Close Menu
Show details +
Entering the Race

Too Many Candidates vs. Too Few

Although it’s easy for anyone to announce a bid for the presidency, the American political system makes it very difficult for anyone outside the Republican or Democratic Party to win the White House.

The illustrations of Democratic and Republican candidates show a diverse and crowded field of hopefuls for the two major parties.

Newseum Collection
The illustrations of Democratic and Republican candidates show a diverse and crowded field of hopefuls for the two major parties.

This Case Study is under copyright protection.

You can access it with a free NewseumED account.

Have an account? Sign in

OBJECTIVE: Students will understand how the two-party system shapes elections and the role of third-party candidates.

MATERIALS: Copies of the case study handout, one per student (download); Organizing Evidence worksheet, one per group (download); access to NewseumED.org case study; NewseumED Pinterest board of related resources (optional)

PROCEDURE:

  1. Ask students what they know about the bumpy road from presidential candidate to party nominee. What steps and events do contenders have to go through?
  2. This case study is one of four in the Election Procedures section of the EDCollection that covers: declaring candidacy, competing in primaries and caucuses, being nominated at the national convention, and the final weeks of wooing voters before the general election. Explain that the case study they will be looking at will raise questions about how democratic our presidential election system is.
  3. Read the Explore the Debate question aloud and/or write it on the board. Read them the overview that sets the scene for group work. Tell them they will use historical and contemporary examples to reach a consensus in small groups on an answer to the debate question.
  4. Pass out copies of the case study and the Organizing Evidence worksheet. Have the groups read each of the four Election Essentials and use the Questions to Consider to help guide the discussion. They should complete sections 1 and 2 on the worksheet.
  5. Have the students look at the Pages From History artifacts for the case study on NewseumED.org and complete section 3 on the worksheet. Give the groups 15 minutes to collect and organize information to formulate evidence-supported arguments for their answer to the debate question. (If time is an issue, skip the artifacts or assign as homework.)
  6. Ask the groups to share their conclusions and reasoning. You may want to use the Questions to Consider again to push and expand the debate.

Placing images behind a login wall allows us to negotiate lower copyright costs and ensures that we keep all NewseumED resources free for the education community.

Sign in for full access.

Don’t have premium access? It’s free. All you have to do is register.

Downloads

Overview PDF DOC
Worksheets PDF DOC
Extensions PDF DOC
Full Packet PDF DOC

To request a large print or Braille version, call 202.292.6650.

Make Your Voice Matter

Under 18 and can't vote?
Check out other ways to get involved.

Sign in for full access to this Case Study.

Don’t have an account?

Our case studies contain copyrighted material, so registration is required. Signing up is simple and free.

Special Thanks

This content was made possible by

EDTools

Incorporate NewseumED resources in your classroom or enrich your research project with rare, hi-res primary sources.

EDClasses & Training

Request a class or workshop to get personalized instruction from Newseum Education staff.

EDCollections

Dive into specially curated collections of primary sources and lessons on civil rights, women's suffrage and more.