Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016)
Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) PSC 101
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Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) Chapter 8: Political Participation and Voting Chapter 12: Congress Key to my notes: All notes that are taken from the lecture will be the first section, notes I take from the textbook will be the second section, and the vocabulary words from the chapter with definitions will be the last sections! (: Lecture Notes Chapter 8: Political Participation and Voting There are different forms of political participation o The traditional way of voting, protesting, campaigning, and petition Tends to be stronger because it is face to face interactions People can feed off the passion that one has for the topic o There’s online way that is blogs, websites, social media This helps to cause people to go more toward the traditional method of participation This helps people to have a broader sense of politics because it typically tells of both sides and is easier to find information than with the traditional way Younger generation tends to have more access along with the middle and upper class over the lower class Suffrage is just the right to vote Voter turnout is the percent of people who are going out to vote compared to those who are eligible to vote o This has decreased steadily since the 1960s o In recent years it has increased a little but still low Voting rights have expanded because now EVERYONE can vote regardless of property owned o 15 amendment gave African American the rights to vote nationally o 19 amendment gave women the right to vote nationally o 23 amendment gave people in the District of Columbia the right to vote th o 24 amendment took away taxes to vote o 26 amendment made everyone who was 18 years or older was able to vote This has to do with that people were being drafted but they were not allowed to vote for who ran the country yet they could be drafted to fight for their country There are ways to explain political participation o Off of socioeconomic status, the wealthy and higher educated people are the ones who have a higher percentage of people who are willing to vote Page 1 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) They are more educated and have more knowledge of the issues as a rule of thumb They can afford to go out and vote and do not have to worry about having dinner on the table o Off of political environment, the ones who have a stronger sense of community and reason to vote, leads people to want to go out and vote Especially in swing states, getting the people to feel and be urged to vote is more likely to vote o Off of state electoral laws, if you’re in a district that is heavenly in one party, there is no reason to go out and vote because you think that your vote does not matter Voter identification is sometimes an issue because some states require voter ID with a picture and some of the lower class population cannot afford a driver’s license o In some states the mentally handicapped cannot o People who are deployed cannot participate People can participate in absentee voting o This means that it allows them to get the ballot sent to them in the mail and then they send it back in to cast their vote so they do not have to physically go to the polls Some states allow for people to register on the day of election and then cast their vote African Americans tend to be more likely to vote when an African American candidate is running Latinos tend to be less likely to vote, but Cesar Chavez spoke out for the Latinos in the 60s o They tend to vote Republican Asian Americans tend not to participate as much but they tend to be more active when there are practices against Asians Females tend to have a higher participation NOW than males typically The older population is more likely to vote than the younger population because they are more involved Chapter 12: Congress Congress is strongly Republican right now and Obama is Democratic The house represents more of the population of the districts o They have 2 year terms o They can only have 6 terms total Page 2 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) o They must be 25 years old The senate has only 2 per state regardless of the population o They have 6 year terms o They can only have 2 terms o They must be 30 years old People in Congress tend to be more educated and have at the minimum a bachelor degree Politicians that are incumbents have a better chance of being reelected o They tend to have more money than the new ones o People are not as educated so they vote for a familiar face Direct patronage is when the machines would promise jobs to the public Pork barreling is illegal if the politician is directly benefited from it The senate and the house are both organized similarly o There’s a speaker of the house which is the one that runs the meetings typically This person falls in the category of the majority party Committee members have the majority of the time to talk in the House but in the Senate, anyone can talk o This allows for a filibuster in the Senate which is where they basically go on a rant Permanent committees are the ones that have more authority o There are some temporary committees that do not have the highest power These committees are usually formed for oversight or to investigate a scandal o Joint committees are committees that have members from the house and the senate where they talk about budget and everything that makes them have to work together Interest groups help to push Congress to do what the people want Constituency people try to do what their party likes so they can receive the money from PACs Whips help to keep track of what the party people are doing because it has to be transparent Congress has the powers to impeach president if the majority of the house believes that the president should be o Majority of the house needs to approve and then it goes to Senate rd The Senate needs a 2/3 vote for them to be removed Textbook Notes Chapter 8: Political Participation and Voting Page 3 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) Early voting helps minorities have more of a chance to vote There are two different forms of political participation o There’s the traditional political participation which includes voting, protests, and anything that has to do with facetoface activities o The other way is through the Internet such as blogs and chat rooms It is believed that participating online leads people to go and vote and participate in the traditional sense because it makes the information easily accessible to the public Voting is the most important form of political participation because this is the way people get put into office and are able to fulfill what the people want o Voting was not always fair across America They had poll taxes which would making there be a fee to vote