Text of the AP Government Unit II Review

Who has the power to enforce laws?

President (Executive Branch)

Which branch of government must approve the President’s decision to deploy troops?

None (trick question)

Although the 1973 War Powers Act places limits on the President’s ability to do this

What is the chief difference between a President and a Prime Minister?

The President is an independent executive power (potential divided government), the PM always comes from the majority party in the legislature

Identify three key types of federal officials that are appointed by the President.

SC Justices, ambassadors, cabinet members

How long is a President’s term in office? How many terms can one president serve?

4 years, 2 terms (22nd Amendment established this in 1951)

What are three of the Constitutional requirements for being President?

35 years of age, natural born citizen of the U.S., resident for 14 years

What two types of government offices are held by people who later become President?

senator & governor

What typically happens to Presidential candidates who are either very liberal or very conservative?  Give an example.

they are defeated, Goldwater or McGovern

What religious background have all but one of our Presidents come from?  Who was the exception?

Protestant (non-Catholic Christian), JFK

When you have more votes than your competition, but not a majority, you have a _____ of the votes. Name two presidents who won this way.

Plurality; Truman in ’48, Nixon in ‘68, Clinton in ‘92

Identify 5 constitutionally designated roles of the President.

Commander in Chief, Head of State, Present State of the Union, Negotiate treaties, Chief Executive (oversee Cabinet & Bur)

What are the primary roles of the White House staff?

Advise President on policy, handle relations with Congress and bureaucracy (cabinet), public & press relations (speech writing, etc.)

What term describes the process in which various interest groups come together to work towards a common goal (pass legislation, defeat a nomination, etc.)?

coalition building

What government entity is charged with determining voter eligibility requirements?

individual state governments get to decide the requirements for their respective states

Name three activities PACs engage in to gain access to legislature.

make campaign contributions, run issue ads, lobby, research

Which cabinet member is effectively the CEO of the Department of Justice?

Attorney General

How is the president chosen if no candidate wins a majority of the electoral vote?

the House chooses based on a majority vote of its state delegations (each state gets one vote)

What is a federal mandate?  Give 1-2 examples.

A law in which the state governments must follow rules established by the federal government; Americans with Disabilities Act, No Child Left Behind, etc.

What is political efficacy?
What demographics define voters who have it?

A citizen’s belief that they understand politics, and that their political participation matters; efficacy increases with age and education

What are “inherent powers” of the president?  Give an example.

Powers exercised based on the authority granted be Article II, not specifically listed; Louisiana Purchase, internment of Nisei, half of the New Deal 

Name three traditional reasons for low voter turnout.

registration requirements, weak party affiliation, weekday elections, frequent local and state elections

What are 4-5 factors that play a role in how likely someone is to vote?

Their age, gender, education level, race, marital status, and whether or not they belong to a union

What is the “mandate theory of elections”?  Do political scientists support this theory?

It’s the idea that voters “send a message” when they vote – so that those elected have their mandate to make change; pol scis do not support mandate theory

Since 1972, voters in presidential elections have been less tied to party loyalties and more interested in what?

the characteristics and positions of individual candidates

What are the three biggest influences on how someone decides to vote?

Party identification, their evaluations of the candidates, their views on specific policies

What are “motor voter” laws?  What is their intent?

Laws that allow you to register to vote at the same time you apply for a drivers license; designed to increase voter registration

What religious group has enjoyed increasingly greater influence in the Republican Party since the early 1980s?

Evangelical Christians

What types of party members attend their party’s presidential nominating convention?

strong” party voters, very ideological in their approach and dedicated to the party

What is a “pocket veto”?  What effect does it have?

President takes no action on a bill for 10 days while Congress is not in session; it effectively kills the bill

What are four of the most common political actions of interest groups?

filing lawsuits, sponsoring advocacy ads, lobbying, testifying before Congress, issue related fundraising

How did the framers handle their fears regarding the abuse of executive power?

