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Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Here's What You Need to Know About the President's 2015 Budget - DUE 4/25

Here's What You Need to Know About the President's 2015 Budget - DUE 4/25 | Brandon Le's GOPO |
Here's how President Obama's budget would grow our economy and expand #OpportunityForAll →

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. Deese cites a historic reduction in the rate of growth of healthcare costs. Programs such as Medicaid and Medicare provide healthcare to citizens, and as a result, the cost is reduced, the deficit experiences a rapid rate of decline, and it is possible to improve.

2. Deese poses the idea that the president’s budget would have the effect of lowering future deficits. The baseline as it stands now predicts that the future deficit for 2024 would be 3.4% as a portion of GDP. The proposed budget would lower that value to 1.6%. This reduction is achieved by focusing on continuing to lower healthcare costs. This frees up funds that can be invested in areas that will help improve the country and economy, such as education and innovation.

3. The president’s proposed budget builds on Congress’ efforts to compromise in discretionary spending through his opportunity, growth, and security initiative. Investment of discretionary funds in these areas is designed to help build the economy and country up so that more jobs can be provided. One aspect of this is the funding for grants such as NIH grants. These function as baseline research grants that perform the groundwork for science innovation in areas such as Alzheimer’s. From the base research conducted by the government, jobs in the private sector will spring up. 650 grants would be provided to NIH alone.

4. This proposed budget is beneficial in that it aims to help create more jobs and opportunities through the opportunity, growth, and security initiative. This is also beneficial in that this can be achieved through closing loopholes where money is being drained unnecessarily, rather than increasing the deficit. This also provides for growth in both economic security and national security. The cons involved with this plan are that there is much discretion in how these plans would be implemented and the likelihood that the reforms would be put into place as they should be. The initiatives described would need to be implemented correctly in order to be beneficial, and the likelihood of this occurring isn’t very high. In addition, this proposes that private businesses that do work with the government wouldn’t have any effect on how the policy and budget changes. 

Cole Hagar's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:40 PM


1. OMB Deputy Director Brian Deese says that the reason for the rapid rate of decline in the deficit is due to healthcare being nationalized and constant job creation.

2. According to Mr. Deese, the proposed budget deficits will continue to fall through 2024 due to the President’s plans and policies that he thinks will do away with waste.

3. The President is distributing the discretionary funding by empowering in things such as research projects that will ultimately benefit our economy in the long run. His initiative is already paid for taking into consideration the deficits.

4. The cons include the nationalization of healthcare which hurts almost everyone except the people without healthcare. The pro is the investment in our future investments which will ultimately help the economy in the long run.

Lauren Smith's curator insight, April 29, 2014 11:50 PM

1. The rapid rate of decline in the deficit is due to a historic reduction in the rate of growth in health care costs. 

2. The President's budget for 2015 will affect future deficits by decreasing the deficit more each year. 

3. The President's budget is trying to build on Congress's effort to compromise in the allocation of discretionary policy by bringing the democrats and republicans to work together to agree on a budget that has set limits for discretionary spending. The President's proposal shows how he'd build on this compromise process and invest in potential resources that would strengthen the economy. 

4. Pros of the proposal:

The deficit would decrease while the opportunities for Americans would increase. it promotes more efficient government management, and with the help of American Opportunity Tax Credit 11.5 million families can pay for their children to go to college.

Cons of the proposal:

It will take years to see the solid changes in the deficit to take effect in the economy and the plan will need bipartisan party support to work, and right now the majority of the government is divided. 

Tanner Roan's curator insight, April 30, 2014 7:50 PM

1. The rapid decrease of the deficit comes from the lowered cost of things like healthcare.

2. According to Mr. Deese, the deficit would begin to fall to around 1.6% as long as they keep decreasing the costs of things like healthcare.

3. The new budget is proposing to focus more on infrastructure and early education, but even then no one program is getting special attention budget wise. a component is the increase of funding for preschool education.

4. The idea of splitting the budget to help in so man ways sounds like a good plan to help support growth in the nation, but at the same time it seems to be very idealistic about what it will actually be able to accomplish. when spreading the budget out over so many fields, it can be easy to overestimate the impact it will actually have on the nation.

Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Obama going it alone, pressing ahead on reforms for federal contractors with executive orders - DUE 4/11!

