Suburban Voters

AP US Government and Politics

We know that most urban voters are Democrats and most rural voters are Republicans. But are suburban voters more likely to identify as Democrats or Republicans?

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What has happened to Republican support in urban areas over the past 20 years?

  3. What is one cause of this urban tilt?

  4. What has happened to Democratic support in rural areas over the past 20 years?

  5. What is one cause of this rural tilt?

  6. How much does the data in the chart accurately describe the place where you live?

  7. If you had to make a statement regarding party affiliation of rural versus urban voters what would it be?

  8. Can you think of a mnemonic device to help remember your party affiliation statement from question 7?

  9. Why do you think rural voters are so pro-Republican?

  10. Why do you think urban voters are so pro-Democratic?

  11. Based on the data above, what information do we need to know in order to predict the outcome of an election?

  12. It's a fact that people who register as independents generally vote for the same party year after year in elections. Why do these people who regularly lean in one direction register as independents?

  13. What is one advantage to registering as a member of a political party?

  14. Can non-citizens vote in federal elections?*

  15. Can non-citizens run for federal office?*

  16. Can naturalized citizens become U.S. Representatives or Senators?*

  17. Can naturalized citizens become U.S. President?*

  18. If subhumans are less than human, are suburbanites less than urbanites?

  19. What is one consequence of this big rural urban divide in America?

  20. How much has this urban/rural party affiliation divide grown over the past two decades, and if it continues, what will this urban/rural party affiliation divide look like in two more decades?

  21. How has this urban/rural divide impacted the Trump presidency?

*Answers

11. No

12. No

13. Yes

14. Heck No!

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Check out all the fabulous charts in the Pew Research Center report on trends in party affiliation.

Action Extension

Create a mnemonic device to remember the party affiliation leanings of Americans based on race, gender, education, and generation. Share your mnemonic in class or online.

Cartoon Extension

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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

Switching Parties

AP US Government and Politics

Party identification is sticky, meaning that year after year, most people stay in the same party. What percentage of Americans switched parties in 2017?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story here?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of the fact that so few people switch parties?

  5. Explain whether this story is good or bad news.

  6. What do you think is the main motivation for people to switch parties?

  7. My grandfather switched parties during the Reagan administration. My father in law switched parties during the Obama administration. Do you know anyone who has ever switched parties?

  8. Who was the last major political figure who switched political parties?

  9. What would the party with which you currently identify have to do to make you immediately switch to the other major party?

  10. Over the past year, 22% of people who identified as independents (neither Democrat or Republican) moved towards a political party. Why do you think that change occurred?

  11. What age group do you think is most likely to switch parties?*

  12. Why do you think that is? 

  13. How much did President Trump impact party switching?*

  14. Over the past year, 23% of young Republicans (age 18-29) defected from the party. Why do you think that is?

  15. What is one thing the Republican Party could do to get these voters back?

  16. What question do you have about this data?

  17. Explain whether party switching will become more frequent in the future.

  18. The other day, Donald Trump's Twitter account was deleted for 11 minutes. If political parties were suddenly deleted, but permanently, how do you think this would impact American politics?

  19. Republicans are known as elephants and Democrats, as donkeys. What would be the best mascot for people who switch parties?

  20. Switching Parties sort of sounds like a song title. In the comments section name the artist most likely to record this song:

Learning Extension

Check out this Pew report on party switching.

Action Extension

Find one person who has ever switched parties. Interview them to find out what made them switch. Share your results in class or online.

Visual Extension*

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Adorable Animal Extension

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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals In Clothing Extension

Political Party Identification

AP US Government and Politics

What demographic group has the strongest Republican Party identification?

Pew Research Center

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this chart?

