Of the three models of power and authority discussed in this class – PLURALISM, POWER ELITE, and GOVERNING CLASS – which do you think is most adequate to account for the way the U.S. is actually run, and why? (The pluralist model is most similar to the way the U.S. is supposed to be run, while the other two models are more skeptical as to how democratic our political system actually is.) Even if you add one or two features from a different model, pick ONE model that most closely approximates the actual political situation as you understand it. You should also discuss how the Trump campaign and Presidency fit in with the model you have chosen. Do not simply give a recapitulation or summary of the chart! Your essay should focus on the most important features in the chart, as you see it, and incorporate relevant examples to prove your point. If you are arguing in defense of the power elite or governing class model, you might discuss the corporate media and the standards used to decide what news is fit to print (the New York Times’ slogan is “All the News That’s Fit to Print”) or broadcast; the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, which sharply limited government regulation of campaign contributions; and the way in which Presidents can initiate hostilities without the declaration of war required by the Constitution (Vietnam is the most obvious example, but there are others). Also think about the issue of “alternative facts” and open appeals to racism that have characterized political discussion in recent years. If you are arguing in defense of the pluralist model, you could talk about First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, press, and association, as well as the choices offered between, say, Fox “fair and balanced” news and the more critical 60 Minutes approach.. And for the pluralist or the governing class model – but not the power elite model – you could talk about the changes brought about by the civil rights movement or the antiwar movement of the 1960s. (See the film Selma for more on this.) On the other hand, in terms of Thermonuclear Monarchy, the pluralist model doesn’t work very well, since discussions of nuclear abolition almost never surface in the media or attract public attention. This issue fits better with the other two models.
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