Classroom guide: The presidential primary order
This classroom guide focuses on the history and impact of New Hampshire's presidential primary, including the debate over who should vote first and alternative primary orders.
For an activity, have each student write a proposed order for the state primaries and provide three arguments why this order would select the best presidential candidates. Then partner students and have them explain their methods to each other. After that, have each student take their partner’s method and provide three critiques of why the method would not select the best presidential candidates.
Alternatively, have each student choose the name of a state out of a hat. For homework, have them briefly research the state and provide three reasons why the state should go first in the presidential primary process and three reasons why the state should not go first. They may wish to consider:
- Average voter turnout in the state
- Racial and ethnic demographics of the state
- Partisan makeup of the state
- Size of the state
- Educational attainment
- Urban/rural character of the state
Both videos are 14 minutes total. Teachers may select any combination of the resources linked above to include in the classroom or assign as homework.
- Rights and responsibilities
- SS:CV:8:4.1: Describe and analyze ways Americans can effectively participate in civic and political life at the local, state, and federal levels, e.g., problem solving, public engagement, or voting. (Themes: A: Conflict and Cooperation, B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, J: Human Expression and Communication)
- SS:CV:12:4.1: Demonstrate responsible practices within the political process, e.g., registering to vote or taking civic action. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement)
- Political foundations and development
- SS:HI:8:1.2: Describe the role New Hampshire voters have played in our nation's presidential primaries and elections. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, I: Patterns of Social and Political Interaction)
- SS:HI:12:1.1: Account for the rise and fall of political parties and movements and their impact, e.g., the Whig Party or the Progressive Movement. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, I: Patterns of Social and Political Interaction)
- Places and regions
- SS:GE:8:2.1: Identify the types of regions, e.g., formal, functional, or vernacular regions of which the local community is a part. (Themes: C: People, Places and Environment)
- SS:GE:12:2.1: Discuss the changing meaning and significance of place, e.g., London as a Roman outpost in Britain or as the center of a global empire in the 1800s. (Themes: E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change, F: Global Transformation)
- Why is the presidential primary order important?
- Has NH always gone first?
- What would a regional primary schedule look like?
- What would an "inverse pyramid" primary schedule look like?
- What would a rotating primary schedule look like?
- What would a national primary look like?
- How would you schedule presidential primaries, and why?