  3. Describe any trends you can identify in the data.

  4. How did the information in the chart impact the 2016 presidential election?

  5. How did the information from the chart impact the 2018 midterm election?

  6. Why do you think Mormons voters identify so strongly with the Republican Party?

  7. Why do you think Black voters identify so strongly with the Democratic Party?

  8. Which of the groups listed in the chart is the largest in population?

  9. Which of the groups listed in the chart is growing most quickly?

  10. Of the parties listed in the chart, which has support from demographic groups that are growing the most quickly?

  11. What information that this chart does not include would help you determine who will most likely win the next election?

  12. Which of the groups in the chart are you a part of?

  13. How accurately does the data from the chart reflect your own party identification?

  14. Imagine you are having a conversation with any one of the groups listed above. Explain to them why they are wrong to support the party they tilt towards.

  15. If you were a Republican political party operative, what about the chart would cause you the most concern and what would make you the most excited?

  16. In the comments section, explain how the information from the charts will affect strategy and the outcome of the 2020 presidential election?

  17. Overall, describe how Democrats and Republicans compare in terms of total support.

  18. Explain then, with this advantage, why Democrats don’t always win elections.

  19. Describe how political socialization impacts the data from the chart above.

  20. Based on the chart above and your knowledge of American politics, respond to the following claim: if people just voted as Americans instead of as Jewish-Americans, White Southern-Americans, Mormon-Americans, etc., our country would be more united.

Visual Extension

Gender, education, age divides in party affiliation

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew Report on party identification.

Action Extension

Contact the Republican Party or the Democratic Party and, based on the data in the chart, explain to them what electoral strategy they should adopt.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension

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Our Ridiculously Random Chart Extension

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Party Conventional Wisdom

The 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) will be held in Charlotte, NC (whoot, whoot). Over the past century, what U.S. city has been the home to the most political party conventions?

Infographic: Democrats Pick Milwaukee for 2020 National Convention | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
  1. How accurate was your ridiculous prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this silly map?

  3. In your opinion, what is the most important American city that has never had a convention? (Pro-tip: Orlando is not really that important).

  4. Why do you think Chicago is the city that has had the most conventions? (Windy City- coincidence???? Just Sayin’)!

  5. Why do you think the Democrats are holding their 2020 nominating convention in Wisconsin, a state Obama won in 2008 and 2012?

  6. Why do you think the Republicans are holding their 2020 nominating convention in (whoot! Whoot!) North Carolina (N. Cakalacky)?

  7. Since 2008, what kind of state has hosted every national political convention?*

  8. What explains that trend?

  9. Why do we have national political party conventions, anyway?

  10. And what happens at National Conventions?

  11. Now that you have read, internalized, and memorized Federalist No. 10 and are an expert on James Madison (163 centimeters tall - five foot four inches) and his feelings towards factions, explain what Madison would have thought about party conventions.

  12. If you were the head of the Democratic National Party explain where you would hold the 2024 convention.

  13. If you were the head of the Republican National Party explain where you would hold the 2024 convention. (Pro tip: you’re not).

  14. Based on the silly map above, describe any regional differences in the location of party conventions for the two major parties.

  15. Explain whether you think national nominating conventions increase or decrease democracy.

  16. Explain whether independents get a national party convention?

  17. How are delegates to conventions decided, anyhow?

  18. What is it about Cleveland that the Democratic Party hates so much that they have never had a convention there?????

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Listen to this insane Here and Now report. *Warning: Graphic language. The following NPR report may not be suitable for all listeners.

Action Extension

Did you know that mere mortals like you can attend a national party convention?!?! Contact your favorite political party and ask them what you need to do to attend the 2020 national party convention. You might just be surprised by what you learn. Share their response in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

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Our Animals in Clothing Extension


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A Totally Random and Unrelated Visual Extension

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Declaration of Independents

AP US Government and Politics

GoPo Pro

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

Pro Tip: Think hard.

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  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

Church and State and Church and State

AP U.S Government and Politics

GoPo Pro

Imagine the entire population of the U.S. is 100 people. Out of 100, what number of Americans would be Muslim?

AP U.S. Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What surprised you most about these numbers?

