US Politics – Why are they so different?

What do the comments made by Clinton Rossiter in the 1960s and Mark Shields in the 1990s tell us about what the two major parties in the USA used to be like?

From the comments they made, it suggests that the two major parties in the USA used to be so similar; they were dubbed as “two republican parties” within the US. They therefore were both mostly right winged, however the issue that separated the two would be to whether to have abortion as a pro-choice or not.

In what ways have US voters been re-sorted?

Voters have switched parties just like some politicians have. Examples of this would be Southern states such as Mississippi used to be solidly Democrats after the civil war, however from 1960s onwards they became solidly Republicans.

What have been four results of this ideological re-sorting?

* There are now clear divisions between the two major parties, issues such as abortion and gun control.

* The way people vote and what party they indentify them self to be, however is they identify themselves to be a Democrat, does not necessary mean they will always vote for Democrat candidate. An example of this would e in 1972 where 33% of Democrats voted for Republican President Richard Nixon.

* Swing-Sates: to an extent this can be seen on a nation scale wise as in 1964 the country voted for Democrat Lyndon Johnson then in 1968 they voted for Richard Nixon.

* Split-ticket voting: There has been a decline in this which means there is also a decline in split districts.

How was senate in 2011 different from the senate in 1993?

In 1993 the senate had a range of conservative senators, from really conservative to more liberal conservatives like James Jeffords of Vermont. Whereas in 2011 there is no overlap at all between the two parties in the Senate. This means that they all seem quiet liberal compared to how they used to be in 1993.

What does proposed legislation face greater difficulties in Congress than in the UK Parliament?

Due to the large population of America, this can already be seen as a difficulty as there would be a mass of Bills that has been proposed compared to the UK. As Congress is bound to have a load of Bills that are pigeonholed, they have a Rules Committee which decides what Bills to be debated. Unlike the UK, US Senate does not have unlimited debate and discussion on a Bill, therefore there must be conditions and limitations set and that is performed by the rules Committee. This could count as a great difficulty as a Bill can be left considered whilst others goes on to debates.

One other great difficulty for a proposed legislation to be successful in US politics would be the bicameral houses in Congress. In the US, where the numbers of people are much larger; each (within the two-party system) usually have the majority in one of the houses – an example of this would be currently Democrats hold majority in Senate and Republicans hold majority in the House of Representatives. As in the timetabling process; in the senate there must be a unanimous consent agreement that is stated by the senate majority and minority. As they are from two different parties, this may be a difficult process to receive – Bills such as abortion and gun control is something the two parties are on the opposite side of the line to each other, therefore would be extremely hard to get a unanimous consent agreement among it. Whereas in UK Parliament; House of Commons has more influence in legislations as House of Lords only review legislation that has been initiated by the House of Commons. However House of Lords are able to propose amendments on it and also veto.

Both in the US and UK, a filibuster can arise to get their chance to speak to block or bring forward a bill – An example of this in the US would be Wendy Davis, Texas on Abortion. A difficulty here would be that in the US; the senate are able to bring a cloture motion or through with 60 votes. An example of this would be the military sexual assault bills that are set for senate votes; if it receives 60 votes, then it is able to go to into the vote for the final passage of the bill – this only requires a simple majority. A roll-call vote takes place if the measure is controversial.

Another great difficulty would be that during the third reading in US; Congress is given another opportunity for debate even though the debate must be brief. A further vote is then taken, which means that decisions of congressmen could be changed within this debate. In contrasts with the UK as in the third reading there is only a general discussion, where no amendments are allowed therefore just to confirm what the Bill.

Unlike the UK, when one house (of commons) where most decisions such as amendments are made and are then past onto the other house (of lords) to review it; in the US, both houses have two separate debates on the bill and come together in the Conference Committee process. If there is a significant difference between the two versions then there would be a conference committee that consists of members from both chambers. The Freedom of Information has got the House of Representation’s version of the Bill and now they are just waiting for the Senate’s version. When the Senate releases their version of the Bill, the HOR are able to finalise their version; however is there is a significant different then a conference committee will be called.

To conclude; proposed legislation face greater difficulties in Congress than in the UK Parliament due to factors such as the large population and strong ideologies of the two party systems; this makes it harder to gain super majority’s in sectors needed – such as deciding on issues to do with taxation.

