-op. The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 comes as a digital download. The study is high-quality and easy to use, and we promise it will enrich your whole family.
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