A Woman's Place Is In The House...Of Representatives

AP US Government and Politics

Which three states have never had a woman representative in the House or the Senate?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. How did your own state and district do in regards to female representation?

  4. What story does the map tell?

  5. Do you notice any big geographical patterns in the map?

  6. Explain whether this is a happy map or a sad map.

  7. Why do you think these three states have never had any representation?

  8. What is one consequence of never having elected a female for these three states?

  9. Vermont and Mississippi are about as politically and culturally different as any two states could be. Why do you think they both agree on not having female representatives?

  10. It's been said that the gender of the politician isn't important, what matters are the policies they fight for. In the comments section, explain whether you think this statement is true:


Learning Extension

Check out this great article and interactive map at Vox where you can find out about female representation in your own state and ditrict.


Action Extension

Vote for a woman or convince someone else to vote for a woman. Better yet, lobby your political party (Emily's List for liberals, the NFRW for conservatives) to run women for office. Or best of all, if you are a woman, run for office.


Bonus Maps

Least Distrusted Branch of Government

AP US Government and Politics

What is the most trusted branch of the United States government?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What least surprised you about this data?

  3. As of 2017, what is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Over time, what is the big trend you see in this chart?

  5. Why do you think the judiciary is the most trusted branch of government?

  6. Why do you think the legislative branch is even less trusted than the executive branch?

  7. How do you think the behavior of the trump administration will impact the level of public trust in the executive branch over the next few years?

  8. Overall, is this information good news?

  9. How do you think party affiliation impacts trust in the judiciary?*

  10. How do you think party affiliation impacts trust in the executive branch?*

  11. If you ran a business that only about 1/3 of your customers trusted, how long would you stay in business?

  12. If we didn't have separation of powers and checks and balances do you think the American people would trust the government more or less?

  13. we currently have a divided government. How do you think the prevalence of divided government impacts the public's trust in the U.S. government?

  14. What is the most important consequence of our current level of trust in the US government?

  15. What do you imagine levels of trust would be like in a totalitarian country like North Korea?

  16. Let me remind you that although only about 1/3 of Americans trust the legislative branch, they tend to reelect the legislature at about a 90% rate. Explain this paradox:

  17. The most trusted branch is the one we do NOT vote for. What does that say about democracy and the power of voting?

  18. Does that make you think that if we abandoned voting we would have a government we trust?

  19. Is it possible that it is a good thing that we do not tend to trust our government?

  20. What would Thomas Jefferson think about the lack of trust in the U.S. government?

  21. Explain whether you think people trust their state and local governments more than they trust their federal government:

  22. How do you think the fact that we are a multi-ethnic nation impacts our level of trust in the government?

  23. Did you know that 27% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

  24. In the comments section, propose one change in the U.S. government to increase public trust in the government:

Learning Extension

Read the complete results of the Gallup Poll before it's too late!

Action Extension

Contact the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUSofA). Congratulate them on being the most trusted branch. Mail them a certificate of achievement. You can't email them!!!! Really! But you can call or write. Here's their contact information.

Supreme Court of the United States.
1 First Street, NE.
Washington, DC 20543.
Telephone: 202-479-3000.

Bonus Charts*

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Extra-Super-Bonus Chart-o-Rama for no good reason!**

our world in data extension

Executive Orders Phone Home

AP US Government and Politics

Which U.S. President issued the most executive orders ever?

  1. How accurate was your prediction? (Pro Tip: in the future, whenever you are asked to guess which U.S. president did the most of anything just answer FDR!)

  2. What story does this chart tell?

  3. How does President Obama compare to the average number of executive orders issued?

  4. Overall, how do the two major U.S. political parties compare to each other in using executive orders?

  5. What exactly is an executive order?

  6. And why do Presidents issue executive orders instead of getting Congress to pass laws?

  7. Explain where in Article II of the U.S. Constitution (see below) you will find executive orders.

  8. what gives the President the power to issue executive orders?

