In light of the results of the election, some of the national political dynamics have now changed, although as we lurch toward the 2020 elections, the contrast between dividing to win a campaign and uniting to govern will remain an issue that crosscuts policy areas. This is your invitation to join the fun. For your final essay, examine an issue of your choice from the Twittersphere perspective of a federal political person of your choice. You are free to choose which individual you wish to focus upon, but use major figures such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, President Trump, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham because they tweet often and mingle to emotive with the substantive. Tweets on subjects of interest that are not policy issues (example: Donald Trump on the media) are not to be included. Write an essay that will: 1. Report on the substance of either a tweet or, more likely, a series of tweets on an issue (let’s say Trump on immigration). What is it that the person is saying? What prompted it? What pieces of the issue are not addressed in the tweet? 2. The larger presence. Looking at how this individual uses Twitter, what is his/her purpose – political presence, political bomb-throwing, issue development, outreach to the folks back home? How does this fit with that strategy? How does this fit with the overall strategy of what you can find out on line about the legislator / political person? 3. Report on the wider issue. What is the context of the tweet? Explain what is taking place in the issue before and after the tweet. How is this issue, or a specific piece of legislation, important. Has this tweet (or this series of tweets) made any difference? As we have discussed, is this tweet about politics or government? 4. Tap into the opposition and those who support the person. If this is, for example, Trump on immigration, what does the other side say (again, federal officials only – not random commenters or pundit types). What do his allies say? 5. Tell me what the individual wants done. That may be different than the literal tweet. For example, you could argue that a pre-midterm immigration tweet from Trump was influenced more on the elections than resolving immigration policy. 6. Examine whether this message is effective. How you define that is up to you, but you need to explain it. 7. Discuss the process. Social media debates on policy in the low-word count world of Twitter are unique. Tell me the good and bad about what you found in your research. What is different about policy “debates” in an online world where no one necessarily listens? How does it impact how policy formation takes place in a democracy if the national policy agenda comes about through Twitter? If debate takes place this way? Do NOT use most of the word count listing tweets. This essay is your discussion of governing via Twitter, not a list of comments.
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