  3. Based on these numbers, what generalization could you make about religion in American?

  4. Based on the data from this chart, would it be accurate to call the United States a Christian nation?

  5. If you were running for President of the United States and you had never been a religious person, but you needed to choose a religion to pretend to be to make the most people vote for you, what religion would you chose, and do you think it would work?

  6. How do you think these numbers have changed in the last fifty years and in the last 10 years?*

  7. How different do you think these numbers will be in the future?**

  8. How do you think the fact that 71% of all Americans are Christians impacts American politics?

  9. Is it reasonable to think that a country that is 71% Christian is going to have a high wall of separation between church and state?

  10. Fact: one out of every 100 Americans is Muslim. What do you think the average American would guess that number is?

  11. Fact: 23% of Americans are non-religious (unaffiliated). How do you think this growing number influences American politics?

  12. Of all the American religious (and non-religious) groups listed above which do you think the is most reliably Republican and which is the most reliably Democratic?***

Visual Extension*

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**

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***

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WOW!

WOW!

Learning Extension

The Pew Research Center has a great interactive map where you can look at the specifics of religious affiliation in your state. Check it out!

Action Extension

Talk to someone of a different religious background from your own and try to understand how their religion impacts their politics. Share your finding in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Animals In Clothes Extension

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One Party?

GoPo Pro

AP US Government and Politics

What % of Americans say there is hardly any difference in what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for.

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Describe how much of a difference you think there is in what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for. Use one fact about current American political parties to support your claim.

  3. What trend do you see in the data?

  4. Explain whether this trend is good or bad news.

  5. Why do you think that is?

  6. How do you think that trend will impact the American political system?

  7. What issue do you think the Democrats and Republicans parties most agree on?

  8. The majority of Americans now say that there is a great deal of difference in what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for. What issue do you think the Democrats and Republicans parties most disagree about?

  9. The United States has a two-party system. Describe what it is about our electoral system and the way we vote that leads to the two-party system.

  10. In what way do you think the two-party system is good for the political system of the United States?

  11. Another name for this divergence in what the parties stand for is political polarization. What impact do you think the news media has on poltical polarization?

  12. Imagine you became king of American for a day. What would be one remedy to make American less polarized?

  13. In the current system of political party polarization, explain whether you think that the two major parties would come together to do what is best for our nation in a time of crisis.

  14. In Federalist No. 10 (one of our required foundational documents), James Freaking Madison wrote about factions (what today we might call political parties) saying, "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community". What the HECK does this quote mean?

  15. What would you say is the common impulse or passion which unites Democrats?

  16. What would you say is the common impulse or passion which unites Republicans?



Learning Extension

Watch this fantabulous video about Duverger’s Law and the origins of our two-party system.

Democrats and Republicans More Ideologically Divided than in the Past
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Action Extension

Ask five people to describe how much of a difference you think there is in what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for. Share your analysis of your results in class or online.

Slightly Random Extension (SRE)

Vampire Weekend has part of a new album out

You can listen to an interview with the band plus the two new Vampire Weekend tracks!

Let's Party But Not Together

AP US Government and Politics

What is the one thing that both Democrats and Republicans hate the most?

The Economist   AP US Government and Politics

The Economist

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What do both parties like the most?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells about American political culture?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. People talk a lot about the great divide in American politics and culture. What does this chart have to say about the divide?

  6. What is a social consequence of that divide?

  7. What is a political consequence of that divide?

  8. Based on this chart, explain whether you think a nurse could win the presidency?

  9. What was the most surprising fact from this data?

  10. What was the least surprising fact from this data?

  11. How do you feel about the items on this chart. Rank each item as good or bad and see how you match up with Republican and Democratic opinions.