Put many legislative & judicial checks on the executive in place

How did historians feel about the use of Presidential power in the two decades following WWII?  How and why did that change in the 1960s & 1970s?

They favored a powerful Presidency, but LBJ, the Vietnam War, Nixon, and Watergate made the public more fearful of Presidential power

Identify two major legislative checks on Presidential power.

Veto override, impeachment, approval of appointments

Who are the first two people in line to succeed the President?

the VP and then the Speaker of the House

Identify two ways the role of the VP has expanded since Eisenhower.

represent U.S. to foreign countries, serve on the NSC, play a larger policy shaping role

Since Lady Bird Johnson, how have most First Ladies chosen to define their role?

By focusing on one issue (beautification, literacy, healthier diet & exercise, etc.)

Who officially elects the President?  How do you earn votes in this system?

the electoral college, if you win the popular vote in a state you win all of the electoral votes

What is the group of the President’s advisors called?

Cabinet (14 advisors plus the Attorney General

Identify four Cabinet Departments.

Justice, State, HUD, Health and Human Services, Defense, Treasury, Interior, Labor, Commerce, Transportation, Education, VA, Homeland Security

Who approves cabinet appointees, do they generally accept or reject them?

the Senate, accept

What are the two key factors that limit the role of the cabinet?

conflicting loyalties with the President and maintaining secrecy with a large group (14 of them)

What committee is comprised of the President’s key foreign and military policy advisors?

The National Security Council (NSC)

What is a power many governors have that the President would love to have?  Why?

Line Item veto, gives power to veto individual parts of laws or budget items

What law, passed under the Johnson administration, set out to guarantee the provisions of the 15th Amendment?

Voting Rights Act of 1965, which solidified the right to vote regardless of race

What Office has responsibility for developing and administering the federal budget?  How is it most impactful?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), develops cost analyses for various proposals

Who is the highest ranking White House staff member?  Identify two things Presidents count on receiving from their top level staffers.

Chief of Staff; Information, analysis, policy options, and … loyalty!

Why is party support so important to a sitting President? How much consistent support can a President actually count on?

Needs full backing of party to pursue legislative agenda; two-thirds at any given time

What causes this gap in party loyalty to the President?

The views of the various constituencies represented by members of Congress

What typically happens to the number of seats the President’s party holds in Congress as the result of a midterm election?

The Party of the President typically loses seats in Congress during the midterms

What is the primary reason the Electoral College has not been reformed?

Would require constitutional amendment, needing support of ¾ of state legislatures – many states don’t want to give up their power

What are two proposals for reforming the Electoral College?

Straight popular vote, by congressional district, percentage allocation in each state

Identify three ways the President tries to influence Congress.

State of the Union, political favors and patronage, use media to sway public opinion

Identify two types of legislative skills important to the success of the President.

Bargaining, exploiting the honeymoon period, building Congressional coalitions & structuring votes

Describe the correlation between Presidential approval ratings and the President’s ability to influence Congress.

Strong approval ratings (and electoral mandates) make it much easier for the President to influence Congress

Identify two ways the President directs national security policy.

Treaties and executive agreements, Commander in Chief, War Powers (use of troops without Congressional approval), International Crisis management

Why is the presidency is referred to as the “Bully Pulpit?”

Presidents can use the spotlight of the office to try and influence or sway public opinion

What is the fundamental reason there is ongoing tension between the President and the Press?

President wants to control flow of information to his advantage, Press wants all info immediately

Is press coverage of the President usually negative or positive?  Why?

Negative; easier for the press to generate negative stories + tension over information

Who can bring charges of impeachment?  For what reasons?

House of Reps, “Treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”

Who acts as the jury in an impeachment trial?  What is the required vote for a “conviction”?

The Senate, two-thirds

Which two Presidents have been impeached?  Were either of them found guilty?

Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, no

What are the two chief provisions of the 25th Amendment?

Allows the VP to step in temporarily for the President if the President is disabled, and establishes a procedure for replacing the VP

What was the spoils system?

the idea that the President could appoint all of his supporters to government posts

Roughly how many government posts are appointed by the President?  Out of how many total federal employees?