To what extent are the two major parties ideologically distinct from one another? (Jan 2012)

In US politics, they have a two party system which consists of the Democrats and the Republicans. At the birth of the Republican Party, the two parties worked closely to each other apart from big issues such as slavery. For almost a century and a half, the two parties have started to be very distinct from one another; one of the reasons could be due to the growth in population of the country. Immigration from Latin America have flooded in so much that it has been predicted that by 2050 there will no longer be a white-majority in America.

The two major parties are widely known to be precisely distinct from one another due to the Democrat’s liberal view and the Republican’s conservative view. From their basic beliefs such as: abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control, they are completely on the other side of the world from each other. Republicans are opposed to abortion as they call it “murder of the fetus” whereas the Democrats support the right of abortion as they argue it is women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies; this is called pro-choice stance. The Republicans are also opposed to same-sex marriages, however the Democrats have a more liberal approach and support same-sex marriages and they want to legalize it. Barak Obama was the first America President to publically support same-sex marriage.

Even so, bipartisan events such as the McCain-Feingold Act within US politics history may support the idea of the two major parties being not so much distinct from each other as they can come together on a compromise and work together. Democratic Senator Russell Feingold and Republican Senator John McCain were both supporters of campaign finance reform. Due to their bipartisan teamwork and support, they were able to change how donations could be used to support political parties. However, this can be argued that it is nothing to do with their policies within how to govern their country, but this just affects campaigns, therefore not making it a valid point to how the two major parties are similar.

Economic ideas would be another element from the two major parties that are entirely distinct from each other. The Republicans believe that the people should be more self-reliant, if they were to be so, and then there would be a small role for government. When government having a small role, this would also mean that there will be a reduction in taxes, which leaves the people with more money. As people have more money, businesses are able to grow and creating more jobs. Issues such as global warming and dealing with it will only hurt businesses; they are therefore very sceptical about global warming actually happening. On the other hand, Democrats believe that central government should have a significant role as they are able to solve many big problems such as; poverty, improving education and healthcare and unemployment. To solve these big problems, they must collect taxes to be able to fund the programmes, yet this process also involves employing people, therefore they are also creating jobs too.

Recent activities from Presidents such as Clinton, has shown something different. Although he was a Democrat, his movements and decisions made the public consider him to have had move back to the centre rather than maintaining his Democrat place. This therefore put the two major parties ideologies into question as under President Clinton, he also signed the Republican Congress’s welfare reform bill in 1995; this may have just been a bipartisan support but it still shows that there are policies such as the welfare reform bill where the two major parties share the same ideas. In addition, under President Bush (Republican) there were many of his activities that can be seen as Democratic more than Republican which he was criticized heavily for this. One of the Republican’s policies would be for the states to have more power rather than the federal government. On the contrary, under President Bush, he had signed many expensive federal government programmes. Examples of this would be the over $500 billion prescription drug benefit,

Medicare in 2003 and the TARP program in 2008.

While previous US presidents in the last decade have done activities for there to not be a clear distinction between the two major parties, President Obama has. One of the Democrats beliefs is that they believe the US should help out in the international arena with strong alliances; with this President Obama has doubled the troops in Afghanistan. While back in the US, he has also failed a number of liberal causes that has caused massive debates in the US. An example of this would be the Affordable Care Act; although it is currently known to be running smoothly with over a million applications and members, at first it was a bumpy road and was criticized heavily due to it. One other example would be the budget agreement in October 2013 that was not met in time which caused the first government shutdown since under President Clinton in 1995 which lasted for 21 days. To prevent the government from having another shutdown again, recently President Obama has signed a bipartisan budget bill that will be carried out for the next two years.

To conclude, the two major parties have many elements and policies that distinct the two at a large margin. Examples such as the October 2013 Government shutdown would show this as they would go into extreme measurements for their policies. There are events where bipartisan support would need to be shown for the sake of the people, however this is mainly on a political level such as campaign finance and for that to be sorted and out of the way would keep a steady election year which will not put the people of from voting.

To what extent do minor parties have an impact on US politics? (Jan 2012)

In US politics, they have always had a two-party system. This makes it difficult for anyone outside the Democrats or Republicans to hold office or have members within the White House establishment. However, there are certain years and elections where minor parties have had an impact within US politics than other events.

On a national base, it is rarely that minor parties have an impact on US politics, but they are able to make an impact on regular basis within smaller levels such as regional or state-based. This is because of the two-party system making the minor parties unimportant, and difficult to contribute or get noticed. Although, at local politics/city councils level it can be important for when minor parties run for mayor or governor; an example of this would be in 2010 when Tom Tancredo (Constitution Party) was in the race for governor of Colorado. Due to his success of becoming second, he is thinking of re-running in later this year.

On the other hand, there are some parties such as Reform Party, Libertarian and Green Party that are known to have an impact on US politics nationwide and make significant impact too. All three parties were able to be put on the ballots in all 50 states ballots in 2000. This is an extremely rare chance and complicated process that the parties had to go through to be able to be on the ballot. States such as New York make it incredibly hard for minor parties to get their party on the ballot as it is a big and populated state. Minor parties can also be split into two categories which consist of permanent and temporary. This affects the way; to what extent they have an impact on US politics. Permanent minor parties such as Green party would have more of an impact on US politics than temporary parties such as the Reform Party.

Despite this, in recent elections minor parties have had a huge impact on US politics; from 1968 when George Wallace from the Independent Party received a large 13.5% of the popular vote. Although this was a large success for a minor party like the Independent Party, for the majority of the public it can be seen as distorting the results as it split the Democrats votes, which lead to a Republican victory. This is also similar to a more recent election that also caused a controversy was the 2000 Bush Vs Gore election. Ralph Nader was the Green Party’s candidate that gained 2.7% of the popular vote, which were almost 3 million votes. Although he had gained a massive amount of votes from the popular vote, he was also criticized after for “stealing” the Democrats votes which lead to another Republican victory. Since Gore did receive more popular votes than Bush, but it was the Electoral College votes that established Bush’s victory, this made the Democrats even more upset with Ralph Nader.

To conclude, on a daily basis minor parties only have major impacts on US politics at regional/local levels rather than nation-wide due to the two-party system. On the contrary, at important events such as elections, minor parties are able to have a large impact on the US politics as they are able to also get involved such as being on the ballots and receiving votes.

The New Deal: 1933-1943.

What Was The New Deal?

The New Deal was a set of federal programs launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after taking office in 1933, in response to the Great Depression.

It had four major goals and achievements:

* Economic Recovery – Emergency Banking Act: The New Deal stabilised the banks and cleaned up the financial mess left over from the Stock Market crash of 1929. It stabilised prices for industry and agriculture, and it aided bankrupt state and local governments. It also injected a huge amount of federal spending to boost collective incomes.

* Job Creation – National Industry Recovery Act: ¼ Americans was out of work by 1933. The New Deal created a number of special agencies that provided jobs for millions of workers and wages that saved millions. It also recognized the rights of workers to organise the unions.

* Investment in Public Works – National Labour Relations Act: The New Deal built hundreds of thousands of highway, bridges, hospitals, theatres, libraries, city halls, homes, post offices, airports and parks across America – most of which are still in use today.

* Civic Uplift – Social Security Act: The New Deal touched every state, city, and town, improving the lives of ordinary people and reshaping the public sphere. New Dealers and the men and women who worked on New Deal programs believed they were not only serving their families and communities but building the foundations for a great and caring society.

In less than a decade, the New Deal changed the face of America.

How did it cause the national government to grow? This would be because The New Deal created a range of bills that was all passed, leading to new branches of government departments to form. Also, because of F. Roosevelt’s popularity and the power gained by the Democrats: legislation was able to be passed smoothly.

How well are (a) women and (b) ethnic minorities represented in the make-up of Congress? (a). Women and ethnic minorities are both under represented in the make-up of Congress. In the Senate, there are roughly around 17 women senators out of the 100. (b). Ethnic minorities have roughly 40 within the House, however in the Senate it bounces from 0 – 2. Reasons to ethnic minorities having more congressmen in the House than Senate would be due to the way they are elected; via the population. This also means that gerrymandering can happen, therefore it would be easy to get elected; rather than Senates is state based and African-Americans are minorities in all the states. One other reason would be that to run for Senate it is much more expensive to run than House; similar to previous reasons as running for a seat in House you can campaign in small areas, whereas running for Senate you must campaign the whole state.

Explain the roles of (a) the House Speaker; (b) majority and minority leaders. (a). The House Speaker has the power to referral; this means they are able to select which bills and discussions will come into place. They also put certain bills to certain committees, this can be an advantage and disadvantage as they can purposely put it through a committee they know that will pass the bill; or purposely put it through a committee that they know will decline it. The House Speaker also appoints the chairmen. (b). The majority leader also has the power to referral, while the minority leader chooses who from their party goes on what committee.

Explain the role of congressional standing committees. Standing committees are considered the most important type because they consider and shape the

vast majority of proposed laws. They also conduct investigations, such as the Senate Banking Committee’s investigation of President Bill Clinton’s Whitewater investments.

