GOVT 220 Becoming an Informed Voter

Becoming an Informed Voter – Researching Your Congressional Delegation

The research paper has 2 steps. First, you will analyze the background of your congressional district and your U.S. Representative. Second, you will analyze the political background of your state and 1 of your U.S. Senators. You may choose which senator to study; however, if one senator is newly elected and does not have interest group ratings, study the other one. Note that these are United States Representatives and Senators. Do not use members of your state legislature.

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Begin by reviewing the presentation on “Becoming an Informed Voter.” The example of Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is used. If you live in the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia, you will have to adopt another Virginia congressional district as your temporary home and write about that one, since you have already been given some of the information on Bob Goodlatte. If you have a newly elected representative who has not yet received interest group ratings, get the interest group ratings of a representative from a neighboring district. After reviewing the presentation, the first part will deal with your congressional district and congressman; the second part will deal with your state and senator. As explained in the presentation, interest group scores may be found at Vote Smart

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Use the Course Style Guidelines document to properly format this essay as you will be required to use formal writing with level 1, 2, and 3 headings as necessary to address and elaborate on each of the following questions in paragraph form:

  • What is the recent political history of your district and state?
  • How has your state and congressional district voted in recent presidential and congressional elections?

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  • Can your district or state be considered to be leaning Republican or Democrat?
  • Are the political parties relatively even, or does on party dominate the elections?
  • Does your district have a long tradition of supporting one party, or has it been changing in recent years?
  • How did your representative and senator come to power? (Thoroughly describe their backgrounds.)
  • How do the interest groups (ADA, ACLU, ACU, CC or FRC) rate your representative and senator? (Note: If the Christian Coalition score is not available, you may substitute the Family Research Council score. Include the exact scores from each of these groups. The rationale for this is explained in the presentation.)
  • Based on these ratings, would you classify your representative and senator as conservative or liberal? Justify your answer.

GOVT 220 Becoming an Informed Voter – Sample Answer

Introduction

This paper analyses the political position of the student’s political region. The student resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is located in the 1st congressional district. Nebraska contains two representatives in the United States House of Congress, and two senators; senior and junior in the United States Senate. The last district congressional election took place in 2018. The paper focuses on analyzing the political history of the selected district and its corresponding state, and how much the region is inclined to party politics. The paper will also focus on determining whether the elected members are conservative or liberal based on how they are rated by different rating bodies.

Political History of the Selected State – Recent Political History of Nebraska and Nebraska 1st Congressional District

Nebraska State has been highly dominated by the Republican Party. The two congressional districts are currently controlled by republican senators, and the population supported a republican presidential election in an overwhelming way in 2016 election, especially in its 1st congressional district. The state is said to be dominated by republican, with one pivotal country controlling 1.08%, and a three mixed counties, based on the last three presidential elections. The 1st congressional district is said to have a partisan voter index of R+11, which implies that in the past to presidential elections, the district outcomes ere 11% points extra Republican compared to the national average. This made the 1st congressional district of Nebraska the 116th most republican district in the country. In addition to this, the elasticity score of the district was 1.01 during the 2018 election. This implies that for every 1 point shift in the national political mood toward a party, the district was anticipated to make 1.01 point shift toward that party.

Voting in Recent Congressional Elections

The two senators who were elected in the 2018 congressional district election are both members of Republican Party. Nebraska 2nd congressional districted recorded a total votes of 248 485 in 2018 election, with 51% of those votes going to Don Bacon of the Republican party, and the rest to the Democratic Party contestant. All the district 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats were up for elections in 2018. During this election, Democratic Party obtained 40 seats net total, winning the chamber control. The race was thus regarded as a 2018 battleground, which may have impacted the U.S. House partisan control in the 116th Congress.

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Before then, Republican Party had the main control of the House, with majority holding of 235 seats while Democratic Party only controlled 193 seats. There were seven vacant seats, and democrats required to gain 23 GOP-held seats to obtain the House control in 2018 (Ballotpedia., 2018c).  Nebraska 1st congressional district recorded  total votes of 234781 in 2018 election, with 60.4% of those votes going for the Republican candidate Jeffrey Fortenberry and the rest  39.6% going for the Democrats candidate. Since 2000, the district has been dominated by the Republican Party where it managed senate control in four elections, while democrats only managed control for two elections. The district has also been supporting republican governors since 2002 and only republican’s congressional members since 2002. The district was controlled by democrats in 1990s, until in 1999 while the control shifted to republicans and has been under republicans control to date (Ballotpedia, 2018a).   

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Voting in the Recent Presidential Election

In 2016 presidential election, the 2nd congressional district supported Donald Trump, a republican by 2% point, similarly, it supported a republican presidential candidate; Mitt Romney, in 2012 election by 7%, but supported Democrats presidential candidate; Barack Obama, in 2008 election by 1% point. The Republican Party is said to have lost an average of 29 seats from 1918 t0 2016 in this district in midterm presidential elections. The 1st congressional district also supported Donald Trump; a Republican, in the presidential election. Trump won with 58.7% against the Democrat candidate who only received 33.7%. Since 1868 to the recent 2016 presidential election, the district is said to have only voted for Democratic Party for only 18% of times, meaning it has highly been dominated by the Republican Party. In the recent five presidential elections happening in 2000s, the district has uniformly voted for the Republican presidential candidates at all times (Ballotpedia, 2018.).

