Sunday, October 23, 2016

Campaign Finance_Youhanna

Campaign Finance helps a candidate to achieve their goals when it comes to spreading their ideas and their names to win. Sometimes money circulates and private donors contribute without exposing their names in order to unbalance the campaign. Some argue that being a private donor is their first amendment right, which guarantees freedom of speech and assembly, and therefore they think it is their freedom to do so. In the documentary, Big Sky, Big Money, the same argument was stated, as many of the people involved took sides of the argument and their opinion of Citizens United. First of all, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) in 1971 had a set of requirements for candidates and parties, but the finance laws were hard to enforce. Then amendments were made in the Buckley v. Valeo Supreme court case, in which had limitations on expenditures and had limitations on contribution for a candidate. It set limit to the amount of money to spend on a campaign. Another set of amendments was McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law (aka Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) in which it was prohibited to spend non-federal funds in which is known as "soft money" and would not allow the issue ads in the public. The case Citizens United v. FEC, it was ruled that private companies should be able to support their candidate as they wish to do so under the first amendment, and therefore influence the campaign. They might not directly give the money to the candidate but they would influence the public by their ads, etc. The arguments for is that the private company, under the first amendment, has its every right to support the candidate they want. They should use their money to help the candidate in any way possible. The argument against includes the fact that money should be restricted and that the private companies create bias ideas about the other candidate they do not want to support, changing the view of the public.In my opinion, the private donors should state who they are in order to make the campaign finance more fair. They should not allow the "soft money" to be around and there should not be the false advertisements that were shown in the documentary Big Sky, Big Money and there should a better way of spending money. Donors should be known to the public and they should not just be a mailbox at a UPS store in Pennsylvania. These private companies that are donating to candidates influence the campaign greatly in just a few days, as we saw in the documentary, but with stricter laws the country can control the bias in campaigns. There should be limited amount of money to spend on a campaign because the campaign would be more fair. Citizens United v FEC was the created problem and should be fixed to allow our country to have its fair democracy.  

Political Finance - Dyar Othman

Support For Political Finance

Political finances should be our own choices. If it wasn't our choice to donate anonymously or help a political group financially, then why do we even have our first amendment right. The first amendment is incorporated in political finances because it gives us the freedom to do what we want and that includes supporting a campaign in whatever way we want. I highly support the Citizens United vs FEC, because it is the only thing helping us individuals who are part of corporations and unions to support our candidates.

Against Political Finance

I believe that political finance should be very limited because this could lead to unfair advantages. That's why I support the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act because I think we should limit committee from raising money for political groups. I also agree with the Buckley v. Valeo ruling, that there should be great limits to election spendings. This ties into the documentary, " Big Money, Big Sky," because the documenter explains are presents to us how corrupt political financing can be such as with the organization WTP.

My Actual Response

I truly believe that political financing should be limited, because it is what makes our government corrupt, by giving one side an extremely unfair advantage. Like in the documentary, we can see the supporters who share large portions of their money with political parties, also aim to aggressively take down the other party. I think there should be individual donations that are allowed, but when large corporations and anonymous organizations are involved, then there should be regulations.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Campaign Finance_Beltran

Less Strict Campaign Finance Laws:

The 1st Amendment allows people the freedom to press, assembly, and petition and limiting such issues is unconstitutional. In this sense, not allowing citizens to contribute to parties is like not permitting them to participate in the government and be part of their system. The case between Buckley vs.Valeo tried to limit the donating money from a specific individual but allowed corporates to donate from their treasuries to candidates wanting to be part of the political system in the United States of America. Many people may not be part of a corporate and therefore can not donate and can be seen as restricting a person's right to do what they want with their money. Because of this, the Biprstan Campaign Reform Act was created in order to regulate the financing of political campaigns that is viewed as a barrier for a person that wants to donate out of the kindness of their heart. This measure increased drastically the making of advocacy ads since the regulation of money being spent to directly aid a political party. People felt like this was not right, which in many ways it was, and the Citizens vs. FEC court case arouse stating the 1st Amendment is broken when corporations are limited on spending on candidates of their choosing. In the document called Big Sky, Big Money describes private non-profit organizations as bad and not just people willing to stand up for what they believe in a peaceful manner and with resources they earned.

More Strict Campaign Finance Laws:

Money has really dictated over whose voice is heard and whose is not. Overall, those with more money tend to be listened to and their ideas put on display despite major opposition. The case of Buckley vs. Valeo highlights how its limits on individuals with more than enough money to donate to specific candidates that they feel will represent the people as a whole better without keeping in mind that many others may disagree greatly. Even though the case only limits individuals, it does not limit big corporations that have more money than an individual that is seen as rich. Allowing such specific companies creates a bias on who really represents the people and not these individual monopolies. This issue was further brought to light during the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law also known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act went on the regulate the financing of political campaigns. This step was very good in creating a better and fairer playing field for those trying to run as an advocate of the people of its state. Finally, this has led to the Citizens United versus the FEC case has caused a non-profit organization to continue to donate undocumented money because it is seen as going against the first Amendment of freedom of speech. The freedom of speech should just allow that, and not a form of writing off money going to support and facilitate inequality in the political system. An example of how unfair the money of outside sources causes for the chance of a person to be elected can be seen in the document called Big Sky, Big Money.


I believe that as elections go for any type of leadership position should be given based on who and how a person is and their own drive to do well for those he or she will represent. I do not think that big corporations that may have no involvement at all with the individuals in the certain area should be allowed to aid with money that is only benefitting a candidate they want. The candidate that is getting no financial assistance is running against someone who has more by receiving handouts that they did not earn and in many ways did not want. The political system and how it runs has already had many issues were it seen as corrupt and invalid, this only reveals why it is thought as that way. Stricter Campaign Finance Laws will only demonstrate how truly a person is willing to run to become a leader with good intentions and keep in mind the overall good of the people and thier voice and opinions.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Campaign Finance_Zidan

  1. According to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law, regulation for financing political campaigns is crucial because it restricts people with money to manipulate the outcome. Just like in the documentary Big Sky, Big Money where in Montana outside groups contributed more than 70% of political media and it impacted the election greatly. The WTP picked out their favorite candidate that worked for their favor and made sure they win and as long as they have money, they are capable of doing so.
  2. Using money to support a candidate that you like should not be prohibited like how Citizens United v. FEC case argued that an individual cannot contribute to a political campaign unless they are apart of a larger corporation and it cannot be regulated because it goes against the first amendment. McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law also argued the individuals should be regulated. As part of the first amendment, freedom of speech includes money contribution to what ever party or person you favor.
People should be able to donate as much as they want, including large company, to any party or indivisual they favor. Just because a person does not like it does not mean its unconstitutional, I believe that money brings people power and their power should not be regulated because others can't compete. Their money is earned and they should be able to spend it however way they want including financing political campaign.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Political Participation_Zidan

1. What are two reasons the voter turnouts are so low and explain?
Voter turnout vary based on a person's location to their age. Some people find it hard to register or too difficult because they don't try. Another reason is young people now don;t pay attention to politics or they think that them voting won't be a difference and what is more scary is that younger people are registering more and more as independent voters.
2.Why are the voter turn out decreasing?
There is a trend of decline of voter turn out since the 1960. People do not trust the government enough to pay attention to them and vote because people of all ages, mostly young people, believe that they don't make a big difference.
3.How did voters increase since the finding of our country?
In the beginning only white adult male had the right to vote but over the years changed as amendments were passed. For an example, the 15th amendment gave he right to all male African American adults to vote after a long war between the north and the south. Another example is the 19th amendment which gave the right to all adult women to vote and that increase the voter turnout because the women occupy half the american population.
4.What are two characteristic that increase the likely hood of voters?
One factor is the education level, the more educated a person is the more active or more informed of the political aspect of the country which make them more likely to vote because they care. Another factor is age, the older you are the more likely you would vote because they are more informed and they want to know what is going on because it affects them like social security and healthcare plans.
5.what are two ways to participate in politics?
One is running for office like running for president or local mayor. It can vary from presidency to senator or mayor of a small town. Another way is donate to the person you support running for office to show support.

Reflection Questions:
1. What are something that the government is doing to rebuilt the trust they have lost?
2. How can teens be more involved and more informed about politics?
3. Why do local campaigns matter so much?
4. How did young people become so dis involved with politics?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Political Participation-Youhanna

Questions (Creation):
1. Explain some of the institutional barriers when it comes to reasons for low voter turnout.
Some institutional barriers include include registration, and it should be either eliminated or lowered by number so people find it easier. Also, the long ballots discourage people from voting because of a lot of props. Another is that there are too many elections and the type of election matters, and this bores people until the presidential election occurs. In addition, young people in their nature do not vote.
2. Explain the difference between voters in the US and voters in other industrialized nations, and why more people in industrialized nations vote more.
In other industrialized nations, like England, people have to vote or else they would face some sort of fine, and that is how almost 90% of people are voting. In US, it is your responsibility to vote, but you have the choice not to. So overall, industrialized nations vote more.
3. How can the government increase number of voters?
The government can increase the number of voters if the people trust the government more. More and more, the people feel that the government it lying to them. Also, the ballot is a big issue because of the how long it is; the ID voters laws also make people vote less, but if the government fix the ballots, then it should see a rise in voters. Finally, it should encourage young voters to vote.
4. Explain why young people do not vote and why older people do.
Young people do find politics interesting and they do not think that politics are important to our country. Older people feel like they should vote because they do care about the country more. That is why you see more laws passed for older people.
5. Explain what the 15th, 19th, 26th amendment are and how they affected the historical voting trends.
The 15th amendment gave black males the right to vote, and this increased the number of voters. The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, so half of the population was added to the voting numbers, increasing the number of voters. Then the 26th amendment lowered the age restriction from 21 to 18 years of age, but this decreased the number of voters because young people do not vote and do not care about politics.
6. What are some characteristics of a likely voter?
The characteristics of a likely voter are the education level, income, age, and race. The more educated the person is the more likely they would be interested, and also the higher the income. Age matters because the older the person, the more interested they would be. Also, depending on the race of the person, the more they vote. For example, white people vote more than African-American.
7. Explain two other ways of participating in politics.
One way to participate in politics is to run for office, since it is a very simple process and very few requirement. Another is to join an interest group, which targets a very specific issue in government.
8. Explain how the media can affect voting behavior.
Media, which is how campaigns are covered, matters because the media can either encourage one candidate over another. They might even spread a certain lie, or sometimes fact, and it can change the perspective of the viewers about a certain candidate.

1. How can younger people, younger than the age of 18, be involved in politics?
2. How can the government rebuild trust in its people? Where did mistrust start in history?
3. How can a city promote a certain presidential candidate?
4. Can historical past affect the demographics and therefore affect the voters turnout?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Political Participation_Beltran

 Nonvoting in America

  1. What have been the major issues and reasons that have caused voter turnout to lower in the United States over the years?

There are multiple issues and reasons many citizens chose not to vote. One of them is that many individuals find no interest in the long ballot and have no knowledge of all the propositions being made. Many also are faced by institutional barriers and presumptions like costs in voting. Others also feel like they will not be heard by the government.

  1. How have other European countries increased their voter turnout?

European countries have increased their voter turnout by imposing penalties for the people who decide not to vote. Penalties can be in forms of fines or other punishments. They also allow automatic registration where people who affiliate with government agencies are registered to vote unless the citizen chooses to decline.

  1. Which type of elections has a larger voter turnout compared to others?

Presidential elections tend to have a higher voter turnout than the legislative and this might root from being more interested in who runs an individual’s country than those who run their state. National elections have much larger voter turnout compared to state elections since state require more votes for specific things a citizen is unaware or disdain about. Lastly general elections are also much more popular than primary elections. Primary elections require voters to choose who they want to represent their political party. Many have a hard time choosing and would rather just choose between candidates from different parties, which happens in the general election.

Rise of American Electorate

  1. What were the large-scale differences the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments have done to improve diversity in voting?

The Fifteenth Amendment allowed African-American males to vote. Much of the population, at the time, was impacted greatly by those of this race. They made much of the workforce and add a demographic to the voter turnout. The Nineteenth Amendment gave the right to vote to all women. Females make up half of the population in the United States and allowed the voter turnout to increase greatly in numbers and add the much-needed diversity. Finally, the Twenty-sixth Amendment was made, giving 18 to 21 year-olds the right to vote. Although this did add a much wider range of age, voter turnout did not increase by much.

  1. How is the United States of America divided by the specific political parties?

The United States is divided by two popular political parties; the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Both parties have great influences in certain sections of America. Many states tend to vote for the same party over the years and many campaigns are not held in them. These states that are inconsistent choosing one party are known as swing states and considered battlegrounds. The South is now known to be Republican-oriented but during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, it was classified as Democratic. The West Coast is primarily Democratic for many of the liberal movements taken place in that area. Lastly, the Great Lakes region is a fight between Democratic and Republican.

  1. Which type of demographics affects what party an individual is more likely to vote for?

There are five types of demographics that affect which party a citizen is more likely to vote for. The first one is gender. Surprisingly, men tend to vote Republican while women vote Democratic. The higher class level someone is, the more likely they are to vote Republican; while the lower class majority votes Democratic. Race is also a big factor. Overwhelmingly, African-Americans vote Democratic while white individuals vote Republican. Union involvement and religion also affect the outcome of where a vote goes. If an individual is part of a union and also a Jewish or Catholic, they are likely to vote Democratic. While an individual who is an Evangelical Christian and not part of a union is probably voting Republican.

Who Participates in American Politics

  1. How does race affect voting turnout?

Race affects the voting turnout by only having one race to represent due to misconceptions. The majority of the people who vote are caucasian while many of the large minorities, like Hispanics and blacks, choose not to vote. They fear that voting will cost them money and that they will not be heard anyways. This affects the voting turnout because less of the population is represented, therefore decreasing it as well.

  1. Describe ways someone may participate in politics other than voting.

Someone can participate in politics by running for office. The only requirements are being of age and proof of being a citizen of the United States. Someone may also help with campaigning for a candidate by writing letters and knocking on doors. They may also choose to give money in order to fund a specific candidate of their liking. In addition, they may decide to join a protest or rally expressing the way they feel towards a certain policy. Another way of getting involved is joining an interest group to voice out a believed opinion on the politics surrounding the person’s interest like the National Rifle Association.

  1. Which age group is more likely to vote and which one is not?

     The age group more likely to vote is those 45 to 65 years-old. Many of them grew up around issues that they felt needed to be advocated and saw the changes that laws have made to their nation. The age group that is most unlikely to vote are 18 to 21 year-olds who think that voting is not important or that if they do, it will not change anything. Many are just not interested in the science of politics and the significance of how it affects our everyday lives.

** Why does the United States seem to only allow for two parties to exist?
Why is voting not made a requirement to all those who become citizens?
Why do political parties seem to divide the nation instead of uniting it?

Political Participation - Discussion Questions - Dyar Othman

Screencast 1 -  Would the voter turnout increase drastically if everyone had to vote?
                        Yes, because lots of people don't vote , so a large portion of the population would vote.
                        What reasons are there not to vote?
                        The process might be too long for some people and the requirements for it may not be met.
                        What groups of people are voting and what groups aren't voting?
                        Usually older educated people vote, while young less educated people don't.
Screencast 2 -  Does where you live affect voting behavior?
                        Yes, because in many states, they are expected to vote one or another.
                        How do demographics affect voting behavior?
                        Some communities such as black communities would usually vote for the same thing.
                        What historical qualifications are needed for voting?
                        One historical qualification was being a land-owning white male, but that has changed greatly.
Screencast 3 -  What are some ways of participating in politics?
                        You could help a campaign or even donate money to campaign.
                        How do age and education level affect voter turnout?
                        Usually the older and more educated someone is, they will most likely vote.
                        How do income and race affect voter turnout?
                        The richer vote more for Republican, and different races affect which party they choose.

Questions I have - What are the advantages for voting?
                             Could the voter turnout ever have the African-American vote for the republicans?
                             Why doesn't the government make it mandatory to vote?

Political Participation - Discussion Questions - Dyar Othman

Screencast 1 -  Would the voter turnout increase drastically if everyone had to vote?
                        What reasons are there not to vote?
                        What groups of people are voting and what groups aren't voting?
Screencast 2 -  Does where you live affect voting behavior?
                        How does Geography affect voting behavior?
                        What historical qualifications are needed for voting?
Screencast 3 -  What are some ways of participating in politics?
                        How do age and education level affect voter turnout?
                        How do income and race affect voter turnout?

