The PBS Democracy Project has drawn on some of the best sources on American
politics--integrating them with one another, making them as user-friendly as
possible, then augmenting them with first-rate original features. There are a
number of ways to customize the content to fit your interests and your state
and local races. There are also a number of interactive features that break
down the anatomy of a political campaign in clear and informative ways. Not to
be missed is their "Voting in America" timeline, and "What do you think?" pro
and con pieces on hot topics. The site also offers a comprehensive guide to
all PBS election programming-- on the air, and on the internet.
Funded by the non-profit Markle Foundation, and composed of a consortium of the
17 largest internet sites and news organizations, WebWhiteBlue is an experiment
in expanding democracy in the internet age. The centerpiece of the site is a
"rolling cyber debate" where the candidates answer questions from
correspondents around the country. The site also monitors candidate campaign
sites, offering the best and most topical highlights. Their selection of the
best election year web features might be the most comprehensive and finely
tuned such list on the web.
Watch, listen, or read text versions of statements by candidates at all levels
of government all around the country--search by issue or state, or compare
candidates in a head-to-head format. Also, you'll find an extensive collection
of statements by issue advocates on all manner of policy questions. Several
other features rate special attention: an online version of the bible of
political professionals, The Almanac of American Politics (updated for 2000);
and an up-to-date collection of campaign ads from races nationwide.
Project Vote Smart has compiled the nation's most comprehensive database of
"all known possible and declared candidates for the office of President of the
United States." More than 300 candidates from over 40 different parties are
considered here, including anyone who has done one or more of the following:
publicly announced his/her candidacy; filed with the FEC, formed an Exploratory
Committee, been drafted by others, or otherwise made themselves known to
Project Vote Smart. The site also features: a library of public statements by
all candidates on all issues; a National Political Awareness Test to help
understand's candidate's positions; voting records; and campaign finance
As part of the "Democracy in Action" project at George Washington University,
this site features the most comprehensive and up-to-date archive of political
ads from the 2000 campaign. Some are available in streaming video; all are
shown in text versions with a brief analysis and, often, still frames from the
ad itself. Included here are ads from the Bush and Gore camps, as well as
"issue" ads sponsored by the national party committees.
· Classic Political Ads
America's 43rd president will join a long line leaders. Throughout
1999, C-Span carried out an ambitious, pioneering project to document the lives
of all of the American presidents--profiling them, interviewing historians, and
visiting the historic birthplaces, burial places, and presidential libraries.
The entire extraordinary series is available online, with a great deal of
additional material unique to the web. C-Span also asked a blue-ribbon panel
of historians and presidential scholars to rate the presidents--the results are
often predictable, but sometimes surprising and always thought provoking.
What did Benjamin Harrison, America's 23rd president, actually sound
like? In what may be the oldest known recording of any US President,
Harrison's voice was recorded on an Edison wax cylinder around 1889. This is
just one of many treasures from collection compiled by Michigan State
University which are available in streaming audio on the web.
Want to know more about how candidates are using the web in their campaigns?
Not sure whether to trust information from for-profit political web sites?
NetElection.org provides some of the deepest analysis of these questions--and
many others--of any group in the country. Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts,
and run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of
Pennsylvania, Net Election.org is among the leaders in analyzing American
politics in the internet age. Use the site to compare features on the
different candidate sites--are some not offering information that most others
are? Also read the latest research on the effect of the web on the outcome of
elections at all levels of American politics.
Designed "to study and invigorate the American electoral process," the
Vanishing Voter Project took as a starting point some grim facts from the 1996
presidential election: Less than 50% of registered voters turned out at the
polls; the viewing audiences for the major televised campaign events were near
the lowest ever recorded. Will this trend continue in 2000? Conducted by the
Kennedy School of Government's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics,
and Public Policy, the project has been maintaining a "voter involvement index"
based on answers to four questoins: whether people say they are currently
paying close attention to the campaign, whether they are thinking about the
campaign, talking about it, and following it in the news.
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