A. The United States House of Representatives
Jane Harman is a three-term member of Congress who gave up her South Bay seat in 1998 to run for governor, an executive position on the State level. She lost the Democratic primary election to Gray Davis, and her congressional seat, an open seat with no incumbent, went to current congressman Steven Kuykendall (R). Harman currently resides in Rolling Hills, California, in the district she wishes to be elected to represent.
A1. How many terms did Jane Harman previously hold in Congress?
A2. Whom did Harman lose to in the race to be Governor of California?
A3. What type of election did Harman lose to Gray Davis in?
A4. Who replaced Harman as the representative for the 36th CD?
A5. What level of government is a governor position on?
A6. What is a congressional seat up for election with no incumbent called?
Jane Harman is the Democratic candidate running for the 36th Congressional District (CD) position in the U.S. House of Representatives. This district is known to vote almost equally in favor of Democrats and Republicans, a characteristic known as a swing district. A district, geographical area in a state with about 600,000 citizens, like the 36th increases the competition between the candidates, making it also a competitive district. Unlike a district whose majority votes are only democratic or only republican, creating a safe district for the candidate of the majority party.
B1. What CD is Harman running for?
B2. What is a swing district?
B3. How many citizens are in an average district?
B4. Are swing districts generally competitive districts?
B5. Do swing districts make safe districts?
B6. What is a safe district?
Jane Harman won the primary election on March 7th, 2000; an election to choose one candidate, a person fit to hold the office, from a party to run in the general election. The general election in November decides the winner who becomes the representative for that district. Besides Kuykendall, Harman is running against 3 other candidates from minor parties. If a candidate from one of the minor parties wins the election, Harman and Kuykendall will be upset by an underdog. Harman will receive votes from loyal party voters, people who support their party by voting for their partyís candidates; and straight ticket voters, people who vote for all candidates of their party. A split ticket voter is one who votes for candidates of different parties. A crossover voter is an individual who votes for a different party than he/she has voted for in the past.
C1. What election was on March 7th, 2000?
C2. What does a primary election determine?
C3. What is a person called who is qualified and willing to hold an office?
C4. What does the general election determine?
C5. In what month is the general election?
C6. What is it called if Harman is beaten by a candidate from a minor party?
C7. What do you call voters who vote for only their partyís candidates?
C8. Who votes for candidates from different parties?
C9. Who is a voter who votes for a party that he/she has never voted for before?
There were eight candidates that ran in the primary election, five of them moved on. Besides the major party candidates (Harman (D), Kuykendall (R)), there are three other minor party candidates. Daniel Sherman is a member of the Libertarian Party, who is running for the first time for a political office. Mr. Sherman lives in Redondo Beach with his wife and two children. Mr. Sherman works at TRW Space and Electronics, and holds a masterís degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. John R. Konopka from the Reform Party was a 1998 nominee in the congressional election, and is currently campaigning to hold office again. Konopka lives in Los Angeles and is a businessman. Matt Ornati is the candidate for the Natural Law Party. Ornati has run for political office before; in 1998 he was a State Assembly nominee. He lives in Dana Point and works as a Software Account Executive. There are no independents in the election.
D1. How many parties are in the election?
D2. How many major party candidates are in the election?
D3. How many minor party candidates are in the election?
D4. How many independent candidates are in the election?
D5. How many women are in the election?
D6. How many men are in the election?
D7. How many major party women are in the election?
D8. How many major party men are in the election?
D9. How many minor party men are in the election?
The Constitution states that that each state will have at least one representative in the House, and that the other representative positions will be divided among the states. Apportionment is the determination of how district boundaries are to be drawn, after which the left over House seats are apportioned (divided and shared out) properly. Of these seats, Jane Harman wishes to fill the 36th CD position for California. In the case "Wesberry v. Sanders "(1964) the Supreme Court ruled that reapportionment (rearranging districts) should take place in Congressional Districts often. House districts should be as mathematically precise as possible, mistakes acceptable up to 1%. After every ten years a recounting of population density, or decennial census occurs. Federal law states that the numbers of representatives for each state be reapportioned depending on population, by adding, deleting, or simply rearranging districts. The problem of drawing new CD lines every ten years is complicated by the fact that the House of Representatives froze its membership at 435 in 1909. Reapportionment can lead to attempts by the majority party, the party that controls the rearranging, to benefit itself by controlling their position in the state. This attempt to make partisan (following one party) advantage by drawing districts of unusual shape or design is called gerrymandering, which leads to malapportionment. Another way to set districts is to have nonpartisan (not belonging to a party) committees draw the boundaries, or even apply proportional representation where each party receives seats in legislation roughly equal to its proportion of the vote.
