Ideology by State

AP Government and Politics

What Ideology is your state?

*If you need a definition of liberal or conservative look no further than right here.

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. In what way did the map characterize your state incorrectly?

  3. What most surprised you about this map?

  4. What least surprised you about this map?

  5. What geographical trends do you see in the map?

  6. Some states are very conservative (Alabama) while others are very liberal (Massachusetts). Why do you think that is?

  7. Because Alabama and Massachusetts are very different, what different policies do you think those states have made?

  8. How closely did state ideology correspond to the outcome of the 2016 presidential election?

  9. Overall, would you say that the US is more liberal, conservative, or just plain average? In the comments section, support your contention with one example or reason:

  10. At one point, North Carolina (the best state ever), Virginia (not), and Kansas were reliably conservative states. What do you think has happened to make them more liberal?

  11. One thing that is certain is change. How different do you think this map will look in 20 years?

  12. What state do you think would most like Honey Boo Boo?

  13. In the comments section, explain what would be best and what would be worst about moving to a state that is diametrically ideologically different from your personal beliefs.

  14. Of all the states, which do you think is the most liberal and the most conservative?*

Learning Extension

Check out this article on Gallup's top ten most conservative and liberal states, along with rankings below*:

Action Extension

Research the political party of the US Senators and US House members from your state. Contact any politicians from your state who are out of line with your state's ideology (as shown in the map above) and advise them on how they should vote on one particular issue that would more closely align them with their state's ideology. You can locate your Representative:

U.S. House of Representatives:

U.S. Senate:

Ideology by Congressional District

Hey, that's Keyboard Cat!

Legalized Discrimination

How many states have LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in K-12 schools?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What word came to your mind when you first read and understood this map?

  3. What story does this map tell?

  4. What patterns do you see in this map?

  5. Why do you think that pattern exists?

  6. If you overlaid the map above with a map showing the political party affiliation by state how would Democratic majority states compare to the states with nondiscrimination policy?

  7. Does your state protect LGBTQ students from discrimination?

  8. What is the most persuasive argument you have heard for why children should be protected from discrimination?

  9. What is the most persuasive argument you have heard for why children should NOT be protected from discrimination?

  10. In 1964 the U.S. Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act which outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and, notably, sex. Why didn’t Congress outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1964?

  11. Why doesn’t the federal legislature outlaw LGBTQ discrimination today?

  12. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, has said the 1964 Civil Rights Act does guarantee protections against sexual orientation discrimination. Do federal agencies have discretion to make decisions about how to enforce laws?

  13. The Trump administration has taken the opposite position from the EEOC, saying that the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and, notably, sex, cannot fairly be read to apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status. What power does the Trump administration have over the EEOC and what can they do if they don’t like the EEOC’s enforcement decisions?

  14. The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees protections from workplace discrimination to gay and transgender people, agreeing to hear a case from New York, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, along with one from Georgia that came to the opposite conclusion, Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618.. Based on what you know about the Supreme Court, why has the court taken on this issue?

  15. How do you think the Supreme Court will rule?

  16. Did you know that the New York case, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, was brought by a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who said he was fired because he was gay. His dismissal followed a complaint from a female customer who had voiced concerns about being tightly strapped to Mr. Zarda during a tandem dive. Mr. Zarda, hoping to reassure the customer, told her that he was “100 percent gay.” He was fired. Mr. Zarda sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and lost the initial rounds. He died in a 2014 skydiving accident, and his estate pursued his case which they won in a recent appeals court ruling.

  17. If you were on the Court (you aren’t) explain how you would rule on this issue?

  18. Explain whether you would make a distinction in your ruling between protection for LGB people and Trans people.

  19. Do you think that the Court’s ruling on these cases will be landmark cases that will be studied by AP U.S. Government students in the future?