  12. What does the fact that both parties hate congress tell you about the 2018 midterm elections?

  13. How different do you think this chart would have been 50 years ago?

  14. In the future, do you think we will continue to be more and more divided?

  15. What are three factors contributing to this division?

  16. Do you think we could ever have a universally popular president again?

  17. What do you think the Framers would have thought about this?

  18. Is there anything inherent in the US constitution that explains this political division?

Learning Extension

Watch this 60 second video about the growing partisan divide in Congress.

Action Extension

List any 10 of the preferences from this chart (Mitt Romney, nurses, poor people, environmentalists, etc) Ask five Republicans (conservatives) to rank those then things from best to worst. Ask five Democrats (liberals) to do the same. See if there is any overlap on those lists. Share your results in class or online. If you are having trouble finding five people of each party (ideology) that may tell you all you need to know about division in America.

Partisanship and Pop-Culture Extension

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Completely Off Topic But Interesting Sports Chart Extension

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Completely Patriotic Animal Extension

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Third Party Like it's 1999

What percent of Americans think that a Republicans and Democrats do such a bad job of representing the American people that we meed a third major party?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What trend do you see in the data?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this?

  5. What do you think public approval of third (minor) parties says about approval of the two major parties?

  6. How much do you think this dissatisfaction with the two major parties impacts voter turnout?

  7. Breaking News: there are alternative parties (third parties) to the Democrats and Republicans in America today. Why don’t more people vote for them?

  8. American democracy would be better off if we had a robust and viable third (minor) party. Make a claim either supporting or refuting this statement:

  9. Let’s imagine there was a strong and electable third party in America. How would that impact how extreme the Democratic and Republican parties?

  10. There are strong third and even fourth parties in most other democracies. What about the way we vote inhibits the growth of third parties.

  11. If you had to vote for a minor (third) party, which one would you likely support?

  12. Are any third parties on the ballot in your state?

  13. How much do you think minor parties will impact his year’s election?
    The Green party candidate in Arizona dropped out of the race and endorsed the Democratic candidate for the Senate. Explain why they did this?

  14. Some say that voting for a third party is a waste of a vote. Make an argument refuting or supporting this claim.

  15. How do you think party affiliation impacts people’s attitudes about third parties?

  16. What would the Framers think about the state of political parties in America today?

Visual Extension

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Learning Extension

Check out this Gallup polling data on minor (third) parties in America.

Action Extension

Look up the ballot in your district and note how many minor party candidate are on the ballot. Share your results in class or online.

Dog Riding on a Bike Extension

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Democrats Are Wrong About Republicans. Republicans Are Wrong About Democrats.

What percent of Republicans earn over $250,000 a year? What percent of Democrats are LBG?

  1. How accurate were your predictions?

  2. What story does this data tell about American political perception?

  3. Why are two reasons for this?

  4. What is one impact these perceptions have on U.S. politics?

  5. Which party is the most out of touch with reality?

  6. What most surprised you about this data?

  7. Do you think that Russian hackers or others hoping to disrupt and undermine American democracy would be happy about these incorrect perceptions we have of each other?

  8. Do you think that these (anti-American democracy) people had anything to do with creating these misperceptions?

  9. Do you think that social media enhances these misconceptions?

  10. What is one thing you could do, individually, to become more accurate in your perceptions of other Americans?

  11. What is one thing, collectively, that could be done to push back against these misconceptions?

  12. Who benefits from these misconceptions?

  13. Explain whether this is a problem?

  14. In ten years do you think members of American Political Parties will have a more accurate perception of each other?

  15. Besides the misperceptions named in the data above, List one other misperception each of the two parties have of each other.

  16. Create the most outrageous misperception of one party by the other party that you can possibly think of and share it with no one.

Learning Extension

Read the entire 538 article on political parties and perception or listen to the NPR story.

Action Extension

The next time you are with your family ask them the four questions from the poll above and see how their perceptions compare to the actual number. Share their responses in class or online.

Try to learn more about the reality of your opposing party and be more accurate in your perception about who they are.

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In Class Mini-Project Extension

Make a poster like the one above but substitute the images with images you have found online.