During a summer school of the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, we simulated the election campaign in the USA together with high school-students. They very much enjoyed the change of perspective and we were deeply impressed by political skills these young people already show. The simulation game focused on the functioning of the election campaign preceding of the US-Presidential Elections. At the center of debate there were questions concerning migration, climate change, terrorism, as well as family policy and economy. In order to become nominated as the party’s official candidate the participants had to rally for votes and win primaries in different states. Therefore, good coordination with the campaign advisors, the party leadership and a cunning handling of the media were required. In addition, good financial preparation and moving campaign speeches are indispensable.
Students and High-School-Students. Approx. 15 years and above, previous thematic knowledge not required, similar level of knowledge beneficial.
The most crucial mechanisms of the US-elections were imparted to the participants. They not only got to know the peculiarities of the US-electoral law (primaries, caucuses, Super-PACs etc.) but also got involved with current political issues that play a role in the elections. In addition, due to their participation in the simulation deals, the participants understood the general dynamics of election campaigns in the US. Furthermore, they could test their soft-skills by managing their respective party and by debating the crucial topics of the campaign. Also specific issues such as charisma, money, and momentum play a central role in the simulation game. This way it became clear why even outsider candidates quite often get the chance of becoming a presidential candidate. During the evaluation we critically discussed the pros and cons of the US-Democratic-System.