Release or Not?

What percent of Americans think that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report should be released to the American public?

  1. How accurate was your incorrect prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this data?

  3. What is the big story the data tell?

  4. What is one consequence of this?

  5. Explain whether you personally think the Mueller report should be released to the American public.

  6. In a democracy, one would think that if 84% of people supported a certain idea or policy that it would happen. Explain whether you personally think the Mueller report will be released to the American public.

  7. Describe the partisan impact on the results of the survey.

  8. Typically, Democrats and Republicans agree on almost nothing. Explain why Republicans and Democrats are mostly united in their opinion of the Mueller report being made public.

  9. What group of Americans is least supportive of the Mueller report being released to the American public?

  10. What group of Americans is most supportive of the Mueller report being released to the American public?

  11. What is the most persuasive argument you have heard for why the report should be released?

  12. What is the most persuasive argument you have heard for why the report should NOT be released?

  13. How has the Mueller investigation impacted your view of the American government and political system?

  14. What branch of government is the Department of Justice a part of?

  15. Who hires and fires the head of the Justice Department, the Attorney General?

  16. In what way is the Mueller investigation an example of checks and balances and in what way is it NOT an example?

  17. How has the Mueller investigation impacted your view of the Trump presidency and the office of the president?

  18. In recent years, many political observers have made the claim that the American presidency was becoming weaker. Based on your knowledge of the Mueller investigation and the American political system, how would you respond to that argument.

  19. In Federalist No. 70 (1788), Alexander Hamilton (The ten-dollar Founding Father without a father/Got a lot farther by workin’ a lot harder/
    By bein’ a lot smarter/By bein’ a self-starter/
    By fourteen, they placed him in charge of a trading charter)
    argues for a strong executive leader, as provided for by the Constitution, as opposed to the weak executive under the Articles of Confederation. Hamilton asserts, “energy in the executive is the leading character in the definition of good government.” What would someone like Hamilton who wanted a strong executive think about an investigation of the president?

  20. How do most Americans feel about the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation?*

  21. How do demographics impact Americans’ opinion on the Mueller investigation?*

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, was supposed to decide whether President Trump had committed a crime. Why did the attorney general, William Barr, do it instead? Listen to this Mueller Report episode of The Daily

Action Extension

Contact the Department of Justice and share your thoughts about whether the Mueller Report should be released.

Our World in Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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Money in the Tank

Do most Americans think that the amount of money the U.S. spends on defense is too much, too little, or just about right?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Identify one trend from the chart.

  3. Explain the cause of that trend.

  4. What is one consequence of that trend?

  5. If most Americans believe that we spend too much money on Defense, why did Donald Trump just request a nearly 5% increase in U.S. defense spending?

  6. How much money did Donald Trump request for the 2019 defense budget?*

  7. How do you think that compares to what the average American thinks the U.S. spends on the military?

  8. How much do you think partisanship impacts opinion about defense spending? (see below)

  9. Explain your opinion about the appropriate level of American defense spending.

  10. Describe the parts of the government that are involved in setting defense spending budgets.

  11. What does Article II of the U.S. Constitution say about the president’s military role?

  12. What does Article I of the U.S. Constitution say about the role of the Congress in defense?

  13. Explain whether a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist would be more likely to support a strong federal military.

  14. Explain what position the following ideologies would most likely take regarding the 2019 military budget proposal:

  • Socialist

  • Liberal

  • Conservative

  • Libertarian

*$727 billion

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Read the Gallup report on Americans’ views on defense spending.

Action Extension

Contact your member of congress and let them know what you think about our nation’s current level of defense spending?

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

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Our Totally Random Chart that doesn’t really fit Anywhere Extension

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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

Census So White

What ethnic group is most concerned that the answers they provide to the 2020 Census will be used against them?

  1. How wrong was your assumption?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. What story does this data tell?

  4. How accurately does this data reflect your own story?

  5. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. Describe precisely (feel free to quote it) who the U.S. constitution says should be counted:

  6. more than $800 billion in annual federal funds are allocated based in part on Census population data. That’s a lot of money! What else is the Census data used for anyway?