  9. Why do you think the early U.S. presidents almost never issued executive orders?

  10. Why do you think the use of Executive Orders has decreased so precipitously since the mid-20th century?

  11. What is a consequence of this decrease?

  12. Explain the connection between divided government and the use of executive orders.

  13. Here's a list of all of Barack Obama's executive orders. Explain which one you most agree with and which one you most disagree with:

  14. So far, how many executive orders has Trump signed?

  15. Explain which Trump Executive order you most agree with and which one you most disagree with:

  16. Explain how you think President Trump will compare to other presidents in the use of executive orders.

  17. What can President Trump do to any President Obama Executive Orders he disagrees with?

  18. In Federalist no. 70, Alexander Hamilton argues for a strong executive leader, as provided for by the Constitution, as opposed to the weak executive under the Articles of Confederation. He asserts, “energy in the executive is the leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks…to the steady administration of the laws, to the protection of property…to justice; [and] to the security of liberty….” What do you think ALexander Hamilton (The 10 dollar
    Founding father without a father…Got a lot farther by working a lot harder, by being a lot smarter…By being a self-starter, by 14 they placed him in charge of a trading charter
    ) would say about the use of executive orders?

  19. In the comment section below, explain the general effect you believe that executive orders have on the U.S. political system:


Learning Extension

Watch this!


 

Action Extension

Now that you know a little bit more about how executive orders work, Contact President Trump recommending an issue or topic you'd like him to issue or rescind an executive order on:

Our WOrld In Data Extension

Polarization Nation

AP US Government & Politics

How often do House members from the president's party vote with the president?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this chart tells?

  3. What is one reason for party polarization in the House?

  4. What is one consequence of party polarization in the House?

  5. In 1958, a House Democrat was just about as likely as not to vote with Republican President Eisenhower. Why has party loyalty in House voting changed over the past 6 decades?

  6. Overall, is this hyper-party polarization good or bad news?

  7. How different do you think these numbers are in the Senate?

  8. If the trends depicted in this chart continue, how often will party members vote against their president by the year 2020?

  9. If you were a Republican House member from Arkansas, what incentives would influence you to vote with the president's party.

  10. What is the overall effect of this hyper-party loyalty on the American political system?

  11. What would be one change that we could make to the US electoral system that would lower political partisanship in the House?

  12. Can you think of any bill where your own House Representative crossed party lines and voted against their party?

  13. Do you believe that Prince wrote a song called Political Party Polarization Like it's 1999 or is that fake news?

  14. Party polarization sounds sort of like winterizing your political party. Do you agree?

  15. how could Trump's (or any president’s) approval ratings affect party loyalty in the House?

  16. Would the chart above make James “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition” Madison, author of Federalist No. 51 happy?


Learning Extension

Read this fantabulous 538 analysis of party polarization.


Action Extension

Research your Senator or House member and find out how often they vote with the president. Are they with the president

100-80% Trumpier than Trump

79-60% Super-TrumpY

59-40% Trump Friendly

39-20% Anti-Trump

19-00% Trump-Hater

Contact your House Member and ask them how many times they have crossed party lines in a House vote, and under what circumstances they would cross party lines in the future. Share their response with class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Graduating from Electoral College

What portion of Democrats say we should amend the Constitution so the candidate who receives the most votes wins?

  1. Identify one trend in the data.

  2. What is the most important cause of that trend?

  3. Describe how party identification impacts opinion on abolishing the electoral college:

  4. What is the best explanation for that difference?

  5. Describe how residency in a battleground state (swing state) impacts opinion on abolishing the electoral college:*

  6. What is the best explanation for that difference?

  7. If Congress votes to amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College what portion of U.S. states would have to ratify the Amendment for it to pass?

  8. A majority of Americans want to abolish the electoral college. Considering the data from the chart and the difficulties of the Amendment process, do you think it is likely that the U.S. will amend the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College?

  9. In what way does the Amendment process reflect federalism?

  10. Hypothetically, could we amend the Constitution to abolish the Constitution?

  11. The 2000 election and the 2016 election were won by the candidate who got the least popular votes. Did that impact the results of the poll?

  12. Would you prefer to amend the Constitution so the candidate who receives the most votes wins, or do you prefer to keep the current system so the candidate who wins the Electoral College vote wins?

  13. Based on the data above and what you know about the American political system. In a scenario where Democrats gain a supermajority in the House and the Senate. Describe what Republicans could do to lessen the likelihood of an Amendment to abolish the Electoral College?

  14. The Constitution has only been amended 17 times since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Make a claim about whether the Framers of the Constitution were more interested in a participatory or a elite democracy.

