Declaration of Independents

AP US Government and Politics

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Are there more Democrats, Republicans or Independents in the United States?

Pro Tip: Think hard.

  1. You are wrong! How accurate was your silly prediction?

  2. Identify one trend in party identification over the past 24 years?

  3. Explain whether this is good or bad news.

  4. What is one cause of that trend?

  5. What is one consequence of that trend?

  6. Based on the trend from the chart, what will this party affiliation breakdown look like in 2040?

  7. There are more Independents than either Democrats or Republicans. about what portion of Congress are Independents?

  8. Given that there are more Independents than Democrats or Republicans, what are two reasons that Independents rarely win election to congress?

  9. Explain whether it would be more likely for an independent senator or an independent President to be elected to office?

  10. What portion of Independents are truly Independent and do not actually lean toward one party or the other?

  11. What is the opposite of progress?*

  12. What portion of statistics are made up on the spot?*

  13. Based solely on the table above, which party would you bet would win the 2020 presidential election?

  14. Based on what you know about US politics, explain why the bet you made in the last question might be wrong?

  15. In what way are Independents demographically different from Democrats or Republicans?

*Congress; 47%

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Read the Pew Report: Political Independents: Who They Are, What They Think before it’s too late!

Action Extension

Here is a list of some American Independent parties. Maybe you like the Libertarian Party, Green Party, Prohibition Party, Pirate Party, the Light Party or the Modern Whig Party. Share your favorite one with your friends or enemies in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

The Wealth Voting Gap

AP US Government and Politics

What income group is most likely to vote in the US?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the big story this data tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one consequence of this?

  6. Is this good news?

  7. What are two reasons that wealthier people tend to vote more than other groups?

  8. What are two reasons that poorer people tend to vote less than other groups?

  9. It would be fair to say that the more money you have the more likely you are to vote. What other generalizations can we make about U.S. voting patterns or trends?

  10. How did this information affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election?

  11. How will this information affect the outcome of the 2018 midterm election?

  12. What party do you think the more wealthy voters tend to support? Some would argue that it is better that wealthier people vote more than poorer people. What would you say about this?

Learning Extension

Read this article in DEMOS about why the voting gap matters

Action Extension

In the U.S. we have a two-step voting process. 1)Register to vote. 2)Vote. Take care of step 1 at your school. Follow these instructions from the non-partisan AAUW and hold a voter registration drive. Share your results in class or online.

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Reapportionment to be

Based on current population trends, what state will gain the most congressional seats in 2020?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the map tell?

  3. What geographical regions of the United States are losing congressional seats?

  4. What geographical regions of the United States are gaining congressional seats?

  5. Based on these geographical trends, what changes might we expect in U.S. politics?

  6. What mechanism determines how much representation each state gets?

  7. Is there a maximum or minimum number of U.S. congressional seats a state can have?

  8. How do we determine the U.S. population?

  9. How often do we determine the U.S. population?

  10. Nebraska has a unicameral legislature!!!!! Yes, it's true. How would U.S. politics and policy change if we had a unicameral legislature with representation based only on the population of each state? 

  11. How does reapportionment differ from redistricting?

  12. Because of the changes in the 2010 census most of the lost U.S. House seats came from Democratic leaning states (see below). Do you think the 2020 changes will be better for Republicans or Democrats?

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Learning Extension

Read this story on reapportionment in the Economist.

Action Extension

The United States Congress has oversees the U.S. Census Bureau. Contact your U.S.  Representative and tell them whether you think there should be a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Share your results in class.

Wealth and Religion

As nations get richer, what tends to happen to their level of religiosity?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big picture this chart paints?

  3. If the US religious levels were similar to other wealthy countries, what countries would we be more religiously like?

  4. Why do you think wealth tends to decrease national religiosity?

  5. Is that true for people you know?

  6. Why do you think the US is so much more religious than most other wealthy countries?

  7. What is one consequence of America's relative high level of religiosity?

  8. How does this information personally affect you?

  9. Do you see any global geographical trends regarding countries and religion?

  10. How did religion impact the 2016 presidential election?

  11. In the comments section, describe what a US election would be like if the US were only as religious as a country like France or Japan:

Take our survey!

Learning Extension

Read this fascinating article by the good folks at Pew comparing global levels of religion.

Action Extension

It's survey time. Ask ten people you know: "is religion very important in your life?" Tally their beliefs to see if they are more or less religious than the average American. Report on your findings to class or on social media.

Child well-being around the World

Compared to all other countries, how do American children rank in terms of well-being?

This data courtesy of UNICEF

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What's the big story in this chart?

  3. What questions do you have about the chart?

  4. According to the data, what's the best place for children in the world?

  5. According to the data, how does the US compare to other countries in terms of child well-being?

  6. In what child well-being category is the US worst in?

  7. Why do you think the US is relatively such a bad place for children?

  8. What policy could the US government enact to improve child well-being?

  9. How do you imagine the Trump administration will impact U.S. child well-being?

  10. In the comments section, explain your reaction to the fact that children are better off in Poland, Estonia, Slovakia and Greece than in the US:

Action Extension

Want to do something about this? Visit UNICEF

Learning Extenstion

Read the UNICEF report on global child well-being