GOVX 000: Presidential Nominations Lab

NOTE: This class is still being designed. Please check back later for more information, and to apply. Applications will open in Fall 2019.


Parties in the United States have a singularly unusual method of selecting their ultimate leaders. The mishmash product of decades of decisions involves party leaders, ordinary voters, campaign donors, media personalities and nearly every other actor of relevance in American politics. More- over, the choice of nominee for the office of president may be even more significant than the choice made in the general election, especially in a polarized politics in which voters will typically choose their party’s candidate. But by opening the process to ordinary voters, both parties limit their ability to control of what has been called “the most important activity of the party.”

This course will explore the nominating system in America from the point of view of political science research. Students will have the opportunity to visit key sites in the process and participate in active research projects related to the nomination process.

Course meets: Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon

A draft syllabus is at this link.

In the field

GOVX 000 will be taking several field trips. Some are optional, but you are expected to attend at least one out-of-town trip to an early contest state (New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada) in January or February and at least one local trip to be scheduled later in the course. The Georgetown Government Department and the College will cover students expenses for one of the early contest trips, as well as the expenses to attend one of the national party conventions over the summer.

For more information on the trips, see here.


Applying for this class.

This class is capped at 12 students, and admission to the class is by application. Please complete the following survey to apply for the class. The application consists of two parts.

Part I: I ask for some background information on you, including your academic performance and your interests. (The survey also asks about your political preferences, but this is to ensure an ideologically diverse pool. Your political views will not affect your chances of getting into the class, nor your grade in the class.) Part I should take about five minutes to complete.

Part II: I ask that you record a 2-3 minute video of yourself discussing the state of the 2020 invisible primary for the Democratic presidential nomination. You can then either upload that video or provide a link to the video.