National politics in the digital era is waged 24/7 on the stump, on TV, online, on Twitter and other social media outposts, and Americans struggle to make sense of the incessant noise. Political commentary writers have an even greater burden. Seemingly by the minute, they are tasked with making quick smart judgments, and communicating those judgments in clear language. English 162 focuses entirely on the daunting art of political commentary writing - and on the challenges that commentary writers face in the era of the blogosphere and Twittersphere. Students will track the news as it unfolds week by week, and, most importantly, write commentary pieces about the news on an online blog created for this course. At a time when Americans are more awash in opinions than ever before, the aim is to master the craft of writing clear, responsible, incisive, substantive, and entertaining point-of-view journalism - and backing it with factual research. The ultimate goal is to successfully develop an “earned voice,” attained via effective writing, effective reporting, and, above all, effective thinking. In addition, prominent guest speakers will discuss their special expertise. And the course will also focus heavily on the early jockeying in both political parties for the 2016 presidential nominations.