the beltway for beginners

  • How Barack Obama Works
  • How Joe Biden Works
  • Do special interest groups hurt candidates?
  • How Presidential Debates Work

politics

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How Political Primaries Work

Presidential primaries let the voters choose who they want to represent their political party for president. But not everyone is happy with the process. What are the problems, and can they be fixed?

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How the Electoral College Works

The Electoral College is not an Ivy League school. Rather, it's a process for selecting the next U.S. president that actually carries more weight than the popular vote. Why is it there and should it be continued?

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How do caucuses work?

A caucus, like a primary, is held to determine the party's nomination for president. Those nominees face their first big test during the Iowa caucuses. Why is it such an unusal piece of the election process?

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How the Swing States Work

States in which the majority of voters vote for the same party in every election are all but ignored by presidential candidates. Instead, they spend their time and effort in the swing states. What are they?

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How Presidential Pardons Work

The president of the United States has the unique ability to override the justice system, and rid convicts of their record. Where does this power come from, and why do presidential pardons raise so many eyebrows?

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How much does the U.S. president get paid?

While compensation for the U.S. president is very generous when compared with the average American's salary, these men likely didn't get elected to office with the goal of getting rich. So how much does he get paid?

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How does banning a book work?

Judy Blume, John Steinbeck and Maya Angelou are among the top 10 most challenged American authors. But to be challenged is not to be banned. What does it take to ban a book?

Quiz

This Land Is Your Land: The Citizenship Quiz

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For people who never leave their native countries, citizenship is simple as pie -- you simply have to be born. But being a citizen entails a lot more than just living in a nation. Test your knowledge about what it means to be a citizen.

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