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September 16, 2020

How are the presidential campaigns responding to crisis?

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video, and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript of the video above, click here

Summary: While the race for president is in full swing, the United States is experiencing a series of crises that are pushing the presidential candidates to respond. These crises include the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented wildfires and other natural disasters, economic uncertainty and protest over police accountability. 

  1. Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:
    • Who is the story about?
    • What are the crises identified that the candidates are responding to differently?
    • When and where are the candidates campaigning?
    • Why do you think the candidates have adopted the positions they have?
    • How are the candidates’ positions different in responding to these crises?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

2. Focus question: What concern do you think both candidates should be addressing more than they currently are in their campaigns?

3. Media literacy: How would you find out more about the candidates positions and goals?

Dig Deeper: The candidates have taken very different positions on the wildfires in the west, with Biden emphasizing the need to address climate change and Trump blaming poor forestry management for the fires. But how does climate change make an annual problem like forest fires worse, and what other factors are at play? Watch this NewsHour segment to explore the question:

Extension activity: 

Conduct some research on past presidential elections in which the way candidates responded to a national crisis at the time played a role in the outcome of the election.


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