There were literacy tests that aimed to make uneducated and immigrants not able to vote Certain requirements to vote was a thing Had to have property, be a certain race, etc Voter turnout is relatively low in America with only around 50% of eligible voters actually voting Factors that influence understanding voter turnout can be put into three factors o A person’s social and demographic background and attitudes on politics People who have a higher socioeconomic status have a higher turnout rate than those on the lower end The older population have a higher turnout rate than younger because they are more organized and likely to vote and are targeted more Minority groups are likely to vote if their representative tends to be the same race or ethnic group of them because they feel like the government will listen to them The gender gap is still wide, but it is starting to close Religious groups tend to vote more toward conservatives and morally based o Political environment in which the elections take place and if they seek to get voters to turn out and vote as well as if the election is contested between two candidates This tends to be when people feel part of a community they are more likely to go out and vote Page 4 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) This is why the voter turnout for young people is low because many of them are not involved with their community Getting people to have face to face interactions to get them to vote is better than just mailing or calling If the election is close then it gets people to go out and vote more likely o The state laws that shape the electoral process The registration process is time consuming and many people do not find it worth to do Younger voters are more likely to move around so they are not able to be registered Voter identification is an issue because states require proof of identification and some want photo ID which the minority groups tend to be effected by more People charged of a felony in some states are not able to vote Election day is on a Tuesday and some people cannot afford to take work off to go vote Chapter 12: Congress Congress has to represent the people not just their party There are 435 members of the house and 100 of senate A member of the house you have to: o Have a minimum age of 25 o Be a citizen for at least 7 years o The term length is 2 years o Each state has 153 depending on its population o It’s constituency is local o Able to focus more the issues due to how often they have elections A member of the senate you have to: o Have a minimum age of 30 o Be a citizen for at least 9 years o The term length is 6 years o Each state has 2 o It’s constituency is local and statewide o They are able to come up with better ideas because they have longer terms that gives them a chance to find more ideas Page 5 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) A delegate is when a representative votes in the way of the people but it requires the constituencies to be contact with them and the delegate to be in constant communication A trustee is when a representative votes in a way he or she thinks is best for the people but are not necessarily talking to the people The way that congress and the constituencies relationship work is based on sociological representation and agency representation o sociological representation focuses that the person in congress has the same beliefs as the people and vote in the same way as them based on gender, race, etc o agency representation focuses that congress is voting in the way of what is seen as the best but knowing it is still being held by the people Congress does not demographically match the US population There are three factors to look at when deciding who gets elected and what they do once they are elected o Biggest factor is who decides to actually run for election o Who is an incumbent o Where the congressional lines are People who are in congress when they make a bill have to show that they are not legally tied to gaining benefits from such bill or it could be considered bribery The people in Congress join committees that will help benefit their constituencies Only the House can make bills that have to do with money The president can veto acts of congress if he deems them not constitutional and then they get sent to congress again Congress is always looking for reelection so they vote in ways that will make their constituencies happy Interest groups play a big part in influencing congress too because they are able to donate money to them and can get people to go out and vote Voting in the same way as your party when in congress has benefits to those who do: o Leadership PACs give them money to help toward election or bills o Committee assignments by letting them get to be on the one that they want to be o Access to the floor by giving them time to talk during debates and discussions o The whip system which allows for communication through the House or Senate o Logrolling which is basically saying two people will vote in favor of the other o The presidency which gets people to be the one in charge of America The people do not approve of congress lately In 2013, it hit an all time low of only 9% of Americans approved of congress actions. Congress has gotten more polarized with republicans becoming more conservative and democrats becoming more liberal Page 6 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) Congress uses oversight to make sure the executive branch is not overusing their power o This has increased and it is not always just on the executive branch The president tried to bypass getting the Senate approval with treaties so they use executive agreements Congress also has the power to impeach an official Vocabulary Words Traditional Political Participation: activities designed to influence government including voting and facetoface activities such as protesting or volunteering for a campaign Protest: participation that involves assembling crowds to confront a government or other official organization Suffrage: the right to vote; also called franchise Turnout: the percentage of eligible individuals who actually vote Online Political Participation: activities designed to influence government using the Internet, including visiting a candidate’s website, organizing events online, or signing an online petition Socioeconomic Status: status in society based on level of education, income, and occupational prestige Gender Gap: a distinctive pattern of voting behavior reflecting the differences in views between women and men Mobilization: the process by which large numbers of people are organized for a political activity Election Day Registration: the option in some states to register on the day of the election, at the polling place, rather than in advance of the election Permanent Absentee Ballots: the option in some states to have a ballot sent atomically to your home for each election, rather