Why is the House Rules Committee so important? They are important as they determine how a bill will come to the floor of the House for a vote. They also decide how long the debate will be (unlike Senate, the House does not have unlimited time to debate on a bill) – they set out the rules of the debate, for example, stating whether any amendments can be made to the bill at this stage.

What is the role of conference committees in Congress? This occurs when the House and Senate need to reconcile different versions of the same bill. It is made up of members from both houses committees that originally considered the bill. Once the committee agrees on a compromise, the revised bill is returned to both houses of Congress for their approval.

Explain what congressional select committees do. These are temporarily formed for specific purposes, often to take a closer look at a particular issue. They usually do not draft legislation. Some, like the select committees to investigate the assassinations of JFK and MLK are obviously intended to have limited lives. Others, like the selection committee on aging and the selecting committee on Indian affairs, have existed for a number of years actually produce legislation. Sometimes long-standing select committees eventually become standing committees.

Explain how people come to chair congressional committees. This happens due to the seniority rule: this means the person longest on the committee will get to be chair of the congressional committees. They can also be appointed by the speaker.

Write a brief synopsis of the legislative process in Congress.

The First Reading

Committee Stage -Bills are assigned to a committee or pigeonholed. -If bills are considered, hearings are held. -Amendments are made in the mark-up session. -Lastly, the bill is reported out.

Timetabling -House: Rules Committee decides which bills will be debated under what conditions. -Senate: Majority and Minority leaders come to an agreement about the bill/conditions.

Second reading -Bill is now considered by the entire chamber and further amendments can be made. -In Senate: Filibustering can occur – 60 senators can vote for a cloture motion.

Third Reading -Final debate. -Further vote is taken.

Conference committee -If there is a significant difference between the versions of the bills.

The president and legislation -Forward to president. -President can veto. – Override a veto: 2/3 majority in both houses.

Explain what options the president has once bills are passed to him. They can sign it, veto it or just leave it lying on their desk.

Explain, with examples, the significance of the president’s veto power. Using the veto too often creates an impressions that the President in inflexible and unable to reach compromises; an example of this would be Franklin Roosevelt. Another thing it can show is their authority; an example of this would be George Bush in 2006 – when he veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 without an override attempt.

What factors affect voting by members of Congress? One factor would be that congressmen would vote in support/against a bill on behalf of their consistent support as they are representing them. Another factor would be the support congressmen get from PACs and pressure groups; this would impact on the way they vote on bills as the supporters would have a particular view on things and congressmen would vote that way. The views of the party they are in would also affect the way they vote.

Explain why and how Congress’ oversight of the executive underwent a significant change in January 2007. A period of inertia would be post 9/11 – When the Democrats who were elected in the congressional elections of 2006 took office, they began to look into Bush’s government; especially the late response to Hurricane Katrina.

What is the public’s view of Congress? How does this differ from their view of their own senators and representatives? The public may see Congress as a broken branch of government; especially currently as the Republicans are the majority in the House and the Democrats in the Senate. They therefore would make decisions based on their party’s policies/views rather than thinking about the nation as a whole. On a smaller scale, certain districts may have a positive view on Congress; this could be due to pork-barrel politics.

Explain the term “gridlock” When the word gridlock is used, this means that it is impossible to get anything done; especially passing legislation. This would be due to the disagreements among the legislature. An example of this would be the October 2013 Government shutdown.

Presentation of the Monster.

Mary Shelley presents the monster in a variety of ways. We are first introduced to it lightly, however when it comes into the novel dominantly, it had just commit a serious crime of killing William.

The monster is definitely a gothic element as it is seen as a supernatural figure. The monster is created from other dead humans that Frankenstein had stolen from the graveyard (P41.) – “Church yard was to me merely receptacle of bodies deprived of life…. Seat of beauty and strength”. This shows the excitement and enthusiasm that Frankenstein had from when he entered the grave yard to begin his experiment.

Yet, when the Monster meets Frankenstein, his creator, he tells him stories which can make the reader feel sympathy for the monster. Firstly, would be how he was abandoned and grew up alone, along with self-teaching himself things such as talking and survival skills. Growing up without having anyone, not even his creator; “I beheld the wrench – the miserable monster that I had created… one arm was stretched out… but I escaped” – This shows how Frankenstein’s reaction towards the monster may have added to the readers sympathy for the monster as Frankenstein showed his horror, fear and disgust of the monster; “breathless horror and disgust filled my heart”. Frankenstein threatens it with a wrench then makes a run for it.