Obama going it alone, pressing ahead on reforms for federal contractors with executive orders - DUE 4/11! | Brandon Le's GOPO |
President pushing contractor changes with executive orders, moving without help from Congress

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

President Obama has decided to use executive orders to enact change regarding the pay of federal employees because he lacks congressional support to pass any legislation. Legislation that would achieve the same purposes as the executive orders would likely be killed in Congress and wouldn’t be able to have an effect. The White House hopes that with changing the federal contractors, that it will induce change in all employers.

Obama’s executive order is limited in that it directly affects only a small number of the entire population. The executive order can only have an effect on those who are paid with taxpayer dollars. Similar issues arise with executive orders in general. They most directly affect governmental institutions and officials and entities. It is the hope that the policies in executive orders would be carried over to the general population and companies.

Republicans are saying that Obama is pushing his power to use executive orders too far and past its intended use. They believe he should try harder and do more to work with Congress, rather than attempting to go around it. These specific orders are expected to bring criticisms of bringing an undue burden on companies and increasing their costs.

The White House has chosen not to pursue an anti-discrimination order that would protect gays and lesbians working for federal contractors. They have said in the past that it would be redundant for an executive order to be passed if a similar bill is passed in Congress and has White House approval and support. These statements have been criticized, and the examples of this argument not being used before in issues of minimum wage or anti- “gag rule” orders being imposed were brought up. The Obama administration is likely hesitant to address this area because it is so controversial. The issue of gay rights is very polarizing and any attempt by Obama to assuage the issue would likely result in large protests and drops of public support. 

Ivan Dominguez's curator insight, April 14, 2014 9:02 AM

Obama is enacting an executive order to raise the pay for federal employees,and so women get paid equally as men. The order needs to get approved by the senate,and Obama is lacking congressional support. The limitations are that the president is limited to feral government contacts and has to be approved by congress. The major criticism is that the executive order will affect the basic cost of a product because they have to find a way to pay those employees, and overall the result will be inflation. The White House decided to not include an executive order on gay right issues because the Obama doesn’t want to interfere if Congress may give support in new legislation because that as that may make Congress give due to redundancy

Alex Speed's curator insight, April 16, 2014 11:54 AM

1.) Obama was forced to use an executive order because he does not have the support of congress, however he can pass legislation that will have the same effect by using an executive order. However,the limit of using an executive order is that it does not effect all US citizens.

2.) The general population is skeptical of executive orders because they do not require congressional approval, which seems like a manipulation of government. This specific order faces scrutiny for its potential with lawsuits on private companies 

3.) The Obama administration has chosen not to enact orders that will effect sexual discrimination because that is congress's situation. Obama doesn't want to create sort of bias in congress that will negatively impact this legislation

Taig Lyons's curator insight, April 17, 2014 9:59 AM


Why has President Obama chosen to enact an executive order regarding pay of federal employees?
The president can have an impact over the part of the economy he directly controls. This move looks good and can have an impact with federal contractors in the broader economy.

What are the limitations on Obama’s executive order and executive orders in general?
Executive orders apply pretty much only to sectors the president has direct control over, like the bureaucracy and the military.

What criticism is being levied against presidents’ use of executive orders? What is the criticism of this specific executive order?
The criticism is that the order will effect very few people and that it's really just an example more than anything. There's no pressure for non-federal contractors to follow suit.

What policy area has the White House chosen not to address with executive orders? Why might the Obama administration be hesitant to address this area?
The White House has not made an executive order regarding the protection of gays and lesbians in the federal bureaucracy, because it hopes to get a law passed that would cover this topic nationwide.

Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Gerrymandering: the recipe for dysfunctional government? - DUE 3/28

Video on The age-old practice of politicians re-drawing Congressional districts to find friendly voters, or, gerrymandering, has allowed members of the House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle to stay in power regardless of...

Via Teresa Herrin, Kelly Grossman, Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. State legislatures redraw congressional districts every 10 years after the census has been conducted. Legislators look for the best way to redraw boundary lines so that that district will elect a candidate from the state’s majority party. Districts are drawn so that members of a particular party are concentrated in that district, so that a candidate from that party will be elected into Congress. This is known as gerrymandering, and it allows for the maximum number of candidates from a particular party to be elected into Congress.

2. Gerrymandering makes incumbency an even more important factor. Even though Democrats and Republicans had 15% approval ratings in 2012, 90% of the congressional candidates were reelected. The districts are drawn so that a party is concentrated in that area, thereby impacting incumbency by making it easier for them to get reelected to familiar and friendly districts.

3. The video suggests that the issues associated with gerrymandering can be solved by using algorithms that deal with geography and population size in order to eliminate the political nature that congressional redistricting has become. This would make it more difficult for incumbents to get reelected. They will no longer be able to rely solely on the fact that their constituents would be the same political party as them. They would need to serve the needs of the entire re-drawn constituency, and vote for policies that would benefit the largest number of them. They would have to actually focus on what their constituents want, rather than relying on political affiliation.

4. Both the Electoral College and gerrymandering can end up in a disparity between the popular vote and the end result of that vote. Even though one party could technically receive a larger number of votes in total for Congressional elections, they could have a smaller portion of representatives than the opposing party. The video mentions how Democrats received 1.1 million more votes than Republicans on a national level, yet the Republican Party was able to add 33 additional members to Congress and gain a majority in the House in 2012. This can also happen with the Electoral College. The election between Al Gore and George W. Bush ended with Gore carrying the popular vote, yet Bush becoming president because he won the Electoral College. The “districts” (electoral states) created the same disparity.

5. Benefitting both parties doesn’t make the practice of gerrymandering acceptable. The parties at large may be benefitting, but that doesn’t mean that the individual is. Gerrymandering prevents the individual voice from being heard. Those who have opinions that are different than the gerrymandered district aren’t able to voice their opinion to the greatest extent possible. Gerrymandering makes it possible to stamp out that individual voice. In addition, it makes it difficult to get anything done in Congress. It’s somewhat easier to regain control of a part of Congress and block the other from getting any legislation passed. 

Mason Paul Lyman's curator insight, April 2, 2014 9:41 PM

1. The House redraws the congressional districts every 10 years on the census in an attempr to make the districts lend their support to whoever the current party majority is.

2. Gerrymandering allows incumbents to get reelected multiple times. 

3. Have a computerized, neutral program that would create districts based on geography and demography. A program such as this would make it more difficult for incumbents to get reelected.

4. Yes, there are. One party could earn more votes than another but still lose the election.

5. No because it is an unhonorable way to earn the respective benefits.

Jessica Markle's curator insight, April 12, 2014 2:09 PM

gerymandering is the act of redrawing a district and its has gotten its name from Albridge Garry who redrew a district in the beginning of our country in order for him to win a vote. The redrawing of the districts almost guarantees a win in voting because it allows the politicians to choose their voters. In the video, suggested possible solutions to gerrymandering would be to redraw district lines according to geography, demographics, and population density but it would cause a disruption in the current system and would make it very difficult for a representative to be reelected to a district that doesn't have the same advantages. Gerrymandering can be compared to the electoral college because these systems don't work in the favor of the public, or the majority vote because with the representatives picking the districts containing people they know will vote for them along with the electoral college being able to override the public vote, it has caused question in the democratic system of the United States.

Lauren Sargent's curator insight, April 17, 2014 9:47 PM

The term gerrymandering comes from an 1810 law that was created by Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts, which repositioned and defined congressional districts based on population changes. After the law was passed, newspaper articles came out with pictures of the re-drawn districts in concerning shapes, such as a salamander. They linked the two words “salamander” and “Gerry” and called it gerrymandering. As time has gone on, gerrymandering has been manipulated by both the Republican and Democratic parties by them re-drawing districts specifically to change the possible outcome of their “political cartoon” if you will. House seats are being re-apportioned every presidential election year. The video suggested that these means of politics have made it so that “the politicians are choosing their voters, rather than the voters choosing their politicians”. This is causing major distrust in candidates and decrease in voter participation. Gerrymandering has been beneficial to incumbents because they change their districts to work in favor of their election. Both the Electoral College and gerrymandering can be seen as unfair or corrupt government practices because they can sometimes both not accurately depict the peoples' votes by changing their districts. With the Electoral College, they could win a majority of the electoral votes, but not the majority vote. With gerrymandering, a politician would be elected just because of the re-drawn, manipulated districts, which is ridiculous. 

Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » 2016 presidential ratings update: Nothing but questions on the Republican side

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » 2016 presidential ratings update: Nothing but questions on the Republican side | Brandon Le's GOPO |

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. The article makes it appear that the media is looking for a candidate that is completely clean and “vetted,” and is appealing to everyone. The Republican field is filled with candidates that have a strong political background and morals, with critiques showing that the personality doesn’t fit or some other factor lessens their appeal. The Democratic field is focused mainly on Hilary Clinton and whether she decides to run or not.
2. Sabato doesn’t appear to be too focused on the actual issues and the candidates’ views and platform on them. Rather, he is more focused on the general senses of support they already have, and what factors make them appear less appealing or would lessen their chances in a primary, with factors such as personality, age, and name recognition being named.
3. The “permanent presidential campaign” refers to the fact that once one decides to run for president, the campaigning doesn’t stop. They will give up their entire lives and their privacy and be watched due to the high profile nature and importance of the president. They will campaign every waking moment—even extending to after being elected president if that happens, where the president must focus on keeping public support and being able to get reelected if they choose. The implications of this for government are that the president is always trying to please the public. The president attempts to keep the public informed and appease them so that he can retain their support. This can sometimes lead to democracy and the government’s procedure being threatened.
4. There is an advantage to being identified as an early leader. This allows the candidate’s name to be spread around the public. This, in turn, allows the public to investigate the candidate and talk about them. There is, however, the danger of the media focusing too singularly on that one candidate. This could cause any possible wrongdoings or “skeletons in the closet” to become unearthed, which would likely dissuade voters.

Sean Kelly's curator insight, March 6, 2014 10:19 PM

1. The media is, overall, looking for a candidate that is somehow associated with government, and not associated with the government at large. The candidate needs connections, but not popular connections - they need to have a name of themselves without latching on to anyone elses name. They also are looking for a good personality, and an appeal to both sides of the political parties. This is true for Democrats and Repbulicans, except for tiny details - mainly Democrats need to have a steady, but not heavy, tone of liberalism while the Repbulicans need to tone down their conservatism.

2. Sabato does not mention party platforms for the candidates, except with Brian Schweitzer when his conseravtism on guns and the environment are listed as disadvantages.

3. the "permanent presidential campaign" refers to the tendency of government officials to always be vying for the presidential slot in the closest election year. There is always consideration for who would be the next president.

4. I would say it would be a disadvantage to be labeled as an early leader - people like the idea of an underdog story, of someone who has taken a rise to power. To be labeled as an early leader would be to be put as an "obvious choice," and so would be to be put in a bad light with the public as they feel their opinion is being downtrodded by that specific candidate.

Christine Thompson's comment, March 18, 2014 4:10 PM
I noticed that some people have the same/very similar wording on the "permanent presidency" question. Please do not "borrow" another student's work... and please be careful of plagiarism.
Lauren Smith's curator insight, March 19, 2014 6:44 AM

1. The media is looking for someone who is nationally known and has political experience, supported by some poplitical group, and they must be dynamic in speeches and campains. In addition, the canditate should have beliefs that are well alligned with their political party and have fundraising resources.

2. Sabato is focused more on the basic qualities of the politicians and has pointed out positive and negitive aspects for each potential candidate. He is not focused on each potential candidate's entire political platform yet because the point of his article is to introduce the candidates as potential, not certain, runners.

3. When Sabato refers to  the "permanent presidential campaign" he is refering to the presidential campaign in 2016 where the candidates for each party are surely running for president. These are the people that have decided to run and are no longer potential candidates.

4. I do not think there is an advantage in being identified as an early leader in the presidential race because the media can draw negitive attention to the candidate before they can defend or explain themselves. It doesn't matter who is the leader at the beginning of the race, it only matters who is the leader at the end of it. Therefore, it would be pointless to take any lead before the presidential race has begun because no one cares about that yet.

Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Texan Hispanics Tilt Democratic, but State Likely to Stay Red - DUE 2/20

Texan Hispanics Tilt Democratic, but State Likely to Stay Red - DUE 2/20 | Brandon Le's GOPO |
Texas remains a Republican-leaning state because its white residents are becoming increasingly Republican and its large Hispanic population, though solidly Democratic, is less so than Hispanics nationally.

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. Democrats are hopeful of a party realignment due to the growing Hispanic and Democratic African-American populations. Both groups lean towards being Democrat, creating the option for Texas to be moved from its constant “red state” into one that is more competitive between the two parties. This relates to the concept of minority majority, where the minorities are beginning to grow enough in size to overtake the predominantly white majority in voting.
2. In Texas, whites tend to vote Republican, Hispanics lean towards Democratic, although more growth has been seen in Hispanic support for the Republican Party in recent years. African Americans tend to vote Democrat as well.
3. Texas is becoming more of a majority minority state in population, but this fact isn’t translating over to voting. This is because the political participation of Hispanics is low. There is a large number of Hispanics that aren’t registered to vote, and therefore they cannot have an effect on realignment by participating in the political process and voting, which would make realignment more probable because of their tendency to vote Democrat.
4. Several steps were taken in order to ensure a low sampling error. There was a random sample of 178,527 adults living in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. Interviews were conducted over both landlines and cell phones, with a 50/50 split between the two. The numbers called were selected randomly. The samples were also weighted to match gender, race, age, Hispanic ethnicity, education, and other national demographic factors.

Holland Coleman's curator insight, February 20, 2014 11:28 PM

1. Democrats are hopeful of a party realignment in Texas because of the state's growing Hispanic population--Hispanics are consistently left-leaning--which represents an influx of blue voters that could tip the scales of the state. Soon, the state's white cititzens will make up less than half of the population, and the state will have a minority majority.


2. The party identification trend in Texas is that any given demographic will be more right-leaning than nationally. For instance, even though Hispanics in Texas still lean left, the margin by which Hispanic blue voters outweigh Hispanic red voters is much smaller. 


3. Despite any meteoric rise in Texas' Hispanic population, this demographic is unlikely to exercise its newfound political clout because Hispanic voters are much less likely to participate in elections than other demographics. The real challenge for Democrats therefore is not to win over the Hispanic population--they already lean left--but to get them to register and vote.


4. The study was a random survey conducted by telephone. Respondents were found using random-dialing methods in an even geographical spread. 50% of respondents were reached by landline, and the other 50% of respondents were reached by cell phone, to control for demographic trends regarding phone use. 

Lauren Smith's curator insight, February 21, 2014 12:22 AM

1. Democrats are hopeful for a party realignment in Texas because Texas is predominantly a Republican state, yet this poll suggests that the democrats are pulling more weight in Texas than before. If Texas were to become a more democratic state, then the Democrats would have a larger advantage in the number of voters and influence. The population of Hispanics in Texas is increasing in Texas and, along with African Americans in the state, are voting more democratic. However, the majority of Texans are white and vote republican. This shows that the minority majority struggle that the minorities are beginning to surpass the number of majority people in Texas. 

2. The trends in party identification in Texas are that the white Texans vote mostly republican, while the minorities vote more democratic. The Hispanic Texans were mostly republican in 2008 during the time of Obama's election, but now they have tended to follow the national trend to vote more democratic.  

3. Gallup suggests that the current situation of small percentages of Hispanic adult registered voters will unlikely cause a realignment of Texas to a democratic state. This is related to political participation in that there is a low percentage of Hispanic Texans who are actually registered to vote. This causes the Hispanic democrats to be poorly represented in the state.  Therefore the republicans who vote will keep Texas a more republican state.

4. Steps that were taken by Gallup to reduce sampling error were to conduct recent telephone interviews (in Spanish as well if needed to communicate to the respondent) with a random sample that included over 178,000 adults in all 50 states and in D.C., the interviews were 50% on cell phones and 50% on land lines, and there were weighted samples based on unequal selection probability and national demographics. 

Jordan Nguyen's curator insight, February 23, 2014 5:04 PM

1. If Texas has a party realignment it could be a huge change to the republican-democrat ratio. Texas is the largest republican majority state.  The minority Hispanic population as a cumulative has become the larger majority. The population is under the democratic influence more than anything else. 

2. The larger white majority will identify republican. The rest of the population will identify as democratic. 

3. Even though the minority is slowly becoming a majority the minority Hispanic population does not yet build the larger portion of population.The smaller Minority groups that makeup a majority combined are least likely to vote as well. This hinders the democratic party because there is no political participation.

4. There are several different groups looked at and not a single controlled specific type targeted, but the idea that the poll only targets people in Texas and divides them by race is not helping low sampling error. 

Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Roberts Pulls Supreme Court to the Right Step by Step - DUE 4/18!

Roberts Pulls Supreme Court to the Right Step by Step - DUE 4/18! | Brandon Le's GOPO |
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may work slowly, but he has a long-term strategy for putting his mark on the Supreme Court.

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. Roberts’ court decisions have consistently favored conservatives and their view. He has been able to persuade justices that lean liberal to uphold parts of legislation that support conservative views. For example, Roberts wrote the opinion regarding Medicaid that allowed states to opt out of the law’s expansion.

2. Precedent is using past decisions as a guide in making current ones. What stood in the past is what is used to decide what occurs in the present. The Roberts court has made rulings based on precedent when dealing with business. They reinforce previous decisions and do not change what has already been laid down.

3. The Obama administration has an overall poor record in defending their interest in the Supreme Court due to philosophical differences between the administration and the court’s conservative majority. The President could see greater success in the Court by influencing who makes the decisions through appointments, choosing justices and judges that will fit better philosophically, using the media to help persuade the public and change public opinion, and attempting to choose issues that are slightly less polarizing and controversial. In addition, it is possible for the administration to focus on the long run and its effects when trying to persuade the public and the justices.

4. Justice Kennedy’s vote is the most valuable vote, acting as a “swing vote” in the Court. This is because there is a possibility for him to lean either way, conservative or liberal. He leaned left in six cases, and right in 10 cases, of the most closely divided cases recently.

5. There is a noticeable bias within the article. It centers largely around Roberts and his decisions alone. Because he leans conservative, there is a discernible absence of the other side. The Obama administration and liberal cases are largely ignored and aren’t discussed in the article. 

Anna Fisher's curator insight, April 21, 2014 11:56 PM

1. The opposite party has been favored in Robert's court conditions. "He took pains to note that eight members of the court, including its four liberals, had already agreed that “things have changed in the South” and that the voting law seemed at odds with principles of federalism and “equal sovereignty” among the states."

2. "In the last term, the court issued 73 signed decisions in argued cases, in line with recent terms and about half the number the court routinely issued two decades ago. Justice Kennedy was in the majority 83 percent of the time in divided cases, trailed by Chief Justice Roberts at 73 percent. Justice Scalia brought up the rear, at 58 percent." So, Chief Robert's precedent would be Justice Kennedy and the majority does not typically rule in Robert's court.

3. “Obama’s poor overall record,” Professor Winkler added, “is largely due to philosophical differences with the court’s conservative majority.” The way this could be fixed is through compromise in parties, maybe not being too liberal and considering some of the conservative ideas. 

4. Justice Salina is considered the swing vote. Salina said that the majority needs to respect the President and the views of this. People still needs the power to govern themselves.

5. No, this article is factual and simply allows the reader to make their own opinion on the matter. 

Stephanie Shirley's curator insight, April 23, 2014 12:35 AM

1.The Roberts Court has a very conservative record that has been beneficial for business interests and detrimental to consumers and employees. They  cut back on class action lawsuits and favored arbitration. 

2. Precedent is making a decision based on prior decisions. In business cases, the court largely reaffirmed its prior decisions.
3. Obama's poor record is due to philosophical differences with the Supreme Court Justices. One strategy that the President could pursue to see greater success in the Court would be to compromise on issues and try to get legislation passed that is more bipartisan. 4. Justice Kennedy is considered the "swing vote" on the court because in some cases he votes liberal and in some he votes conservative. There are four liberals and four conservatives on the Court. 5. Yes, because it describes Chief Justice Roberts and his accomplishments in a positive way. "His patient and methodical approach has allowed him to establish a robustly conservative record."  
Ivan Dominguez's curator insight, April 24, 2014 12:41 AM

Roberts strongly supports conservative parties and decisions; “seven justices, including two liberals, agreed to sign an opinion that over time could restrict race-conscious admissions plans at colleges and universities.” This court has been the most pro-business in the past few years. A precedent is citing a previous case in order to successfully win a similar one. And Roberts court looks at all precedents set before any case is tried. The Obama administration has an overall poor record in defending their interests in the Supreme Court because the philosophical ideal differences within the administrations is very high. Justice Anthony Kennedy is most often the swing vote of the court. He typically goes back and forth between the conservatives and liberals. This article seems biased in favor of liberal stand points, but also gives credit to the Chief Justice  Roberts.

Rescooped by Brandon Le from AP Government and Politics - Assigned "Scoops"!

Senate Balks at Obama Pick for Surgeon General

Senate Balks at Obama Pick for Surgeon General | Brandon Le's GOPO |
The White House is considering putting off a Senate vote on Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, who has come under criticism from the National Rifle Association, or withdrawing the nomination altogether.

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. Interest groups such as the NRA are able to exercise influence by mobilizing the “grassroots,” or the public. They do so by sending out alerts and information to citizens that urge them to petition their senators and representatives. The people, in this case of Murthy’s appointment, can encourage their senators to not vote for Murthy’s appointment for the Surgeon General to be confirmed. This makes it difficult for senators that are up for reelection in anti-gun control pro-2nd amendment states with constituents that are urging against his confirmation. The NRA is concerned with the fact that Murthy has come out in the past as promoting the limitation of ammunition purchases, removing restrictions for the funding of antigun advocacy research, and increasing restrictions on who is able to obtain and own a gun. Basically, Murthy has advocated for stricter gun control, a policy that contradicts the NRA’s objectives.

2. Senators are in trouble with regards to reelection. It’s very difficult to get reelected when you don’t listen to your constituents and vote for things that would go against what they want. The greatest danger is in states that are very anti-gun control, such as Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

3. The President and White House play a role in this confirmation process in that the President is the one who appoints the candidates that needs to be confirmed. He and the White House are also able to help advocate for the candidate as well and strategize as to how to get the candidate confirmed. The Senate plays the role as a check on power by either approving or rejecting the appointment.

4. The White House can employ a number of strategies. It’s possible to increase Democratic support of Murthy, to postpone the vote until after mid-term elections, or to have Murthy drop out and withdraw completely. Recent nominations had difficulty with getting confirmed and weren’t in many cases. The White House learned that they need to rethink and strategize about how best to approach the situation because they can lose only 6 Democrats in the vote, thanks to not  being able to rely on much Republican support. 

Sam Johnson's curator insight, April 7, 2014 9:59 AM

The NRA is exercising it's influence by basicaly telling democratic Senators in Conservative States if you support Obama's nomination, you will loose our support. The loss of the NRA's support could keep those democrats from being reelected. The White House could offer a compromise to get Murthy approved. For example they could offer to consider a ballanced budget bill in exchange for supporting Murthy.

Jordan Nguyen's curator insight, April 8, 2014 1:24 AM

1. The NRA is using it's influence in order to persuade the senators to disapprove of the appointment made by President Obama. With ties between the senate democrats and the White House already wearing thin, and the majority of the Democratic senators up for election, the senators are put in a tough situation.The nominee 'Dr. Murthy, who has voiced support for various gun control measures like an assault weapons ban, mandatory safety training and ammunition sales limits" which is upsetting to the NRA.

2. The senators have reached the beginning of the midterm election season and need to get reelected in order to climb to greater power. The NRA having so much influence to certain politics will have a major affect of campaigners who have already decided to approve of the appointment of Dr. Murthy. 

3. The President is the individual who nominates whomever to get appointed by the senate. Through confirmation the President may have a  "guestimate" at who will approve the appointment. 

4. The White House with its' influence may try to use that as bargain in rebuttal to the NRA which is threatening the Senators.  Dr. Murthy will probably be appointed but the completion of the official appointment itself will have to wait until after midterm elections. 

Zachary Smart's curator insight, April 8, 2014 11:52 PM

1.An interest group like the NRA is using its power to influence the appointment of the Attorney General because he opposes guns, therefor he is for gun regulation.

2. Senators who vote for Murphy are more likely to not be reelected in the states where the NRA holds power. This makes it to where their approval rating drops, and to where their constituents are likely to vote against them.

3. The White House/President has the ability to delay an appointment or remove the candidate from the process entirely. The Senate must approve/vote for the appointee, so the president and the senate have a tight relationship.

4. The president must have more support from the democratic senators over republicans if he is to have his appointment approved. The president recently found out that he has to make a compromise between both parties of the house.

Scooped by Brandon Le!

An education about the Electoral College

An education about the Electoral College | Brandon Le's GOPO |
Mo Rocca, host of the film "Electoral Dysfunction" airing on PBS, helps us understand just what the Electoral College is, how it affects our choosing the president, and introduces us to one lawmaker's plan to abolish it.

Footage from "Electoral Dysfunction" courtesy of Trio Pictures.
Brandon Le's insight:

1. The constitution states that the Electoral College is made up of electors from each state, with the number of electors per state being equal to the number of representatives in the House plus the number of senators. The District Columbia is given three electors, even though it has no formal representation in Congress itself. The system was put in place by the founding fathers because they wished to prevent any one side from having too much sway in the decision. They didn’t want Congress to have sole power to select the president because they felt it gave too much power to the federal government. They also didn’t want the people to have the entire say because they didn’t have widespread, dispersed information about each of the candidates. They also wished for states to not hold the decision because each state would put forth a “favorite son,” or favored candidate, which would lead to elections being decided in the House.

2. The common strategy of getting to 270 is focusing on large states with large populations, thereby having larger numbers of electors, such as Texas and California, and swing states where the vote could go either way. It’s not necessary for the candidate to win a majority of states in order to get to 270 this way, they simply need states with a large number of electoral votes. “Safe” states are those that can reliably be trusted to vote for a certain party. These are the states that are staunchly one party dominated, and there is little chance of swaying from that dominant party. These states typically receive less attention from candidates as a result. “Swing” states are those that lie in the middle, where there is a past history of voting both Democratic and Republican. There is a possibility to go to either the Republican or Democratic candidate in each election, and as such, these states usually receive a large amount of attention from candidates.

3. When no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes, the decision is left up to the House of Representatives. The top 3 candidates with the most electoral votes are sent to the House where the decision is made. Each state has one vote that can be cast in favor of a candidate.

4. The 2000 election was an incident in which the candidate who won the popular vote didn’t want the presidency. Al Gore received the popular vote, yet George Bush became president because he received the necessary 270 electoral college votes. This brought about debates as to whether the electoral college truly reflects the will of the people.

5. I am currently satisfied with the system in place. Although I don’t believe that it’s a perfect system, I think it’s the best system possible. It’s designed so as to prevent any one entity from having too much sway and influence, just as the government itself is structured into three branches that all have checks on the others. Each state’s dominant choice is reflected through the course of the system, and it ties into the preexisting structure of representation in the Constitution. 

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Americans' Satisfaction With Economy Sours Most Since 2001 - DUE 2/24!

Americans' Satisfaction With Economy Sours Most Since 2001 - DUE 2/24! | Brandon Le's GOPO |
More Americans today are satisfied with where the nation stands on acceptance of gays and lesbians, federal taxes, and healthcare availability than were satisfied in 2001. But Americans' satisfaction with the economy has declined.

Via Christine Thompson
Brandon Le's insight:

1. The 13 year gap encompasses the time from the closing of the dot-com boom and the beginning of the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to now. These, as well as other historical events such as war and a changing presidency, most definitely explain the changes seen in public opinion. Americans are less satisfied with some conditions of the government, such as the economy and the nature/power of government. These can be explained by the large financial burdens placed on the US as well as increased role of the US in worlds affairs. Similarly, the increases in satisfaction with social issues, such as gay rights and race relations, can also be explained. The increased legislation for same-sex marriage and the election of an African American president help explain these increases.
2. The data represented in the table do support both the book’s and my own expectations of how liberals and conservatives would see the government. There are areas where each party is satisfied according to the current state of the nation and their beliefs, such as the area regarding the level of immigration, with Democrats being more satisfied than Republicans. This trend follows for the majority of the other categories, and the large gapes of satisfaction between the two parties represents the divided ideologies and beliefs that each party is expected to have.
3. These results imply that Republicans would support typical conservative legislation, such as restriction on abortions and immigration reform. Democrats would also support traditional liberal policy, such as higher gun control and an increased availability of healthcare through the affordable healthcare act.
4. The +/- 4% sampling error indicates that there is a possible +4% or -4% error in the poll’s results at a 95% confidence level. This doesn’t impact the interpretation of the poll because this is a low sampling error, meaning that the results would be largely the same even with the errors.

Anna Fisher's curator insight, February 24, 2014 1:41 PM

1. The historical events do change the opinions of the people, specifically 9/11, because it makes people lose trust in the government. The people are much less satisfied with the world affairs.

2. They do coincide with my expectations, because liberal/conservative usually go with republican and democratic ideas. Liberals believe that the state shouldn't play such a big role, while conservative believes in more strict law.

3. Republicans believe that the environment is doing pretty well, while the Democrats disagree. Democrats think that health care is doing great, while Republicans differ. The key points that Republicans and Democrats believe in, they disagree on.

4. This is the margin of error, so the people interviewed are fairly confident in their answer. Smaller the margin of error, the more reliable the poll. 

Sean Kelly's curator insight, February 24, 2014 11:34 PM

1. The terror attacks and the dot-com boom changes do explain the changes in public opinion because the relative feelings of safety and economic immunity, i.e. no one will mess with the US, are gone.

2. These results do coincide because the Democrats liberal views fit in with the government doing more to intervene with certain policies, and the conservative Republican views fit into the idea of Conservatives limiting government controls across all fronts, and their "return to the good times" attitude.

3. The Democrats would be more likely to support gun control and penal system reform, while the Republicans would enjoy a cut on the higher income bracket taxes and the loss of gun control laws.

4. The 4% error potential means that the sampling is most likely within 4% of the general popluations overall view. This means the data is not exactly precise, but does give a good ball park idea to work in for the numbers.

Mason Paul Lyman's curator insight, March 3, 2014 4:32 PM

1. For the most part, yes, due to the war in the Middle East, however, not all social factors would be.


2. Yes. Democrats are more satisfied with liberal issues, and Republican favor conservative issues.


3. Democrats would probably push for more concern for global warming and tighter gun laws, as democrats are generally liberal. Republicans would probably push for less government intervention, as republicans are generally conservative.


4. The results could be shifted +/- 4%, which is relatively small. It puts into mind the thought that much of our information in corrupt.