2) Why are some people more likely to get involved in political activity than others? What are the key factors explaining participation? Given these factors, what could be done to increase turnout in American elections?
3) Interest groups can be viewed as a way in which people come together and amplify their input into the political system. Explain how groups are able to give greater political voice to their members. Do you think interest groups, as a whole, facilitate or undermine representative government?
4) Parties have a bad reputation in the US, but any social institution persists over time because it is useful to some people in society and fulfills certain needs or functions that the society has. Political parties have been a very durable social institution in the US. Discuss the ways they are useful and the societal needs they satisfy. Do you think parties have a primarily good or bad impact on society?
5) In a democracy, political power is meant to be equally distributed, because no person has any more inherent right to rule than anyone else. As the Supreme Court has noted in the context of US House districts, an important principle is "one person, one vote." To what extent do American campaigns and elections fail to support this principle of democratic equality?
6) What are the key characteristics of the legislative process? Does this process work well? How could it be improved?
7) Many people have argued that the president is the most powerful individual in the country, if not the world. Discuss the factors that make the president powerful. Do you think presidential power varies across the different roles (functions/hats) of the office? Do Americans expect too much of the president—does the office provide the power to meet the public’s expectations for presidential leadership?
8) Many Americans complain about “unaccountable” bureaucrats making decisions about policy. But, there are many ways in which the major political institutions, like the president, Congress and the courts, control and shape bureaucratic activity. Discuss how these institutions attempt to control the bureaucracy. How well do they do it? Do you think the bureaucracy is effectively held accountable to the people’s interests and preferences?
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It is important for individuals to have an opinion on how they should be governed as well as being involved in the crafting of policy that affect their day to day lives. Sometimes in democratic institutions, the priorities of the people may be disconnected with the priorities of the political system and the political institutions. Elections may sometimes not necessarily reflect the one man one vote system and may be representative. Congress and the Presidency may sometimes not be able to control the bureaucracy, but the courts may offer some reliefs in the event of usurping of authority.
2.0 Public Opinion, Rational Public and Public policy
Public opinion is the collective opinion of a set group of people regarding issues that touch their day to day lives that may in one way or another be used to shape policy or the way they are governed (lardbucket.org, 2015). The public opinion may be influenced by several factors such as values, tradition or morality. In democratic societies, the opinion of the majority is what is taken to guide the decision makers. As much as the concerns of the minority are also considered and used to correct or shape the main majority view, the views of the majority are always viewed as the most appropriate decision to be made. The media has a major role in influencing the public opinion. Governments, Interests groups among others have used the media to influence public opinion; therefore, public opinion may sometimes not be factual. Before the invasion on Iraq, there were unfounded allegations that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons and that he was planning to attack American interests. After the deposing Saddam Hussein, it was proved that there were no nuclear weapons in Iraq (Jstor.org, 2015). The American public had earlier supported the war in Iraq out of the information in the public domain that there were nuclear weapons in Iraq....