Why did the framers of the Constitution create the Electoral College?
Framers knew indirect elections were good
Helps localize elections
What are the three major changes
that have occurred in the Electoral College system since its creation?
Electors became pledged to candidates
12th amendment separate votes for
president and vice president
Development of winner-take-all system
What, in particular, are the consequences of the
development of the “winner take all” system?
Promotes nationally distributed majority
Encourages national parties and candidates
Discourages regional/splinter parties/candidates
Promotes political moderation
What are the incentives to compromise in the current operation of the Electoral College system? Put another way, how does the system cause most political activity to be
funneled into the two major parties?
Competition breeds similarity
The incentive is the weak party identifiers’ and independents’ votes, they can be easily swayed to a party if the parties are
similar but have small differences
What constitutional provisions are most frequently relied upon for the exercise of contemporary judicial activism?
Due process and equal protection
What, according to Wilson, has been the primary cause of judicial activism over the last forty years?
How does judicial activism since 1960 differ from the kind of judicial activism that we saw prior to 1960?
Since 1960 – judicial activism has created
policies that affect far more people than just those involved in the case,
prior to 1960 the court rarely used judicial activism and when it did it
usually affected only the people involved in the case
What is judicial activism?
Willingness of courts to use judicial power to
achieve policy goals
Where in the Constitution do we find the power of judicial review?
The constitution does not expressly provide for
For that matter, what is judicial review?
The power to declare a law unconstitutional
How does judicial review emerge as a result of the exercise of the judicial power?
Laws have to be constitutional in order to be
What is the purpose of the judicial power?
To ensure that the laws are carried out fairly
What is “the delegation of legislative authority”? Or, put another way, from where does the Environmental Protection Agency (as well as other regulatory agencies) get
Regulatory agencies get their power from the
diminishing power of congress going to the executive branch. Congress has
enough to do so they created regulatory agencies that exist as part of the
executive branch and make civil laws
What is the Executive Office of the President?
The immediate staff of the current president and multiple levels of supporting staff
What are the different kinds of offices that we find in the executive branch?
Office of management and budget, national
security council, council of economic advisors, u.s. trade representatives,
white house staff
What other factors gave rise to Presidential
As we ask more of government it grows in terms of responsibility and personnel
Perception plays a big role in politics
Who is the current Speaker of the House of
What is Presidential Government and how does it differ from what preceded it?
Presidential government means that the executive is strong and independent of the legislature
Differs because before the president had less
power and congress had more
What is activist government and how does it differ from
what preceded activist government?
Activist government – one which takes a more active stance with, in this case, the economic well being of the nations
Differs because before this the government was mostly laissez faire and had little to do with the economy and didn’t do very
What was happening to the American money supply during the early 1930s?
Approx. 28% of the money supply disappeared
because the fed wasn’t replenishing it as the banks went under and wiped out
Why is the Great Depression known as the Great Depression rather than, say, the Depression of 1932?
It lasted longer than any of its predecessors
It went deeper than predecessors: unemployment
at approx. 25% and stayed in double digits for the rest of the decade
Depression was worldwide
How are the dynamics of a two-party system different
from the dynamics of a multi-party system?
2 party systems rarely see a complete turnover
in the way the government functions and they protect minority rights through
political moderation and questions about fundamental rights rarely come to
center stage, multiparty systems cause smaller percentage of the votes to go to
each party, the goal is to clearly distinguish each party from the others, and
winning party is more likely to be an extreme on the spectrum, so the political
leadership of the country is completely reversed leading to political
How does the current Electoral College system guard against political corruption?
It assures that the president is a reflection of
public opinion, but is still someone capable, of merit, and of national stature
Since our two major parties are little more than coalitions of state parties, what is the primary factor that keeps these state
parties operating under the umbrellas of the two major parties?
The electoral college requires 270 votes to win the presidency and this makes operating as a state party difficult because you
need to carry multiple states across various regions to get 270
What are the three critical elections that have
occurred in American history?
1800, 1860, 1932
What are “critical elections”?
2 diffferent views of nature of the country and
the aftermath: party that wins critical election will win many elections in a
row, usually caused by a new set of circumstances or a crisis