One Government, Divisible

Over the next two years the United States will have divided government (Democratic House, Republican presidency). What percent of Americans think that President Trump will be successful at getting his programs enacted over the next two years?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Why do you think most Americans feel that Trump will NOT be successful at enacting his agenda?

  3. How big a partisan divide is there in this data?

  4. How successful do Americans think the Democrats will be at getting their programs enacted over the next two years?

  5. If most Americans think that neither Trump nor the Democrats will be successful at getting things done, what will they expect the government to do until 2020?

  6. What is one consequence of gridlock and government inaction?

  7. Describe two powers in Article I of the U.S. Constitution that allow Congress to thwart the will of the President?

  8. Describe one power the President is given in Article II of the U.S. Constitution that allows him to check the Congress:

  9. What would James Freaking Madison say about the gridlock we are probably going to have in the next Congress?

  10. How successful do you think President Trump will be at getting his programs enacted over the next two years?

  11. In a parliamentary system, there cannot be divided government (the same party necessarily controls both the executive and legislative branches). Do you think the United States would be better off with a system that did not allow for divided government?

  12. Do you think there is any common ground or any programs that both the Democrats and Trump can agree on over the next two years?

  13. Will the fact that the President’s party is in charge of the Senate help President Trump achieve any part of his agenda?

  14. Do most Americans expect partisan relations to get better or worse between the President and the Democrats in Congress?*

  15. The majority of Americans say they approve of the Democratic leadership’s policies and plans more than they approve of Trump. What specific policies do they approve of?*

  16. Based on the data in the charts, do you think Trump will win reelection in 2020?*

  17. If you were an advisor to the Trump administration, what topic would you tell the Trump White House to focus on?*

Visual Extension*




Learning Extension

Think of this as an early Christmas present and read this Pew Research Report on Americans’ views on gridlock!

Action Extension

Nancy Pelosi is the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives and is likely (although not certain) to be the next Speaker of the House. Contact Leader Pelosi and tell her what you think the Democrats should do now that they have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gridlock Extension

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Goat Gridlock is real - Extension

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Divided Government We Fall

Since 1973, How often has the United States Had divided government?

Jonathan Milner     GoPo Pro     *as of 11/9/2018

Jonathan Milner

GoPo Pro

*as of 11/9/2018

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What the heck is divided government, anyway?

  3. Circle all the years on the chart where we have had divided government.

  4. Do we have divided government today?

  5. What is the big story this chart tells?

  6. Why do you think that is?

  7. What is one consequence of our frequently divided government?

  8. Why does the fact that the Democrats had 61 senators in 2009* matter?

  9. Explain whether you think divided government is generally a positive or negative thing.

  10. Do you think the next president, regardless of their party, will likely have a divided government?

  11. In the 19th century we were much less likely to have divided government. Why do you think Americans today are willing to have divided government so often?

  12. What would James Madison think about how often we have had divided government in the past 40 or so years?

  13. Now that Donald J. Trump has to deal with A Democratic House of Representatives, how do you think he will change his approach to governing?

  14. When the new Democratic majority House of Representatives is sworn in next January, what are some powers they could use against President Trump?

  15. What does divided government have to do with Federalist #51?

  16. When we have non-divided government (also called party Government or unity government) government spending increases, year over year, by 3.4%. When we have divided government, year over year government spending increases by 1.5%. Explain the reason for this difference.


Learning Extension

Read this story from Reason, Three Cheers for the return of Divided Government

Action Extension

Contact Nancy Pelosi (likely Speaker of the House) or Donald Trump (likely President) and explain how you would like them to rule during divided government. Share your comments in class or online.

Visual Extension

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