  20. What are some groups that might file Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) Briefs in this case?

  21. Why do groups file Amicus Curiae briefs in cases, anyway?

  22. How would a judicial conservative and a judicial activist differ in their approach to this case?

  23. How does this issue illustrate checks and balances?

  24. How does this issue illustrate federalism?

  25. Would you like to live in a world without hypotheticals?

  26. The map below* illustrates laws limiting workplace discrimination by state. How different is this map from the map above?

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read the Vox article, The Supreme Court just took up a set of very big cases on LGBTQ rights, about LGBTQ discrimination in America/

Action Extension

Contact a member of your state legislature and ask them to explain their position on protections for LGBTQ students.

Our World in Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension


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Driving (R)Age

What is the national minimum driving age?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What was the most surprising thing you learned from this map?

  3. What's the minimum driving age in your state?

  4. Why don't we have a national minimum driving age?

  5. What would the typical Anti-Federalist say about whether we should have a national driver’s age? (I know, I know, they are all dead, you’ve never met an Anti-Federalist. Use your IMAGINATION!)

  6. Explain whether the U.S. of A. should have a national minimum driving age?

  7. How do you think accident rates compare in South Dakota (14.3 driving age) and New Jersey (17 driving age)?

  8. How do you think the US compares to the rest of the world in terms of driving age?*

  9. Describe the connection between the data from this map and federalism.

  10. Imagine that the Constitution had not been ratified - ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! and we were still ruled by the Articles Of Confederation -yiiiiiiiikes! How would that change the national discussion of things like driving age, marijuana legalization, same sex marriage?

  11. Imagine, on the other hand, that we lost the American War for Independence and were still ruled by a king who had absolute power: Boooooooooo! How would that change the national discussion of things like driving age, marijuana legalization, same sex marriage?

  12. Would you be willing for your state to raise the driving age by two years if your state also simultaneously lowered the drinking age by two years?

  13. Based on the map, to which state would you most want to move?

  14. Explain whether the U.S. has been moving towards or away from a more powerful federal government, relative to the states. Give one or two examples to support your claim.

  15. Describe how driving age regulations relate to checks and balances.

  16. Let’s say that you wanted to create a national minimum driving age. Describe the steps a bill would have to pass through to make this happen.

  17. Imagine that the national auto insurance coalition wants to create a national driving age. Describe three steps they could take to make this happen.

  18. In the comments section below, write your reaction to news that your state legislature is considering raising the minimum driving age in your state by one year.

*Visual Extension


Learning Extension

States with strict graduated drivers licenses see up to 30% fewer crashes. Read this short report on three Senators who are trying to create a standard national graduated drivers license.

Action Extension

Contact your U.S. Senator and let them know what you think about a national graduated drivers license (GDL)

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

Federal Aid

AP Government and Politics

Which U.S. state relies the most on federal aid?

  1. It's Monday! How accurate was your insanely amazing prediction?

  2. It's still Monday. What surprised you most about this data?

  3. Describe any geographical patterns or trends you see in this data.

  4. How do you explain these patterns?

  5. How much does Mississippi get from the federal government each year as a percent of it's state revenue?

  6. Wow! Are you serious?

  7. States receive money from the federal government to build roads, for example. What is another example of programs for which states receive money from the federal government?

  8. What would you say to the people of Mississippi about this data?

  9. Did you know that it's the first day of the school week? Do you think most people in Mississippi are aware of the data from this chart?

  10. Explain why it is that Mississippi gets almost half of its state revenue from the government.

  11. Block grants and categorical grants are different ways U.S. federal government money flows to the states. Describe how these two types of grants are different.

  12. Explain which type of grant is a better way to allocated money.

  13. Which state gets the lowest percentage of its revenue from the federal government?

  14. Upon seeing this map, a student commented, "Dang, Mr. Milner! I'm moving to Mississippi to get all the government money! Oh, and Happy Monday!!!!" Let's call this student "Ricky Bobby" What would you like to say to Ricky Bobby about whether it would be a good idea to move to a state that gets a lot of federal support, before you punch him in the face.