E1. What is one way parties attempt to control their percentage of representatives in a state?
E2. What is the decision called of how boundaries are drawn?
E3. After malapportionment are the House seats apportioned correctly?
E4. What court heard the case of "Wesberry v. Sanders"?
E5. How often should reapportionment occur?
E6. How precise should CDís be?
E7. How often is the census taken?
E8. Does federal law require district boundaries to be redrawn?
E9. What are other ways to reapportion districts?
F. Political Parties
Jane Harman belongs to the Democratic Party, one of the two major parties in US politics. In a two party system (political system characterized by two major political groups), the positions of major parties have broad appeal in order to attract votes from people of any demographic group having differing concerns for themselves and the nation. Although people who identify with one party often support positions affiliated with another party. There is and has been a trend of decreasing party loyalty and increasing independence from major parties accompanied by the rise of minor parties.
F1. What political party does Jane Harman belong to?
F2. What are the two major parties in US politics?
F3. What is a two party system?
F4. How do parties attract voters?
F5. Do party members ever stray from their party platform?
F6. Name a continual voting trend?
F7. This trend increases what?
G. Democratic party
Democrats are often more likely to stand for government protection of the individual from corporate power, favoring the provision of environment, and health and old-age Social Security benefits by the government than are Republicans. Harman fits the Democratic position perfectly. She campaigns to help blue-collar workers enter hi-tech industries, to improve public education, health-care reform, and a balanced budget that protects Social Security and Medicare. Other planks in the Democratic Party include affirmative action to overcome the effects of racial and ethnic discrimination, gun control legislation, a strong pro-choice stance, the support of labor unions, opposition to the denial of citizenship to children of illegal aliens, and opposition to school vouchers
G1. Who is more likely to stand for the individual, a Democrat or a Republican?
G2. What do Democrats stand stronger than Republicans for?
G3. Whom do Democrats think the government should protect from corporations?
G4. Do Democrats want more or less health and Social Security benefits?
G5. Does Harman fit a Democratic position?
G6. What is affirmative action?
G7. Are Democrats pro-choice, or pro-life concerning abortion?
G8. What are two other planks held by Democrats?
G9. Are Republicans generally members of labor unions?
In response to the typical Democratic position held in social reform and their political platform, certain demographic groups choose a Democratic voting loyalty. Lower income, lower educated, lower skilled, and lower paid individuals favor Democratic candidates. The employees of businesses, members of labor unions, members of a urban, high density city, workers in the sectors of education, health care, and child care tend to be Democratic. Women, African American, Latino, Native American, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist individuals are likely to be Democratic as well.
G10. Does loyalty form among demographic groups?
G11. Do very high-income individuals generally tend to support Democratic candidates?
G12. Do lower formally educated individuals generally vote Republican?
G13. Do employees or employers usually vote Democrat?
G14. What major party do teachers usually vote for?
G15. Are more women Democrats or Republicans?
G16. What are three religions that tend to vote Democratic?
G17. Do most minorities vote Republican?
Jane Harmanís major party opponent in the November 2000 election is the Republican incumbent in the 36th CD, Steven Kuykendall. Republicans often have higher socio-economic-status than Democrats. That is, they often have a higher income, a higher formal education, and often are more highly skilled than Democrats. The majority of male, middle-aged, white-collar Caucasian citizens vote Republican. WASPs, or white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are usually strong Republicans.
H1. Who is Jane Harmanís biggest competitor in the race for the 36th CD?
H2. What political party does Steven Kuykendall belong to?
H3. Who is the incumbent in the 36th CD?