  15. Take ten seconds and draw the electoral college. I know, I know: you aren’t an artist, this isn’t AP Studio Art, You’re hangry. I get it. But really, this will really, Really, Really help you remember the concept of The Electoral College - I promise. Take ten seconds and draw The Electoral College. I’m not going to take this up for a grade, Tweet it to all your friends. Just draw. It can be stick figures, or big blocks and shapes, or totally abstract-it doesn’t matter. Now that you’ve drawn, take a second and look at your masterpiece. That’s it. Really. Now you’ve got The Electoral College in Your long term memory - right where we want it! Thank you for playing.

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Action Extension

Contact your U.S. House Representative, let them know what you think about the Electoral College, and tell them what you’d like them to do about it?

Separated at Birth Politician Extension (Disney Style)


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Tweeter-in-Chief

AP US Government and Politics

Who has more Twitter followers: LeBron James, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or The New York Times?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the big story this data tells?

  4. How much has Trump's Twitter following increased over the past 2 years?

  5. Do you think anyone in the universe has more Twitter followers than Donald Trump?*

  6. Did more people vote for Trump in 2016 or follow Trump on Twitter?**

  7. Do you think that Twitter has been overall good or bad for America?

  8. What impact does the Trump Twitter account have on US and global politics? 

  9. What overall impact does social media have on US politics?

  10. Jimmy Carter once said that as president he preferred the power of the bully pulpit to the power of the veto. Do you think he was right to say this?

  11. Do you think Trump would agree with Carter?

  12. What does Article II of the U.S. Constitution say about the president's power and the use of Twitter?

  13. If the Framers rewrote the U.S. Constitution (don't worry, they aren't planning to) do you think they might trade in the mandatory State-of-the-Union Address for mandatory Tweeting?

  14. Counterfactual time. Imagine the Trump candidacy or presidency without Twitter. How do things change?

  15. The kinds of things that Donald Trump regularly tweets out would doom almost any other politician. Explain how he gets away with his Tweets:

  16. Marshall McLuhan, the late-great media thinker wrote that, "the medium is the message." What do you think he meant by that and how does that relate to the Twitter account of @realDonaldTrump?

  17. Who do you think is @thefakedonaldtrump ?

  18. Facebook and Twitter have banned users for racist and inflammatory comments. Do you believe Twitter should ban @realDonaldTrump ?

  19. Barack Obama has even more Twitter followers than Trump. If those two men ran against each other for president (they can't - 22nd Amendment!) who do you think would win?

  20. If Abraham Lincoln had a Twitter account what would his handle be?

  21. Rewrite the U.S. Constitution as a Tweet:

*Learning Extension

Check out the list of the people with the most Twitter followers and also Article II of the U.S. Constitution below.

Action Extension

Tweet @realDonaldTrump and ask him if he would prefer the power of the veto or the power of Twitter? Share your experience in class or online.

**2016 presidential vote total

Clinton 65,853,516

Trump 62,984,825

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Not So Supreme Court

AP US Government and Politics

Do more Americans have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court?

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. What trend do you see in the chart?

  4. List two explanations for this trend:

  5. What is a consequence of this trend?

  6. If this current trend continues, when will the Court's unfavorable ratings surpass its favorable ratings?

  7. 62 % of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the Court, while only 33 % of Republicans do. Considering that before Justice Scalia's death, 5 of the 9 Justices were Republican appointees, and the Supreme Court Chief Justice was appointed by Republican, George W. Bush, what explains this partisan divide?

  8. How do you think Donald Trump's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh has affected American's opinions of the Supreme Court?

  9. How did Americans' feelings about the U.S. Supreme Court impact the 2016 elections?

  10. Explain one way the declining popularity of the Supreme Court does not impact the court.

  11. Explain one way the declining popularity of the Supreme Court does impact the court.

  12. In the comments section, describe your opinion of the Supreme Court:


Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew Report on American views of the Supreme Court.


Action Extension

John Roberts is the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice. Contact him and explain one thing he could do to improve the favorability of the U.S. Supreme Court:

Supreme Court With Dogs Extension

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Women in Congress

AP US Government and Politics

Is there a higher percentage of women in the US House or the US Senate?

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How wildly inaccurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this chart tells?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this trend?

  5. Is this trend good or bad news?

  6. What about the way we elect members of the House and the Senate explains the difference in the gender makeup of the two chambers?

  7. If you were to extend the trends from this chart, what percentage of the two houses would you predict will be female by 2040?

  8. If the gender diversity of Congress is increasing so rapidly, why do you think the current administration's cabinet is the least diverse in the past 30 years?

