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Flashcards in General US revision Deck (68):

What is the current split in the Senate?

51-49 Republican


Which of the Cabinet and EXOP are mentioned in the Constitution?



Harry Truman kept a famous sign on his desk. What does it say and why is this example useful?

"The buck stops here." Useful to show his view of the (possibly theoretical) power of the president.


How did Clinton's adviser Paul Begala describe Executive Orders?

"Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool."


According to whom is the vice-presidency "not worth a bucket of warm spit"?

Jack Garner (VP to FDR)


How did Jack Watson, Chief of Staff to Jimmy Carter, describe the role, and what did he mean?

"Javelin catcher"; he meant that it's the CoS's job to protect the president from political dangers.


The relationship between Veterans for America, the Senate Defense Committee and Congress could be described as:

An iron triangle.


Name three key EXOP roles.

Chief of Staff, National Security Adviser, Press Secretary


According to Daniel Moynihan, who served in the Nixon White House, you should "Never underestimate" what. and what did he mean?

"the power of proximity." He meant that being physically close to the seat of power is vital, which gives senior EXOP members more influence than cabinet members.


Give an example involving the Transportation Secretary which shows Cabinet/EXOP rivalries.

Nixon's White House staff referred to him as "the bus driver".


Schlesinger wrote of the imperial presidency. What did Neustadt prefer?

Power with persuasion.


What did Trump recognise in 2017 which showed his control over foreign policy?

Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


According to Harry Truman, who makes foreign policy, and why is this useful?

"I do." Useful for powers of the president.


What was surprising about Obama's proposed military action against Syria in 2013?

He asked for Congress' approval, which these days is rarely sought before launching military action. (He didn't get it.)


How many members of Congress are there, and why is the number three fewer than the total of electors?

535 (435 House, 100 Senate). There are 538 electors because the District of Columbia has three electors but no representation in Congress.


List three concurrent powers of Congress.

Pass legislation; override veto; initiate constitutional amendments; declare war; confirm a newly appointed VP. (And do you know the exclusive powers of the House and Senate? If not, learn them.)


What majority is required to overturn a presidential veto?

2/3 in each house.


A veto is good, but what type of veto is better and why?

A pocket veto; because it's only available in the last ten days of Congress and kills a bill completely.


Why is "leaving a bill on his desk" not a veto, and why would a president do it?

Because after ten working does it becomes law anyway. It shows opposition to a bill in a less aggressive way than a veto or signing statement.


Who appoints House Select Committee chairs?

The Speaker


Who is a House or Senate committee's "ranking member"?

The most senior opposition figure.


If a committee puts a bill to one side, effectively killing it, it is said to be using what technique?



Prof William Riker described the House Rules Committee as:

A toll bridge attendant, who lets only his friends through.


Roughly how many bills are introduced each Congress, and what percentage become law?

14,000; 2-4%.


If a bill passes the House and Senate in different forms, and the differences cannot easily be reconciled, what is called?

A conference committee.


How many times was Obama's veto overriden?

Once, in 2015 when he vetoed a bill that would allow US citizens to sue the Saudi government for damage caused by 9/11.


"Nothing is more likely than that the enumeration of powers is defective." So said:

Thomas Jefferson


How did James Madison describe checks and balances?

Ambition counter-checking ambition


Who said, "A constitution is not meant to facilitate change. It is meant to impede change."

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia


Which Supreme Court case established that the court has the power of judicial review?

Marbury v Madison


Who was the last Supreme Court nominee to be rejected by the Senate, and when did it happen?

Robert Bork, 1987


In 2015 Obergefell v Hodges made gay marriage legal across America. But in how many states was it already legal, and why is that useful to know?

37; because it shows that states can be "laboratories of democracy" (Justice Brandeis) - i.e. go their own way - if the federal government and law can't keep up.


Who was the first black Supreme Court Justice?

Thurgood Marshall


Which article of the constitution mentions the word "federalism"?

None - it's not in there.


Block grants were a feature of New Federalism. What were they?

Money given to states in a "block" without specifying what it should be used for.


What was GWB's flagship education policy called and why might it have been a surprise?

No Child Left Behind; because it represented large scale federal interference in state education policy, perhaps surprisingly for a Rep president.


According to Ronald Reagan, "Government is not the solution to our problem..."

"Government is the problem."


According to Ronald Reagan, what are the nine most terrifying words in the English language?

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help." (And yes, strictly speaking that is eleven.)


Black Americans make up approximately what proportion of the US population?



Districts where most people are non-white are known as:

Majority-minority districts.


Who is the only black Republican Senator?

Tim Lott


Obama was the first black President, but also the ?? black Senator



Which President appointed Robert C Weaver, the first black member of the Cabinet?

Lyndon Johnson


Gratz v Bollinger struck down the University of Michigan's affirmative action based admissions system because it was:

too mechanistic. (i.e. not because AA was necessarily wrong in itself.)


Chief Justice Roberts: "The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to:"

"Stop discriminating on the basis of race."


Fisher v Texas 2016 upheld what, and who wrote an amicus brief in favour of the university?

The University of Texas' race-conscious admissions programme


Name three celebrities who have endorsed Black Lives Matter.

Beyonce, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Skepta (that'll do it)


Thanks to Shelby County v Holder 2013, several southern states can once again:

Make changes to their electoral law without approval from the Justice Dept


Which is the odd one out and why? John Kerry, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton?

Susan Rice. The other three have been Secretary of State. Obama wanted Susan Rice to take that role, but realised the Senate were unlikely to approve her so her made her National Security Adviser instead, a key EXOP role that does not require Senate approval.


Creating a fake grassroots movement is known as:



How much can PACs contribute to a candidate in a federal election?



"Moms Demand Action" used a poster campaign to point that what is banned, although guns are not?

Kinder Surprise eggs


What does EMILY's List stand for and do?

Early Money Is Like Yeast. It helps fund the early stages of women's campaigns for elected office.


Of the 100 most senior people in the Clinton administration, how many went on to be lobbyists?



Who was the first major Republican candidate to announce they were running for presidency, when, and so what?

Ted Cruz; March 2015; a full 18 months before the election, reinforcing how long and expensives campaigns are.


What is the name of a primary in which any registered voter, of whichever party, can vote?

An open primary. (And do you know the other sorts?)


Who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2016 (for both parties)?

Cruz and Clinton


What are unpledged delegates often called, which party has them, and how many were there in 2016?

Superdelegates, Dems, 712


What percentage of eligible voters took part in the 2016 primaries?



Between 1960 and 2016 Republicans chose what proportion of invisible primary winners as their eventual presidential nominee? What does that show?

13/15; shows that the primaries themselves are, to extent, a foregone conclusion.


"Have you ever met anyone who read the party platform?" So said:

John Boehner, the ex-Speaker


Whose 2002 reforms aimed to clean up election funding?

McCain-Feingold (do you know the key measures?)


What is soft money?

Money used for activities such as get-out-the-vote drives, rather than directly on the campaign.


Who was the first major presidential candidate to refuse matching funds?



What is the practice of voting for different people in the same election known as?

Split ticketing


Gerrymandering is achieved by what name given the the movement of people?

Packing and cracking (putting lots of people from the same background in one area - packing - or dispersing them across several areas - cracking).


Turnout for the 2014 mid-terms was:

the lowest for a federal election in over 70 years


Who was the last state governor to face a recall election?

Scott Walker, R-WI, 2012