H4. Are Democrats higher skilled workers than Republicans?
H5. What gender typically votes in support of Republicans?
H6. What is a WASP?
H7. Are Republicans generally white-collar or blue-collar?
I. Interest groups
Jane Harman belongs to many interest groups (or pressure groups), organizations that try to influence what government does to the help its members. She is a recognized member of many business groups, including the United States Chamber of Commerce ("Spirit of Enterprise Award") and the National Federation of Business ("Guardian of Small Business Award"). Education groups like the California Teacherís Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) support Harman. The Sierra Club calls her an "environmental hero". The labor union interest groups, AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers (UAW), both adore her. One of the profession groups, American Nurses Association (ANA), and a womenís group, EMILYís List, endorsed and donated money to her campaign.
I1. What is another name for interest groups?
I2. What do you call a group that tries to influence what government does to benefit its members?
I3. Name a business interest group?
I4. What educational groups support Harman?
I5. Which group called Harman an "environmental hero"?
I6. Name a womenís interest group?
Through lobbying, interest groups sometimes try to influence decisions by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches at the national, state, and local levels of government. Methods of lobbying include: taking direct action; contacting public officials by phone, in person, or in letter; contributing money, equipment, and volunteer workers; gaining an office; social movements like protests, demonstrations; and publicizing to influence parties and public opinion. Interest groups may sway, alter, or influence major and minor political parties and even the general public. Through the open use of mass media, including television and newspaper publicity, and propaganda techniques (ideas, facts, and rumors spread to purposely further a cause), pressure groups can influence public opinions. Public opinion directly affects which party individuals vote for.
J1. What branches of government do interest groups try to influence?
J2. Name a method of lobbying?
J3. Name a social movement?
J4. In which areas of mass media do lobbyists publicize?
K. Origins of the Major Political Parties
The Federalists were the first U.S political party. It grew from the minds of James Madison, George Washington, John Marshall, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. The opposing party, the Anti-Federalists (later known as the Democratic-Republicans), was lead and supported by Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson. For the most part, Federalists supported economic development that favored commerce and bankers. Democratic- Republicans supported farmers, people on the frontier, and debtors hostile to banks. A strong central government was supported by the Federalists, but the Democratic-Republicans wanted the power of the nation to lie solely in the hands of small farmers and debtors, preferring a weaker government. Most importantly, the Federalists pushed to ratify the constitution and give more power to the central government through federalism, a method of governing that the Anti-Federalists strongly opposed. The Federalist Party began to fade away by the War of 1812, and the Democratic-Republicans soon changed their name to the Democrats.
K1. Who composed the first U.S. political party?
K2. Who were the Federalistsí leaders?
K3. Who were the Democratic-Republicansí leaders?
K4. What is another name for the Democratic-Republicans?
K5. What type of businesses do Federalists support?
K6. What type of person does a Democratic-Republican support?
K7. Where does the power of a nation belong in a Democratic-Republicanís eyes?
K8. Which original party prefers a weaker government?
K9. When did the Federalists fade away?
The Republican, or the Grand Old Party (GOP) emerged just before the Civil War, and by the end of the Civil War in 1865, had become the majority party. When Abraham Lincoln and the North won the Civil War, the Republicans began to receive votes from past slaves and abolitionists. The first Republican Presidential candidate was John C. Fremont, later followed by Lincoln who became the first Republican President. Following the Great Depression in 1929, the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and his New Deal legislation regained the majority. The majority vote was recovered through massive social benefit programs. Urban development programs grew, attracting the working class, ethnic groups and incoming immigrants landing in those such cities. The social programs also benefited the farmers, agricultural developers, and white-southerners. The many new strong groups of Democrats, all attracted by FDRís legislation, formed the New Deal Coalition. Democratic representation remained dominant until 1994, but still stays the majority party in registered voters. Republican officials outnumber Democrats only because of greater turnouts of Republicans voters on voting days.
K10. What is another name for the Republican Party?
K11. What does the GOP stand for?
K12. When did the Republicans become the majority party?
K13. Who was their first presidential nominee?
K14. Who was the first Republican President?
