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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Shutdown the wall or the government?

WHat Percent of Americans think that, “President Trump should not compromise on the border wall even if it means a government shutdown.”?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the data tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. Describe two consequences of this.

  5. How does party affiliation impact opinion on this issue?

  6. If you had to choose, “President Trump should compromise on the border wall to prevent gridlock,” or, “President Trump should not compromise on the border wall even if it means a government shutdown.” Which would you choose and why?

  7. Respond to this scenario: President Trump personally wants to shut down the government if that’s what it takes to build his wall, but after he reads the poll results above he decides that the people have spoken and he should not build his wall if it risks shutting down the government. Explain whether this action make him more of a trustee or a delegate.

  8. REspond to the following scenario. Trump builds his wall which adds billions of dollars to the national debt. What would a fiscal conservative say about this?

  9. Explain how shutting down the government in order to build the wAll is an example of checks and balances.

  10. What specific Constitutional presidential power allows the president to Build a Border wall?

  11. What specific Constitutional presidential power allows the president to shut down the government?

  12. What specific Constitutional Congressional power allows the congress to fund a Border wall?

  13. What specific Constitutional Congressional power allows the Congress to shut down the government?

  14. President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senate Leader Schumer, and (probable future) Speaker of the House Pelosi met in the White house to discuss the potential border wall funding impasse and government shutdown. At the meeting, Donald trump said, "I'll be the one to shut it down. I will take the mantle. And I will shut it (The Government) down for border security." IF the government is shut down who do you think will be blamed?

  15. Claim: after meeting with donald trump about the government shut down, Nancy Pelosi said, "This Trump shutdown, this temper tantrum he seems to want to throw, will not get him his wall," Based on what you know about American government and politics, explain whether you believe that she is correct.

  16. Describe How political party affiliation impact views on the border wall/government shutdown.

  17. In general, how do Americans think President trump is doing on immigration and border policy?*

  18. In general, how do YOu think President trump is doing on immigration and border policy?

Visual Extension

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Video Extension

Learning Extension

Scroll down to page 9 to read the full results of the poll.

Action Extension

Contact President Trump or (probable) Speaker of the House Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Schumer and let them know your opinion on this issue. Share your results in class or online.

Trust Trump?

What % of Americans consider Trump trustworthy?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Why do you think that only 1/3 of Americans trust Trump?

  3. What is one consequence of the fact that only 1/3 of Americans trust the President?

  4. What is the big takeaway from the data in the graph?

  5. Take a look at the qualities listed in the graph above. According to you, which of them describe Trump and which ones do NOT describe Trump?

  6. Rank the qualities listed in the graph above from 1 (most important) to 8 (least important) in a president.

  7. How do you think Trump compares to other recent presidents regarding the qualities and traits from the graph above?*

  8. Describe an example of a time the public’s trust in the president is necessary for the President to succeed.

  9. How do you think public opinion on the president differs based on political party affiliation and other demographics?*

  10. How do you think Americans’ views of the President as depicted in information from this chart impacted the midterm elections? (I know, I know, the president does not - technically - run in a midterm election!)

  11. Most Americans say that Trump “stands up for what he believes.” Give an example of a time Trump did that.

  12. Even Republicans give Trump a negative rating for his temperament (even-tempered). What do you think temperament means and explain why even Trump’s supporters don’t think he has an even temperament.

Visual Extension*


Learning Extension

Read the Pew Report on Americans’ views on Trump.

Action Extension

Give five people this list of presidential traits and ask them to say whether each trait describes Trump. Share your analysis of the data in class or online.




Just Vote No

What portion of 2016 Republican voters saw their vote as FOR Trump, and how many saw it as AGAINST Clinton?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does the chart tell about the 2016 election?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. Let’s call 2016 a negative election. What are two consequences of negative elections?

  5. Let’s say a POTUS wins mostly because their supporters voted AGAINST someone instead of FOR them. What must they do to maintain their voters’ support?

  6. How much of a mandate do these “negative winners” have?

  7. How does being a “negative winner” impact their ability to govern?

  8. Explain the connection between negative voting and POTUS Trump’s current approval rating (38% according to Gallup)?

  9. What do you think dating or marriage would be like if most people chose their partner based less on what they liked about them than on what they hated about other people?

  10. Describe the change in voter motivation between the 2008 election and the 2016 election.

  11. Why do you think that is?

  12. How much did it have to do with the candidates themselves?

  13. Based on demographics, what generalizations can we make about negative voters.

  14. Explain whether your 2016 vote (or support, if you weren’t eligible to vote) more FOR or more AGAINST.

  15. Donald Trump isn’t running for president in 2018, although in a way he is. In the midterm elections, how much will people be thinking about TRUMP when they decide who to vote for in Congressional elections?

  16. Why do you think that is?

  17. Do you think this will lead Democrats to win a majority of the US House?

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Learning Extension

Read the Pew Article about the consequences of negative voting in 2016.

Action Extension

Talk to people you know and ask them whether their 2016 vote (or support, if they weren’t eligible to vote) was more FOR or more AGAINST. Share your results in class or online.

Plaid Shirt Guy Extension

This guy is in high school!

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