  15. There is a paradox - for now I'll call it the Talladega paradox - that people from states who hate the government the most rely on it the most. What should we call this paradox? Leave the name for it in the comments section below and we'll send whoever came up with the winning paradox name an official GoPo certificate of appreciation and an underwhelming prize!

  16. What emoji would best sum up the feelings of a person in Mississippi towards the federal government?

  17. What on earth does any of this have to do with federalism? Pro-tip: think about it.

  18. What wise, incisive, and all around smart comment do you think either a conservative or a liberal would make about this map?

  19. Besides, glad to be alive, how does this map make you feel?

  20. How does party affiliation and voting results in the 2016 election relate to this map? (see below)*

  21. How different do you think this map was 100 years ago? 1 trillion years ago?

  22. Why do you think that people who get the most from the government hate the government the most?

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read the Tax Foundation article about federal money and the states. Then check out this updated Wallet Hub website chock full of great charts and graphs about this topic - more than you ever thought existed on this topic. But before you delete the Wallet hub link and delete your facebook account, just think about how amazing this information is and what a fascinating topic of conversation this could be at the prom!

Action Extension

Contact the Honorable Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi and tell him to chill with taking all our money and then hating’ on us.

Our World in Data Extension

GoPoPro Loves Data!

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

Hipster Bear

Hipster Bear


AP US Government and Politics

Who represents more people, a US Senator from Wyoming or a Los Angeles County Supervisor?

  1. Happy Friday! How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Did you know that today is friday?!?!?!?! What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the BIG PICTURE this data paints?

  4. What emoji would best sum up the meaning of this data?

  5. Explain the connection between this data and federalism. (PRo tip: federalism is that thing you studied at the beginning of the year.)

  6. While Los Angeles County Supervisors represent more people than a Wyoming Senator, (or, in fact than Senators from Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont), explain whether political power is based solely on the number of people a politician represents?

  7. What are some powers that county commissioners (supervisors) have in your county?

  8. What are some powers U.S. Senators have that L.A. County Supervisors (or most supervisors, in general) don't?

  9. Explain whether you would rather be a U.S. Senator from Wyoming or an L.A. County Supervisor:

  10. Are there any politicians in your state who represent more people than an L.A. County Supervisor?

  11. What questions do you have about this data?

  12. If you could hold any position at any level of government in America, explain what position you would want:

  13. Explain whether you think a politician representing a small number of people would be more likely to be a trustee than someone representing more people.

  14. Explain what you believe politicians should do for the people that voted against them: (Do they represent them too? Should they follow their will?)

  15. The United States gives all people equal representation through the House of Representatives (each district is roughly equal), and all states equal representation through the Senate (two Senators per state). Since democracy means government by the people, where all people are equal, is it democratic to give each state equal representation if that means that smaller states (and all the people in them) have more representation than larger states?

  16. Anti-Federalists were concerned that it would be hard for the people in a large country to control a national government. They argued for government to be kept close to the people. In Brutus 1, the Anti-Federalist Robert Yates writes, “History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world.” Based on what you know about American politics and history explain whether the anti-federalist were right that large territories (countries) are the most tyrannical that ever existed?

  17. Did I mention that it’s friday? Explain whether you believe a representative government can function successfully in a country the size (>318,000,000 people) of the United States:

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Check out these Map comparisons to show you how ginormous L.A. Country really is.

Because California gives a considerable amount of power to counties, that makes supervisors very, very powerful. Indeed, Hilda Solis, another member of the LA County Board of Supervisors, stepped down as US secretary of labor to run for it. You read that right. Solis — a former Congress member to boot — resigned a Cabinet position because she wanted to take a job in county government. And it makes sense — she represents more people than a senator from a small state.

Also, just for fun, learn more about Brutus 1 in this video.

Action Extension

I've heard a lot of people complaining about the politicians who represent us. Calculate the first year you could run for president (35 age minimum), Senate (30), US House (25), and local offices (?), and go to Candidate College to plan your run for office!

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension