Craig is going to dive into the controversy of monetary and fiscal policy. Monetary and fiscal policy are ways the government, and most notably the Federal Reserve, influences the economy - for better or for worse.
Today, we're going to wrap up our discussion of economic policy by looking at government regulation. We're going to talk about the government's goals for the U.S. economy and the policies it employs to achieve those goals. Ever since the New Deal, we've seen an increased role of the government within the economy - even with the deregulation initiatives of President Carter and Reagan in the 80's.
Today we wrap up our discussion of the media by talking about how the government interacts with and influences the content we see. Now it may be easy to assume that because we live in a free-market capitalist society, the only real regulation of the media is determined by the consumers, but this isn’t necessarily true.
So today we're going to look at the rather thorny issue of the media and its role in politics. Wether you're talking about older forms of media like newspapers and radio or newer forms like television and the Internet, all media serves the same purpose - to provide information to the public.
So last week we talked about what special interest groups are and how they influence the political system, and today we're going to focus on why we even have them in the first place. As to avoid getting too cynical, we're going to focus on five benefits of special interest groups and look at how these factor weigh in a group's formation and size.
Craig is going to talk about something you fans out there have been demanding for months - money in politics. Specifically, we're going to talk about special interest groups and their role in the U.S. political system.
Let's dive into the history of American political parties. So throughout most of United States history our political system has been dominated by a two-party system, but the policies and the groups that support these parties have changed drastically throughout history. There have been five, arguably six, party systems since the election of John Adams in 1796.
Today, Craig is going to talk about political parties and their role in American politics. When most people think about political parties they associate them with the common ideologies of the voters and representatives within that party, but the goal of a party is NOT to influence policies. The role of political parties is much simpler: to win control of the government.
Political campaigns are a pretty big deal in the United States. For instance the 2012 presidential election clocked in at the most expensive ever - at around $6 billion dollars! Needless to say, money plays a very big role in American elections.
Craig tries to get inside the heads of voters by discussing how voters make decisions. Now obviously, like all decision making, voter decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors, but the three we are going to focus on today (and the three political scientists seem to think play the biggest role) are party loyalty, the issues involved in an election, and candidate characteristics.
Let's talk about Gerrymandering - that is the process in which voting districts are redrawn in a way to favor one party during elections. As you'll see, this is why election outcomes on Census years (which tend to be when districts are redrawn) are a really big deal.
This week Craig is going to give you a broad overview of elections in the United States. As you may have noticed, there are kind of a lot of people in the U.S, and holding individual issues up to a public vote doesn't seem particularly plausible. So to deal with this complexity, we vote for people, not policies, that represent our best interests.
So today Craig is going to look at political ideology in America. We're going to focus on liberals and conservatives and talk about the influencers of both of these viewpoints.
Craig explores where our political opinions come from. Of course, most people's politics are grounded in their ideologies, but there are also other external influences such as the government itself, interest groups, and the media.
Up until this point we've specifically been looking at government - that is answering the questions of who, what, and how in relation to policies. But politics is different in that it looks at why certain policies are made.
So we've been talking about civil rights for the last few episodes now, and we're finally going to wrap this discussion up with the rather controversial topic of affirmative action. We'll explain what exactly affirmative action is, who it is for, and why it still exists.
Today, Craig is going to wrap up our discussion of discrimination by looking more closely at those “discrete and insular minorities” referenced in the 14th Amendment. We’ll talk about instances of discrimination of Asian, European, and Latino immigrants, Native Americans, non-English speakers, people with disabilities, and LGBT people.
Discrimination against women tends to be handled somewhat differently in the courts as they are not a minority. Even so, the courts need a method for challenging issues to help further important government interests - this is called intermediate scrutiny.
We've spent the last few episodes talking about civil liberties, or our protections from the government, but civil rights are different as they involve how some groups of citizens are able to treat other groups (usually minorities) under existing laws.