American Heritage 100 :: Fall 2006 [/\\] BYU

my student notes and resources from amh 100 at byu. i can make mistakes, so corrections are welcome.

use 'search this blog' above to search through my notes.

as an international student, i don't know much about american heritage either.

Nov 1, 2006

Politics as Usual

I. Structure and function of politics
A. The necessity of consent
B. Democratic and Elitist Impulses
1. Filtered consent
2. Democratic impulse

II. Elections
A. Plurality vs. Majority

III. Why American has a two-party system
A. Independent election of the president
B. Single representative districts
C. The weakness of political parties

IV. How the system influences politics
A. Centrism vs extremism
1. Negative ads

V. What makes Americans vote?


-at first representatives in government were not paid, and gave service out of civic virtue
-only people who could occupy an elected office are the wealthy who don't need to be paid

Filtered consent
constitution contains structures which allow opportunities for both the wealthy and the common man

Pure democracy
-everyone votes on every issue

Filtered democracy
-we vote for representatives (congress) and they vote on issues

House of representatives elected for 2 years only

House of representatives represent a small electoral district
Senate represents the whole nation
Executive represents the whole nation

Senators stay in office 6 years, (much more removed from people)
Originally state legislatures chose senators, now senators are chosen by direct election by the people

(over time this country moves away from an elitist model more towards a democratic model)

who votes for supreme court justice?
-the president nominates a supreme court justice, very much removed from people
-supreme court justices serve for life (or until they retire)

We are moving away from filtered consent,
[see slides for presidential election results by state 2000]

Electoral college

MEDIA CLIP: explains electoral college
-electoral college explained
-needed 270 electoral college votes to win in 2000
-it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the electoral college vote
-if the electoral college ties, the congress (house of representatives) votes to break the tie

Democratic Impulse
-recall elections - Gray Davis of CA (lost to arnold schwarzeneger)
Voter initiatives
-Utah's proposition 3 (transit tax)
Efforts to dismantle electoral college

Who is running for the senate seat in utah?
Orin Hatch Pete Ashcroft are running for senator in utah

Presidental Election, 1860
(lincoln running against douglas, bell and others)

Majority 50.00001% or more
Plurality winnning by have the largest percentage of vote, though not a majority

Why America has a 2 party system
-Independent election of the president
-Single representative districts
-Weak political parties

MEDIA CLIP: Parliamentary system in Israel
-tiny radical parties hold political sway

america votes for the person and not the party
american is a centrist and non-extremist political system

MEDIA CLIP: spoof, moving towards the middle
-SNL spoof, George W. Bush and father talking about how to dance over to the middle
-slip slide, avoid questions, sneaky, be vague

In american politics a politician will usually portray himself as moderate and his opponent as an extremist.

MEDIA CLIP: jibjab: bush vs Kerry
-Bush portrays Kerry as extremist, and portrays self as middle of road guy
-Kerry portrays Bush as extremist, and portrays self as middle of road guy

John Quincy Adams vs Andrew Jackson
same thing, portraying the other as extremist

What makes americans vote?

[class discussion]


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