  9. What is one policy that you think would change if the gender of the US congress more accurately reflected the population?

  10. Why do you think Americans are reluctant to vote for women?

  11. When women run for office, they tend to win. Why do you think that is?

  12. In terms of gender parity, how do you think the US Congress compares to other countries around the world?

  13. Of the 20 women in the senate, 14 are Democrats, 6 are Republican. Of the 88 women in the House, 65 are Democrats, and 23 are Republican. Why do you think there is a party gender disparity?

  14. Are you represented in either the Senate or the House by a woman?

  15. What state do you think has the highest percentage of female representatives?


Learning Extension

Read this interesting article: When Women Run They Tend To Win.


Action Extension

Research the gender of all the US House and Senate members from your state. Share your research in class or on line. Remind leaders of both parties, that when they run, women tend to win, and urge them to recruit women to run for office.


Bonus Charts

Midterm POTUS Popularity Contest

AP US Government and Politics

How much do POTUS approval ratings impact midterm elections?

Charles Franklin

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the data tell?

  3. Why do you think that presidential approval ratings impact congressional elections?

  4. According to Gallup Polling, Donald Trump currently has an approval rating of around 40%. If Trump's approval rating remains constant, according to the data above, approximately how many House seats will the Republican Party lose?

  5. Evaluate the following statement by explaining what is incorrect about it. "When I vote in a midterm election, I am voting for a member of congress, not the president."

  6. According to the chart above, what year had the biggest midterm election loss for the president's party?

  7. What is a midterm election and why do we have midterm elections?

  8. Imagine there is a proposal to hold US elections every four years. The term of the POTUS would remain at 4 years, the term of the US House would be 4 years, and the Senate term would be 8 years. Explain whether you think this would be a good idea.

  9. How much of an influence do you think Donald Trump will have on the 2018 midterm elections?

  10. Some critics refer to America as perpetually voting. Is that true?

  11. Is that good?

  12. Why does Donald Trump have such a low approval rating?

  13. Do you think there is anything he will be able to do about his dismal approval ratings?*

  14. Imagine that Donald Trump's approval ratings remain basically constant. How will that affect his ability to pass legislation in a Republican majority House and Senate?

  15. If you could vote, how much do you imagine that Donald Trump will influence your voting decisions in the 2018 election?

  16. Regardless of approval ratings, what tends to happen to the party of the POTUS in midterm elections?*

  17. What are some aspects of the US electoral system that will keep Trump's unpopularity from hurting Republicans too much in the midterm elections?

Learning Extension

538 is already writing about the drag Donald Trump will be on Republican campaigns in 2018. Check it out.

Action Extension

Contact the White House and explain one thing the POTUS could do to improve his approval rating.

Bonus Chart*

Bonus Chart**

Faith On The Hill With The 115th Congress

US Government and Politics

What percent of the 115th Congress identifies as Christian?

Pew Research Center

US Government and Politics
 

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this information?

  3. How does the percent of Christians in Congress compare to the percent of Christians in the US?

  4. What do you think explains that difference?

  5. What is a consequence of that difference?

  6. What is one policy that someone who identifies as a Christian would probably support that someone who identifies as non-religious would probably not support?

  7. Which religious group is the most over represented in Congress?

  8. Why do you think that is?

  9. Explain which party you think is more likely to have representatives who are Christian.

  10. What religious or non-religious group is the most underrepresented in Congress?

  11. Why do you think that is?

  12. There are three Buddhists in Congress. What?

  13. What is one question you have about this data?

  14. Explain what type of districts and states you imagine the non-Christian members of Congress are most likely to be from:

  15. Explain what year you imagine we will elect our first openly non-Christian president:

  16. What would be one specific difference in US policy if non-religious Americans were over represented in Congress?

  17. Is this all good news?

  18. Explain the mechanics of how our political system tends to reward Christians more highly than any other group in government:

  19. How do you think the percent of Congress who identify themselves as Christian has changed over the past half century?*

  20. How do you predict it will change over the next half century?*

*Bonus Chart for Questions 18-19 below:


Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew Report on the religious demographics of the 115th Congress.


Action Extension

Contact or research your U.S. House of Representatives Member or one of your U.S. Senators to find out what their faith is (or isn't) and how that influences their voting and policy choices. Share your research with class or on social media.


Bonus Bonus Charts!