3,000; over 4 million

What did the Pendleton Act do?

it started the Civil Service system & therefore put an end to the spoils system

Give two examples of government corporations.

FDIC, TVA, and the Postal Service

Give two examples of government agencies.


What President oversaw the largest expansion in the federal bureaucracy?  Why?

FDR, New Deal (Great Depression), & response to WWII

What name is given to the extremely tight relationship between Gov’t agencies, their client/interest groups, and Congress?  Why?

The Iron Triangle; because it is difficult for those outside the triangle to influence policy

New gov’t agencies are often started in response to changing needs, how quickly are these agencies eliminated when no longer needed?

Not very quickly, often continue to exist for own sake

Describe the role the bureaucracy plays in the legislative process.

Very active, new laws often originate in the bureaucracy, bureaucrats often consult with Congress

Identify two major factors that have led to the growth of the federal bureaucracy.

International crises, economic problems, demands of citizens, national growth and changing technology

What is deregulation?  What is the most recent example of deregulation gone bad?

lessening the amount of power a regulatory commission has over an industry, Enron, subprime mortgage crisis

Identify three roles of political parties.

Pick candidates, run campaigns, provide cues to voters, articulate policies, coordinate policy making

Over the history of American politics, how far do successful parties usually stray from the political center?

Not far at all

Is the control and leadership of  American political parties highly centralized?

No; more fragmented and decentralized – history of party machines running local politics

What is the difference between a closed and an open primary?

Closed primaries require voters to register ahead of time for the party’s primary they wish to vote in, open primaries allow voters to make that choice on election day

Which party represented the true entrance of the common man into American politics?  Who was its leader?

The Democrats, Andrew Jackson

What issue brought about the rise of the Republican Party?  What year did they first capture the White House?

Slavery, 1860

Which party controlled most of American politics for the ~60 years following the Civil War?  What brought that control to an end?

Republicans, FDRs New Deal Coalition of Democrats in 1932

Provide two examples of instances where 3rd parties had a major influence on a Presidential Election.

Bull Moose in 1912 (TR), American Independent in 1968 (Wallace), Reform in 1992 (Perot), Green in 2000 (Nader)

What are two reasons third parties are significant?

They allow for non-revolutionary expression of discontent (a vent), they impact elections by drawing votes away from major party candidates, they allow for discussion outside the mainstream discourse

How are the two major political parties organized?

They have separate, independent organizations at the national, state, and local levels

What proportion of registered voters usually votes in national elections?

Less than half

What role do PACs play in campaigns?

They work outside the official campaign structure to try and influence the result by running ads, staging events, etc.

What two SC decisions greatly increased role of PACs?

Buckley v Valeo essentially gave PACs free speech rights, Citizens United removed limits on donations to PACS and led to creation of “super PACs”

What are three of the main provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act?

Established the FEC to regulate campaign finance, established hard limits on the amount of $$ donated to candidates, established Pres Election Campaign Fund

What does education level help us predict about voting behavior in the U.S.?

College graduates are more likely to vote than those without a college degree

What are three types of funding the federal government provides to states?  Which of these gives the state the most control?

Categorical grants, matching grants, formula grants, block grants; block grants

What is an unfunded mandate?

When the federal government requires states to perform certain tasks without providing needed funding

What type of programs represent the largest portion of mandatory government spending?

Entitlement programs (e.g. Social Security, Medicare, etc.)

Who did the 26th Amendment add to the voting rolls?  What happened as a result?

18-21 year olds, they actually voted in lower percentages than any other age group

What is the single most important factor in the political socialization of children?

Their parents and family

Is Senate confirmation required for members of the White House staff?

No, the President is able to choose his own staff without interference from Congress

What is the nickname for an Executive department, Congressional committee, and interest group all working on public policy?

“Iron Triangle”

Why do Presidents make extensive use of executive orders (EOs)?

EOs allow Presidents to direct actions of the federal gov’t without approval of Congress