  7. The Census question many Americans are worried about asks, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" Why would this question worry anyone?

  8. Of all ethnic and racial groups, Explain why Asians are the most concerned and Whites the least concerned about census data being used against them.

  9. The Census Bureau expects that 630,000 households may not complete the 2020 Census because of a potential question asking about respondents' citizenship question. Why would the CENSUS BUREAU INTENTIONALLY ask a question they know will SKEW the results of the SURVEY data?

  10. What U.S. Government department is the Census Bureau part of?

  11. One expert predicts that as many as 24 million people would not be counted as a result of adding this citizenship question. HOw could thE undercount of the actual population impact things like public health and education?

  12. Federal law strictly prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing information with organizations like ICE, the FBI, or Border Patrol. Obviously, this is not comforting enough to the many people who are deciding not to answer the census. Why do you think they feel this fear of the Census AND THE GOVERNMENT?

  13. The Trump administration is locked in a legal battle with dozens of states, cities and other groups that do not want the question to appear on forms for the constitutionally mandated head count of every person living in the U.S. Why would so many states and cities be opposed to this question?

  14. Has the census ever asked about citizenship status before*?

  15. How will the census citizenship question affect you?

  16. Do you know anyone who has concerns about filling out the census?

  17. Here is a claim: The census is supposed to count everyone who is here, and this question will make AN ACCURATE count unlikely. Respond to THE VALIDITY OF THAt claim using your knowledge of the US political system.

  18. Who decides whether the use of a citizenship question on the census is constitutional?

  19. If you were the president (you’re not), explain whether you would include the citizenship question on the Census?

  20. Based on the map below*, do you think the census will impact red and blue stats equally?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Look at this online copy of the new census.

Action Extension

Tweet the Census Bureau at @uscensusbureau and let them know what you think about the citizenship question.

Our World In Data Extension

Trump's "A Team" Turnover

How much turnover has there been on Trump’s “ A-Team” also known as the Executive Office of the President?

The chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president.

The chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president.

To provide the President with the support needed to govern effectively, the Executive Office of the President (EOP) was created in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The EOP has responsibility for tasks ranging from communicating the President’s message to the American people to promoting our trade interests abroad. Overseen by the White House Chief of Staff, the EOP has traditionally been home to many of the President’s closest advisors.

  1. How amazingly accurate was your prediction?

  2. How does turnover in Trump’s Executive Office of the President (EOP) compare to that of recent presidents?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of so much turnover at the top of Trump’s organization?

  5. What exactly is the Executive Office of the President??

  6. Is there anything setting up or laying out the powers of the executive office of the President in the U.S. Constitution?

  7. Is there anything setting up or laying out the powers of the cabinet in the U.S. Constitution?

  8. What are the different offices within the Executive Office of the President?

  9. Compare the EOP and the Cabinet in terms of their confirmation process and duties?

  10. What has the turnover rate been like for the Trump cabinet?*

  11. In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Freaking Hamilton writes about the executive freaking branch. Hamilton writes that, “A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.” What do you think Hamilton would say about whether the Constitution would allow an Executive Office of the President?

  12. Considering Hamilton’s Federalist No. 70, and the high level of turnover in the Trump Executive Office of the President and Cabinet. Make a claim about whether Hamilton would consider the Trump administration enfeebled.

  13. Do the members of the EOP and the Cabinet get paid during a shutdown?

  14. My wife owns a bakery. She likes turnovers!* Do you personally think turnover in the federal government is a good thing?

Visual Extension*

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Overseen by the White House Chief of Staff, the EOP has traditionally been home to many of the President’s closest advisors.

The following entities exist within the Executive Office of the President:

Learning Extension

You can find out the salary of every member of the Executive Office of the President - such as John Bolton - right here in the 2018 Report!

Action Extension

Contact any member of the Executive Office of the President and ask them what they think about the high level of turnover in the Trump Administration.

EOP Salary Extension

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