K15. Who began to vote Republican after the Civil War?
K16. When did the Democrats regain majority?
K17. Under what President and What slogan?
K18. Why did FDR attract so many democrats?
K19. What are FDRís followers called?
K20. Which party holds the majority in office today?
L. Congressional Information
Jane Harman served for six years in 36th CD in Congress, the legislative, or lawmaking branch of the federal government. It is a bicameral (made up of two chambers) legislature, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 100 US Senators who serve six-year terms for their state. The Constitution gives the two houses similar powers. There are two main reasons why Congress has two houses, rather than a single-house, unicameral system. They are:
(A). To keep a historical tradition because the framers of the Constitution were familiar with the British Parliament, which consists of two houses.
(B). a bicameral legislature offers a way of resolving a major conflict in the writing of the Constitution concerning population representation.
Each member of the House of Representatives serves a two-year term in a Congressional District. Each representative must be 25 years of age, a US citizen for at least 7 years, and a resident in the state in which he or she is elected, but not necessarily a resident of the CD they represent. Currently, California has 52 representative members in the House of Representatives, one of which is Steven Kuykendall (R). The total number of representatives in the House is 435.
L1. What branch is the lawmaking branch of government?
L2. What is a bicameral legislature?
L3. What are the two houses of our legislature?
L4. What is a unicameral system?
L5. What is a reason why we have a bicameral legislation?
L6. How long is a House term?
L7. How many delegates does California currently have?
L8. What is the total number of representatives in the House?
Denny Hastert (R) is a publicity speaker for Harmanís biggest competitor Steven Kuykendall (R), he is also the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The speaker is the most powerful position in Congress, a position that the majority party controls. The speaker assigns bills to committees; gives personal opinion when there are problems in committee selection; appoints conference committee members; and can cast a vote to break a tie. The speaker is second in the chain of presidential replacements, following the vice-president.
L9. Who is the Speaker of the House?
L10. What party controls the speaker position?
L11. Does the speaker currently assign delegates to committees?
M. Powers of Congress
"All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States" (Constitution Article 1, Section 1)
Congress has no general legislative powers, only such powers and authority as are expressly conferred or implied in the Constitution. Many of the expressed powers are defined in Article 1, Section 8. Among these powers include the right "to lay and collect taxes," "borrow money on the credit of the US," "regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states," "coin money," "establish post offices," "declare war," "raise and support armies," and "make all laws" necessary for the execution of its own powers. Powers held solely by the US House of Representatives include:
(A). begin tax bills
(B). begin spending bills
(C). impeach the president, federal judges and justices
M1. In what Article and Section is Congress given most of its powers?
M2. What are two powers held solely by the US House of Representatives?
M3. How does Congress attempt to get rid of a president?
Congressional representatives are assigned to bipartisan (two party) committees by their own party. When a bill is introduced, it is sent to a committee for consideration. Committees then break down their work-load into subcommittees, smaller groups to begin and focus on more specific issues. Committees decide whether a bill will move forward or not, and see that congress properly uses the new legislation. Jane Harman served on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, a standing committee. Standing committees are permanent and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area. Special and select committees are established to investigate specific problems, and are broken up after they give their reports. Joint committees are made of senators and representatives to attack important national problems. Conference committees are made up from both houses, and they settle disputes and make compromises between themselves. The majority party mathematically ends up with the majority of seat positions in each committee. The leader or chair of a committee is decided by party and seniority rule, based on the length of service previously committed. The most important committees are the Ways and Means (taxation), Appropriations (government fund distributor), Budget, Foreign Relations, and the Rules (controls calendar and floor action) committees.
N1. Where do bills go for consideration?
N2. Who assigns representatives to committees?
N3. Are standing committees permanent?
N4. What are the other types of committees?
N5. What decides who becomes committee chair?
N6. What committee controls the floor?