than having to request an absentee ballot each time Early Voting: the option in some states to cast a vote at a polling place or by mail before the election Constituency: the residents in the area from which the official is elected Bicameral: having a legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses, distinguished from unicameral Delegate: a representative who votes according to the preferences of his or her constituency Page 7 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) Trustee: a representative who votes based on what he or she thinks is best for his or her constituency Sociological Representation: a type of representation in which representatives have the same racial, gender, ethnic, religious, or educational backgrounds as their constituents; it is based on the principle that if two individuals are similar in background, character, interests, and perspectives, then one can correctly represent the other’s views Agency Representation: a type of representation in which representative is held accountable to a constituency if he or she fails to represent that constituency properly; this is when the personal backgrounds, views, and interests of the representative differ from those of his or her constituency Incumbency: holding the political office for which one is running Term Limits: legally prescribed limits on the number of terms an elected official can serve Apportionment: the process, occurring after every decennial census, that allocates congressional seats among the 50 states Redistricting: the process of redrawing election districts and redistributing legislative representatives; this happens every 10 years to reflect shifts in population or in response to legal challenges to existing districts Gerrymandering: the apportionment of voters in districts in such a way as to give unfair advantage to one racial or ethnic group or political party Patronage: the resources available to higher officials, usually opportunities to make partisan appointments to offices and to confer grants, licenses, or special favors to supporters Pork Barrel (or pork): apportions made by legislative bodies for local projects that are often not needed but that are created so that local representatives can win reelections in their home districts Private Bill: a proposal in Congress to provide a specific person with some kind of relief, such as a special exemption from immigration quotas Conference: a gathering of House Republicans every two years to elect their House leaders; Democrats call their gathering the caucus Caucus (political): a normally closed meeting of a political or legislative group to select candidates, plan strategy, or make decisions regarding legislative matters Page 8 of 10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) Speaker of the House: the chief presiding officer of the House of Representative; the speaker is the most important party and House leader, and can influence the legislative agenda, the fate of individual pieces of legislation, and members’ positions within the house Majority Leader: the elected leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives or the Senate; in the house, the majority leader is subordinate in the party hierarchy to the Speaker of the House Minority Leader: the elected leader of the minority party in the House or Senate Whip: a party member in the House or Senate responsible for coordinating the party’s legislative strategy, building support for key issues, and counting votes Standing Committee: a permanent committee with the power to propose and write legislation that covers a particular subject, such as finance or agriculture Select Committee: (usually) temporary legislative committees set up to highlight or investigate a particular issue or address an issues not within the jurisdiction of the existing committees Joint Committees: legislative committees formed of members of both the house and senate Conference Committees: joint committees created to work out a compromise on House and Senate versions of a piece of legislation Seniority: the ranking given to an individual on the basis of length and continuous service on a committee in Congress Staff Agencies: legislative support agencies responsible for policy analysis Caucuses (congressional): associations of members of Congress based on party, interest, or social group, such as gender or race Bill: a proposed hat has been sponsored by a member of Congress and submitted to the clerk of the House or Senate Committee Markup: the session in which a congressional committee rewrites legislation to incorporate changes discussed during hearing on a bill Closed Rule: a provision by the House Rules Committee limiting or prohibiting the introduction of amendments during debate Open Rule: a provision by the House Rules Committee that permits floor debate and the addition of new amendments to a bill Page 9 of10 Introduction to American Politics Week 6 Notes (October 3, 2016) Filibuster: a tactic used by members of the Senate to prevent action on legislation they oppose by continuously holding the floor and speaking until the majority backs down; once given the floor, senators have unlimited time to speak, and it requires a vote of threefifths of the Senate to end a filibuster Cloture: a rule or process in a legislative body aimed at ending debate o a given bill; in the US Senate, 60 senators (threefifths) must agree in order to impose a time limit and end debate Veto: the president's constitutional power to turn down acts of congress; a presidential veto may be overridden a twothirds vote of each house of congress Pocket Veto: a presidential veto that is automatically triggered if the president does not act on a given piece of legislation passed during the final 10 days of a legislative session Party Unity Vote: a rollcall vote in the House or Senate in which at least 50 percent of the members of one party take a particular position and are opposed by at least 50 percent of the other party Rollcall Vote: a vote in which each legislator's yes or no vote is recorded as the clerks calls the names of the members alphabetically Logrolling: a legislative practice whereby agreements are made between legislators in voting for or against a bill; vote trading Oversight: the effort by Congress, through hearings, investigations, and other techniques, to exercise control over the activities of executive agencies Appropriations: the amounts of money approved by Congress in statutes (bills) that each unit or agency of government can spend Executive Agreements: an agreement, made between the president and another country, that has the force of a treaty but does not require the Senate’s “advice and consent” Impeachment: the formal charge by the House of Representatives that a government official has committed “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” Page 10 of 10
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