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American Politics

Completed for my A2 Politics research homework.

Hannah Tayler

on 8 July 2013

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Transcript of American Politics

American Politics
The President of the USA...
The American
The minimum voting age is 18 years old.
The USA has a presidential system of government.
The USA has a federal government system which means that power is shared between the federal government and state governments.
There are three main branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.
Congress, (the legislative branch), is bicameral and consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial branch is formed by the federal courts and headed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Members of Congress are elected by universal suffrage as are the members of the electoral college, which formally chooses the President and the Vice President.

The Constitution...
The method of voting is that the highest polling candidate is elected in a general election, or nominated in a primary election.
The Electoral College...
The United States Electoral College is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the US every four years. The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the voters.
Presidential Elections
Usually occur every 4 years, between the 2-8 November
Political Parties...
The President of the USA is the head of state and head of the government of the USA. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the US Armed Forces.
The president is elected for a four-year term and may be re-elected only once.
As of 2001, the president earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment.
Barack Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office.
Notable achievements include:
Passed Health Care Reform: Affordable Care Act (2010).
Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan
Ended the War in Iraq
Eliminated Osama bin laden
Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Toppled Moammar Gaddafi:
The president resides in the White House for the duration of their term and each brings something new to it. For example, shortly after taking office, President Obama had the White House tennis court adapted so it could be used for both tennis and basketball.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America.
It was written in 1787 at the "Constitutional Convention," held in Independence Hall, Philadelphia and came into effect on march 4, 1789. The 55 men at the convention are called the "Founding Fathers" (they include Franklin and Washington).
The Constitution is interpreted, supplemented, and implemented by a large body of constitutional law. The Constitution of the US was the first constitution of its kind, and has influenced the constitutions of many other nations.
The US constitution is fully entrenched and codified which is probably why the constitution has only been amended twenty-seven times.
The Constitution is composed of a Preamble (an introduction), the main body (which consists of seven articles), and amendments (additions to the Constitution made after it was
created - including the Bill of Rights).
The eligibility of an individual for voting is set out in the constitution and also regulated at state level. The constitution states that voters can't be denied on grounds of race or colour, sex or age for citizens eighteen years or older.
Voters unable or unwilling to vote at polling stations on Election Day can vote via absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are most commonly sent and received via the Post. However, they are often requested and submitted in person.
Under constitutional rules, to be elected you must:
Be a US born citizen
Be at least 35yrs old
Have been a US resident for 14yrs

These elections can be seen to happen in four stages.
The voting system explained by an Australian news channel..?
Confused yet..?
Political parties:
Throughout most of its history, American politics have been dominated by a two-party system; the Democrats and the Republicans.
Instead, they are elected by "electors" who are chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis. Electors are pledged to particular presidential and vice presidential candidates and all electors pledged to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in a state become electors for that state.
Each elector must then cast one vote for President and another vote for Vice President. The candidate that receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (currently 270) for the offices of President or Vice President is elected to that office.
If no candidate receives a majority for President, the House of Representatives will select the President, If no candidate receives a majority for Vice President, then the Senate will select the Vice President, with each Senator having one vote.
The Democratic party is among the oldest political parties in the world.
Current President of the United States Barack Obama is the 15th Democrat to hold the office of Presidency.
Since the 1890s, the Democratic Party has favored social-liberal positions.
Historically, the party has favoured farmers, laborers, labor unions, and religious and ethnic minorities; it has opposed unregulated business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes.
In recent decades, the party has adopted a centrist economic and socially progressive agenda.
The party believes that government should play a role in alleviating poverty and social injustice and use a system of progressive taxation.
This party was founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854.
There have been 18 Republican presidents, including Lincoln and Bush.
The Republican Party includes fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and libertarians. Prior to the formation of the conservative coalition, which helped realign the Democratic and Republican party ideologies in the mid-1960s, the party historically advocated classical liberalism, and progressivism.
Pressure groups seek to influence those who have won control of government, rather than seek to control it themselves.
Pressure groups in the USA...
Special interest groups advocate the cause of their specific constituency. Business organizations will favor low corporate taxes and restrictions of the right to strike, whereas labor unions will support minimum wage legislation and protection for collective bargaining. Other private interest groups, such as churches and ethnic groups, are more concerned about broader issues of policy that can affect their organizations or their beliefs.
Pressure groups in the USA operate on all levels of government- federal, state and local.
One type of private interest group that has grown in number and influence in recent years is the political action committee or PAC. These are independent groups, organized around. However, they're limited in the amounts they can contribute directly to candidates in federal elections.
United States Intelligence Community
The USA Intelligence Community (IC) is a federation of 16 separate US government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities considered necessary for the national security of the United States.
The IC is led by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who reports to the President.
Independent agencies:
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

United States Department of Defense:
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
National Security Agency (NSA)
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA)
Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA)
Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)

United States Department of Energy:
Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI)
United States Department of Homeland Security:
Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)
Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI)

United States Department of Justice:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Security
Intelligence (DEA/ONSI)

United States Department of State:
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)

United States Department of the Treasury:
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI)
Among their varied responsibilities, the members of the Community collect and produce foreign and domestic intelligence, contribute to military planning, and perform espionage. The IC was established by Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981, by President Ronald Reagan.
Intelligence Community Oversight duties are distributed to both the Executive and Legislative branches.
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