Questions I have - What are the advantages for voting?
                             Could the voter turnout ever have the African-American vote for the republicans?
                             Why doesn't the government make it mandatory to vote?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Based on the believes and ideas of my family, I consider my self as a democratic and would mostly vote for the democratic party. Because I of my background and the history of violence in the country I used to live at, I am a strong believer in individual rights. In my old country, basic rights were almost none existent, so when I have the opportunity to get my voice heard, I will take full advantage of. I also believe that the national government's job is to protect its people both abroad and at home. Many people are mad because they believe the national government is overstepping when they interfere with either the economy or state's policy, however, I see that as their way trying to prevent problems. My religion has no factor at all because even though I don't like the idea of abortion or same sex marriage, I do not switch side because I believe in democracy so if the majority of the population are in favor then I cannot do anything about it.

My believe is solely based on the safety of my family. We migrated here only for that reason so if the taxes were raised, its worth it if I can sleep at night without having to worry about my safety. I am also not a big fan of guns so gun control does sound god. Others may think that taking away guns violates their rights but its all for a good reason, to lessen crime and death. There is statistical evidence that prove that guns are used more often in crimes than self defense, plus people should believe in the system and the police to protect them. There is a lot of heat directed at the police for abuse of power and racial conflicts but not all cops are bad. I believe that the number one priority is safety, no matter what, we should elect people with background that are capable are qualified to do so not a business man that their main concern is money and the economy.


Two quizzes later and I find that I'm a solid liberal on one and the other a centrist that leans more liberal. I'm not shocked by any of this though since I always try to be as open-minded as possible and listen to what others have to say first. As a kid who has grown up watching cartoons and playing video games for most of my life, I like to keep moving forward. I don't forget the past but I won't let it control me. Science and technology plus many other aspects such as art continually make advances as the years go on. We wouldn't have all these amazing games and shows if we didn't start somewhere. Growing up, I never worried or truly thought about things like what side I was on. Only in passing moments when I caught a glimpse of news and saw the president did I think passingly, "oh, I must be democratic". Strange, right? But remember, I was just living my life in the moment not bothered by what was to come or what had occurred in the past. I have a loving home and plentiful of wonderful friends. It seemed nice just even hearing it compared to republican back then. Anyway, now that I'm older not much has changed and somehow I was right back then. My thoughts did align with that of democrats for the most part now that I've confirmed it.

One issue in particular that I'd like to discuss are guns. I believe we need more regulations on not only obtaining it but to do yearly or every other year checks on a person's background and mentality. Everyone has the right to bear arms as said in the constitution but as of today, it's been proved to be used poorly by those who own it many a time. There should be proper training as well if anyone wishes to own a gun too.
Personally, I want to go to a shooting range and see what it feels like to even hold one. To gain a better understanding of the significance everyone puts on this small device that can end a grown man's life if used in the wrong hands.

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Based on beliefs and ideas, I could be considered a left "family and faith" liberal, and I would vote for the Democratic party, because of my ideas about religion. First, I agree with the fact that every individual should have their own personal freedom and their rights. I was born in a country that was ruled by a dictator, where people did not have a voice in the government, and that is the reason why this belief grew in me. I also believe that the government should serve the people by protecting them and their economic security. I grew up in my country where people feared for their lives, and the government was to blame for. The government should aid the ones in need, especially the poor, and from my experience it is very tough living in the country and the government's help does lift you into a better position. Even though I am a Catholic and have conservative ideas about gay marriage and abortion, I believe in what Pope Francis said: that we as people must not judge others, because we ourselves are not God; we must worry about ourselves and love others. Also, living in California made my beliefs even more solid, and even my parents vote as Democrats, and they similar ideas to the ones above. Every person should have their own liberty, and the government should be there to protect and serve the people.

Before reading the article, "The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Owner," I knew the harm the guns do in our society. But after reading it, I have solidly conformed that belief. Guns should not in the hands of anyone, and that is the reason why many accidents occur. We might believe that we must use guns in order to protect our selves, but at the same time (as the article lists all the accidents that have occurred), we do more harm than good. Even though I have liberal ideas about everyone having their own freedom and will, but at the same time the safety of people should come first as well. I have even heard about a seven-year-old who accidentally was playing with his father's gun and shot himself. This is a serious matter; therefore people should not be allowed to have guns personally. I grew up in a country full of danger, in which my father had a gun at home, but living in a country like U.S. where you can call the police for help, you do not need guns to protect you.