During Americaís War for Independence that begun in 1776, the US government was a confederation, an alliance of cooperating states, which held more power than the central government. Fearing violence, such as Shayís Rebellion (angry farmers rebel), the statesí delegates (mostly white, male, rich, property owning) formed a Constitutional Convention, which met later with 55 representatives from all 12 states. At this meeting the delegates, led by James Madison, invented a new form of government that was a compromise between the strong central government of the unitary form of government (government has all power), and the current government. They decided this form of federalism could possibly work to govern the states. The Federalist Papers were written between 1776 and 1789 under the pen name Publius (authors included Madison, Hamilton, John Jay). These papers were written to gain more Federalist followers and widespread support for the Constitution.
O1. During what war was the US a Confederation?
O2. What event encouraged the Constitutional Convention?
O3. What is a confederation?
O4. Who led the Constitutional Convention and the push for a Federal Government?
O5. What system of government was thought up to work in place of a confederation?
O6. Who wrote the Federalist Papers?
O7. Were the written papers to gain support for the US Constitution that had been written, but not yet
Federalism is a system of government where at least two levels of government have independent political power and can exercise authority directly on the individual. The framer of the Constitution, James Madison figured that a strong central government coexisting with state governments would strengthen the nation. In 1789 the US Constitution written by James Madison received ratification and went into effect. George Washington became the first President under it. Madison also introduces the Bill of Rights to Congress, which took two years to pass. The new form of government would unite the independent states to meet the pressure exerted by foreign powers to make similar laws regulating commerce.
O8. How many branches of government are needed to run a federal government?
O9. Who wrote the constitution?
O10. What year was it the Constitution ratified?
O11. How long did it take for Madisonís Bill of Rights to pass?
P. Federalism in The United States
The system of a federal government was drawn up in the Constitution. The most authority of the national government is expressed in Article I, Section 8, and implied in the "necessary and proper" clause. The national government gained the power to tax, borrow and coin money, to regulate interstate and foreign trade, and to maintain an army and a navy. To balance the Constitutional support of the supremacy clause, the states were given the reserved powers, which are any rights or powers not specifically assigned or denied. State governments could and do supervise matters of education, marriage, divorce, inheritance, elections, and bits and pieces of criminal law. Certain powers controlled by both of the two levels, known as concurrent powers, were also granted. Both the national government and the states have the power to enforce laws, establish courts, tax, borrow money, charter banks, and to build roads.
P1. Where is the original structure of the federal system of government written?
P2. Where does the central governments main power come from?
P3. What powers were the states given?
P4. What are the reserved powers?
P5. What are three matters the state control?
P6. What are concurrent powers?
Q. Separation of Powers
James Madison developed the idea of separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution. Each function of government was distributed to a separate section of the government. Madison established three separate branches, and five levels of government to handle the separate roles. The legislative branch, or Congress, makes the laws. The executive branch, headed by the President, carries out those laws. And the judicial branch, or court system interprets how the laws apply in particular cases.
Q1. What principles did the Madison use to balance the powers?
Q2. How many branches go into each level of government?
Q3. What does Congress do?
Q4. What does the executive branch do?
Q5. What does the judicial branch do?
R. Checks and Balances
To provide a balance to the powers given to each branch of government, Madison created a system of checks and balances. Each branch of government is subject to limits, and restrictions by the other two branches.
Legislative checks on the Executive Branch:
(1). House can impeach president and other high
(2). Senate approves presidential appointments
(3). Senate approves treaties
(4). Congress can overturn presidentís vetoes
(5). Congress controls presidentís programs
Executive checks on the Legislature:
(1). Can veto laws
(2). Influences public opinion
(3). Can call special sessions of Congress
(4). Controls how vigorously laws are enforced
Executive checks on the Judicial Branch:
(1). Appoints judges
(2). Controls how vigorously court orders are
(3). Can pardon people convicted of federal crimes
Judicial checks on the Executive Branch:
(1). Once appointed, presidents cannot harm justices and judges
(2). Can declare presidentís actions unconstitutional
Judicial checks on the Legislature
(1). Decide on meaning of laws
(2). Can rule that laws are unconstitutional
Legislative checks on the Judicial Branch
(1). House can impeach judges
(2). Senate approves appointment of judges
(3). Congress establishes number of Justices on Supreme Court
(4). Congress can propose amendments to overturn Supreme Court decisions