National Battleground—a combined section, selected topic course in political science, taught by Dr. John Green and Gerald Austin—examines contemporary campaigning and electioneering going on across the United States. The class overall is a hands on, first look approach to campaigns and elections.
Offered each fall and spring semester, National Battleground takes a class trip to follow and engage in politics of the moment—such as Mayoral, Governor, and Presidential races. Past class trips have included Louisville, New York City, and Washington D.C.
Most recently, National Battleground traveled to New Hampshire, where students both learned about the historical nature of New Hampshire primary politics and were given a crash course in all things New Hampshire.
New Hampshire is a litmus test for Presidential candidates. The first in the nation to hold a primary, New Hampshire serves as an early indicator of the political winds of the entire country. This being said, New Hampshire voters take great pride in this and therefore do not take this lightly. In fact, the average voter there doesn’t make up their mind on a candidate until about four or five times of being polled and canvassed. Moreover, it is not uncommon for Presidential candidates to visit homes and have a one on one conversation with a voter—as this is a traditional expectation of candidates traveling through the state. Overall, it can be said that candidates who do not fare well there will not win the White House.
Over the course of the trip, students met with various experts in all things New Hampshire politics, including both the Democratic and Republican chairman’s, an alumnus of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics MAP program who consults currently in the state, and a professor of political science at Saint Anselm College. Additionally, students were able to canvass and contribute to campaign efforts with the campaign of their liking.
This upcoming spring semester National Battleground is taking a class trip to South Carolina to observe the primary. For more information on upcoming trips students are advised to contact Janet Bolois at the Ray C. Bliss Institute, located in Olin Hall 325.