When the monster confronts Victor and tells his tale of how he learnt to communicate through spying on the family; this is where most readers would feel sympathy towards it rather than fear as it also mentions how lonely it is too. The monster has no companion, friends nor family whereas Victor, family plays an essential role within his life. Especially since the monster spies on also a family, this emphasizes the significance of family within the novel.

Chapter 5 heavily revolves around the monster and the creation of it. The chapter starts off with “It was on a dearly night of November” – This can be seen as a foreshadowing element as later we discover that Victor had finished creating the monster as he described what seem to be proud of his accomplishment. Also the fact that the atmosphere was eerie since we are introduced to his lab at 1am. Victor says – “His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God!” – However he also gives repulsive descriptions of the monster having “yellow skin” and “lustrous black, and flowing” hair – This is also a gothic element as it can be seen as Victor challenging and playing God with trying to bring dead people back to life, although it may not be the same due to the many different body parts from different people he had used for the monster.

Victor had had a nightmare that consisted of “ugliness” and Elizabeth. As Elizabeth was in his dream, this could be seen as a contrast to her beautiful self to the ugly monster. The next day this makes Victor incredibly disgusted to be within the same room as the monster, as he expressed that he was “Breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created” – Again, this shows how horrid he was by the idea he had created such as thing despite it being everything he had put in in the previous months.

Metaphor in Never Let Me Go.

Boat. During the last part of the novel, the three main characters Kathy, Tommy and Ruth go see an abandoned boat that has been an exciting topic among most of the other donors. When the three finally get to see the boat, it is abandoned on the sandy beach and described as wearing away its colours (also in the film it is old and rusty looking). The boat could be a metaphor for the donors as the boat’s true nature is to be off shore and sailing, which would be fulfilling its purpose to existence. Yet, it is left abandoned on shore as it is finished its duties to be off shore and now time to “complete”. Just like the donor’s true nature is to live a good life, as humane as possible but then there will be a time when they will eventually have to “rust”, in their case would be to do their donations and once they have fulfilled their purpose; like the boat, they will “complete”.

The boat could also be a symbol of morality. As the three friends sit there, just looking at the boat alone; Ruth has a sudden confession and apologetic speech for Tommy and Kathy. She expresses how sincerely she is about how she knew it was Tommy and Kathy all along, as though she had been waiting for a long time to say this to them. Throughout the novel, this is a completely different side to Ruth that we see as we see her more to be arrogant. She then pleads the two to take a piece of paper that she has; written on it is Madam’s address. Since all talks about Madam in Hailsham was all serious and no joke, this is where it shows how sincere Ruth is being for Tommy and Kathy to be together. (go to Madam to get “deferrals”)

Norfolk. Norfolk is introduced to the students at Hailsham to be a place that was mysterious and unknown, as there was no pictures of it when being taught the geography of the country. The students often came up with theories of everything; Norfolk’s theory was that it was a place where all lost things were placed. Ishiguro uses layered imagery to enforce this vision, from the ongoing metaphor of Norfolk being home to lost things. An example of this would be when Kathy lost her tape. Later when they decided to take a trip to Norfolk, Kathy was able to find (in a shop) the tape that she had lost when she was in Hailsham; making the characters continue to believe how Norfolk is home to all lost things.

However, Norfolk can also be a place symbolising hope but also holding the truth. We discover this from their whole purpose to visit Norfolk in the first place; to see Ruth’s “possible”. At a glance, the characters got ecstatic about how it might be Ruth’s possible. When they greed for more knowledge, to fully confirm that it was Ruth’s “possible” – such as following the lady right into the gallery; this made all of them eventually find out that she was nothing like Ruth, and it was just some random lady. While in the gallery, the characters also discovered how they were not as different as they were told to be within an environment with humans. An example of this would be when they were in the gallery; a lady approached Tommy thinking he was some sort of art student.

Field. The field, the spacious area around Hailsham and nature described within the novel is often portrayed positively and brightly (especially in the film). Yet, it could have symbolising negative aspects. A way this can be read is that the field and Hailsham being in the middle of nowhere would show how isolated and alienated the donors/clones and Hailsham itself is from society and normal humans. Although within the film, the scenery is shown beautifully with bright green grass and leaves; yet there are also barbed-wire surrounded the open field; both when the characters were at Hailsham and at the end of the film when Kathy is standing by herself. This can show how oppressed they are within their fate. Although when they were at Hailsham, they lived their daily life as usual and felt like it was normal therefore continued to do so without any problem.