Church and State and Church and State

AP U.S Government and Politics

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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*





Party affiliation by religious group.png
Frequency of feeling wonder about the universe by political party.png
Belief in Hell by political party.png


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


2020 Electorate

In 2020, what is projected to be the largest minority group in the U.S. electorate?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What is the most important trend you see in the data?

  4. Explain one cause of this trend?

  5. What is one political consequence of that trend?

  6. Explain whether that trend is good news.

  7. Hispanics are not a monolithic voting group. Like most ethnic groups, some Hispanics are conservative, some are liberal, some are moderate. However, do Hispanics, overall, lean towards a certain political party affiliation?

  8. How do you think the trends in the chart will impact the Republican party?

  9. Describe one policy change that would likely occur now that Hispanics are the biggest minority group in the electorate.

  10. How do you think the Hispanic electorate (as diverse as it is) will generally react to Donald Trump’s border wall policy?

  11. By 2020, Whites will make up only 2/3 of all voters. If the trends depicted in the chart continue, in what year do you predict that Whites will no longer be a majority of the electorate?

  12. How do you think that will impact politics in America?

  13. List two other ways you predict the electorate will be different in 2020.

  14. How will those changes impact American politics?

  15. Fun Fact: in 2020 there will be more Generation Z voters (that’s you-ish) than Silent Generation voters (that’s your grandparents-ish). How will this impact the outcome of the presidential election?

  16. Fun Fact: in 2020, 10% of all voters will be non-native-born (born outside of the U.S.). What?!?!?!?! How will this impact the outcome of the presidential election?

  17. If you were a political operative for the Democratic Party, how would that changes depicted in the data (above and below) impact your decision of what presidential candidate to endorse?

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on the 2020 electorate.

Action Extension

Contact the Republican Party or the Democratic Party and based on the data from the chart, explain to them who they should endorse for President in 2020.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals In Clothes Extension

More than a hobby Lobby

AP US Government and Politics

How much $ was spent to lobby the U.S. government in 2016?

Center for Responsive Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. Surprised?

  3. What adjective best describes the amount of money spent on lobbying?

  4. If you were to buy pizzas with the money spent on lobbying Congress in 2016, and each pizza cost $12, how many pizzas could you buy?

  5. Is all this lobbying legal?

  6. Who makes the rules about the legality of lobbying?

  7. Who benefits from this lobbying?

  8. Who doesn't benefit from this lobbying?

  9. Some lobbyists work for groups like the Red Cross, the Sierra Club, or the National Educators Association! Others work for weapon manufacturers, golfers associations, or tobacco companies. Overall, do you think that lobbyists have a positive impact on US politics?

  10. What big story does the data tell?

  11. Why do you think spending on lobbying has doubled in less than 20 years?

  12. What is the most important consequence of all this money spent on lobbying?

  13. How specifically does lobbying affect elections in the US?

  14. What do lobbyists actually do?

  15. If you were to become a lobbyist, what group or company would you want to lobby for?

  16. Imagine that lobbying and lobbyists were outlawed. How would the US political system most change because of this?

  17. Based on your knowledge of the American political system, Respond to the following Claim: the data from the chart good news. The people with the money to pay for lobbyists are smart and hardworking and they should be able to translate that into political power. Anybody who wants political power can have it if they are willing to work for it.

  18. Why do these groups and businesses spend all this money to lobby the government?

  19. What group spent the most money on lobbying in 2016 and how much did they spend?*

  20. What sector of industry spent the most on lobbying in 2016?**

  21. in Federalist No. 10 James Madison wrote about factions which he warned could undermine the union of the whole. he wrote: “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” Based on this quote and your knowledge of Federalist No. 10, what would Madison say about lobbyists and their impact on the union of the whole?

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Lobbying makes America more democratic.

Learning Extension

Read the report and check out the groovy graphs and charts about lobbyists, money and politics from Open Secrets!

Bonus Chart*

Bonus Chart**

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AP Pugament and Pugatics

AP Pugament and Pugatics

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Active Youth

Were young Americans (age 18-24) more politically active in 2016 or in 2018?

  1. How accurate was your crazy prediction?

  2. What trend do you see in the data?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is one consequence of this change?

  5. Explain whether Donald Trump would have won election in 2016 if youth had been as politically active in 2016 as they were in 2018.

  6. Whether you are 18-24 or not, would you say that the chart accurately describes your experience regarding young Americans and their political participation?

  7. How much of the jump in political engagment is a reaction to Donald Trump?

  8. Based on the data in the chart, how would you describe overall youth political activism?

  9. Explain whether the data from the chart is good or bad news.

  10. List one question you have about this data:

  11. Describe a specific policy change that might come about because of this change between 2016 and 2018?

  12. Explain whether you think young people will be even more politically active in 2020.

  13. What are some policies and politicians that are especially popular with today’s engaged youth?

  14. Imagine you were a political operative trying to increase youth political engagement. What step would most likely increase youth political activism?

  15. Imagine you were a political operative trying to decrease youth political engagement. What step would most likely decrease youth political activism?

  16. Explain whether the data from the chart is good news for the Republican Party.

  17. Describe the role political socialization plays in the results from the chart.

  18. Federal law requires that you must be 18 to vote in national elections. What is the age requirements for each of the political activities listed in the chart above?

  19. How many of the actions listed on the chart have you done?

  20. Describe how political party affiliation impacts youth political engagement.*

Learning Extension

Check out this CIRCLE report on the politics of people like you (give or take a few years).

Action Extension

Engage in one of the political activities listed in the chart, and share your experience in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

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David Bowie Extension

The Center Cannot Hold

AP US Government and Politics

How much ideological overlap is there between U.S. House Democrats and Republicans?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What political ideology is most associated with each of the parties?

  3. What is one trend you see in the data?

  4. What are two causes of this trend?

  5. What is one consequence of this trend?

  6. Is this good news for the average American?

  7. What question do you have about this chart?

  8. In 2012 there were only 11 members of the House of Representatives who had overlapping ideology. What part of the country or type of district do you think these crossover House members are from?

  9. How does ideological overlap in the U.S. Senate compare to the overlap in the U.S. House?

  10. How does ideological overlap in the U.S. Congress compare to the overlap in the U.S. population?

  11. Explain how the trend from the chart above affects the ability of the president to govern.

  12. Imagine that the Supreme Court declares gerrymandering unconstitutional and forces state legislatures to appoint independent panels to redraw all districts without gerrymandering. Explain how the data in the chart would change in the next ungerrymandered congress?

  13. Gerrymandering was named after Elbridge Gerry. Four decades from now, when political scientists use the term Trumping what will it mean? Submit your answer in the comments section below!

  14. How will the Trump administration impact the level of polarization in the future?

  15. If you extrapolate from the data, how many crossover votes do you imagine there will be in 2020?

  16. In the comments section, explain the connection between the data and the fact that less than 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing:

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Take Our Survey
I approve of the job Congress is doing.

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension

Read this Pew Research Center report on political polarization. Or watch this BBC video about polarization.

Action Extension

Take the Pew Political Typology Quiz and then compare your results to your Congressional Representative's ideology scorecard.

Our World In Data Extension

Animals in Clothes Extension