What percentage of Americans can name the political party of their U.S. House representative?
How accurate was your prediction?
What most surprised you about this?
Is this good news (keep in mind that a coin toss will yield a correct answer 50% of the time)?
For whom is this good news?
What is the big story this chart tells?
Why do you think that is?
What is one consequence of this?
How do demographics impact Americans' ability to name the party of their representative?
How do you think this information impacts Congress?
Does the knowledge of the average American represented in this chart make this country more or less democratic (with a little d)?
Describe how American politics would change if almost all Americans could name the party of their representative?
Can you name your representative's party? (This handy link will tell you the answer!)
Can you even name your Representative?
Overall, just about 1/4 of Americans cannot even name the PARTY of their Congressperson. Explain whether this group should be allowed to vote.
Overall, just about 1/4 of Americans cannot even name the PARTY of their Congressperson. Explain whether you want this group to vote.
Overall, just about 1/4 of Americans cannot even name the PARTY of their Congressperson. Predict whether this group does actually vote.
There is a famous quote which goes something like this: “Half of Americans don’t vote, half of Americans don’t follow the news. Let’s hope it’s the same half!” Respond to this quote.
Why do you think Republicans are just a little better at knowing the party of their representatives than Democrats are?
Explain how this data from the chart would be different 200 years ago and 100 years from now.
The Framers of the Constitution did not use the word democracy a single time in the U.S. Constitution (or the word, God). How do you think they would feel about the lack of basic knowledge demonstrated in this chart?
Read about how a coin is just as good as an American citizen at naming the party of the U.S. representative for a district!
It's time for an experiment. You should already know this, but if you don't, after you stop feeling bad about yourself, use this nifty link to find out who is the representative of your district and what party they are in. Get out a coin. Heads Republican, tails Democrat. Flip the coin to determine which party the representative of your district is a member of. Did you do better than the coin? Now try this trick on any ten people. Compare the results of the coin with the people. Share your results in class or online.
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