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Nebraska Political Party Inclination

The above analyzed data demonstrates Republican dominance in the Nebraska state, especially in its 1st congressional district. The two congressional districts are currently run by republican senators, and they both supported Donald Trump; a republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Although Nebraska 2nd congressional district seems to sway considerably on its stand, the general results shows high volume of republican supporters in the state, and extremely high support of Republican Party in the Nebraska 1st congressional district.

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The republican senator seat in the 1st congressional district received 65.5% support in 2016 election, and 68.8% in 2014 U.S. house of representative election. The district has supported republican presidential candidate by majority for the last five presidential elections from 2000 to 2016, with a margin of victory ranging from 14.8% to 33.3%. The district has also elected republican governors since 2002, with the win margin ranging from 18% to 49%. Similarly, the district has been dominated by republican U.S. house representative since 2000with a power balance of R+1 to R+3. This generally implies that Nebraska is a Republican dominated state or is leaning on Republican Party.

Party Dominance in the Election

Nebraska election is highly dominated by the Republican Party, especially in the 1st congressional district. Generally current two senators in the state are from the Republican Party. The republican presidential candidate in the 2016 presidential election won the majority seat in the two Nebraska districts. The current governor in Nebraska 1st congressional district is also a republican, though the governor in the 2nd congressional district is a democrat.  Republican is seen to be the dominant party in the 1st congressional district, where even the house representative is dominated by the republicans.

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However, the situation is quite different in the 2nd congressional district. Here, majority of the population supported a democrat presidential candidate in 2012 election, unlike in the first congressional, and also, the current U.S. representative is dominated by Democrats with a 40 net total seats. Republican also controls representative house in the 1st district by 30-16 majority. The conclusion of the situation is that Nebraska 1st congressional district is fully controlled by the Republican Party, while the two parties; Republican and Democrats seems to create a balance in the 2nd congressional district.

Nebraska 1st Congressional District Party Support History

The 1st congressional district has a long history of supporting a single party. According to the data, district supported Democratic Party for the whole of 1990s, and only changed its stand in 2000s where it have been supporting the Republican party for the last around 18 years. The population has been fully dedicated into electing republican candidates in all cases, especially in the gubernatorial, house representative and presidential position. A little swaying is seen in the senate where Democrats have won two times, as republican dominate the wins for four times. Generally, the district has been inclined into supporting Republican Party, and can only be concluded that the two instances where they elected democrats senators were more inclined into assessing individual ability rather than party. The support for Democratic Party in the district is considerably weak.

Nebraska Representative and Senator

How Jeff Fortenberry Came to Power

Jeff Fortenberry is the current Senator of the Nebraska 1st congressional district. Jeff has been a senator in this district since 2004, when he was first elected to the United States House. Jeff decided to run for the representative seat after the retirement of his incumbent Doug Bereuter. He contested for republican candidate and won among seven candidates who participated in the activity. Before this, Jeff was a member of Lincoln city council, where he played a great part to the service of the people by enhancing public safety and enhancing community realization projects. He must have developed his interest to serve the community while serving in this position. During the 2014 election, Jeff Fortenberry contested for the senator seat in the district under the Republican Party ticket. He was facing opponents from Democratic Party and Green Party. Jeff managed to secure 5.2% of the votes, defeating his democratic opponent who secured 43% of the votes and Green Party opponent who secured 2.8% votes. Since then Jeff has been preserving his position as the senator of the 1st congressional district in all subsequent U.S. house elections. Jeff won a re-election in 2006 with 58.4%, in 2008 with 70.4% votes, in 2010 with 71.3% votes, in 2012 with 86.4% votes, in 2014 with 86.1% votes, in 2016 by 69.5% votes and in 2018 by 60.4% votes. Based on the trajectory, his popularity is demonstrating a normal curve where it reached its peak in 2014 election, and has been going down since. Jeff has managed to preserve this seat for a period of about 14 years (Ballotpedia, 2018b).    

How Nebraska Senator Deb Fisher came to power

Nebraska senators include Deb Fischer who is the senior senator and Bejamin Sasse who is the junior senator. They are both from the Republican Party. Fischer has been Nebraska senator since 2013 while Benjamin has been the state junior senator since 2015. Deb Fisher was first elected to senate in November 2012 and re-elected in 2018. She served as Nebraska Unicameral member prior to her election where she represented District 43 from 2005 until she assumed the senator office. She had served at least four committees prior to her election as a senator, which include revenue, telecommunication and transportation and natural resources. She secured her senate position in 2012 at 57.8% votes against her democratic opponent who secured 42.2%. She maintain her seat in the 2018 election at 57.7% against 38.6% of her democrat opponent and 3.6% of Libertarian Party (Ballotpedia, 2018d).

Interest Groups Rating

Interest Groups Rating for Jeff Fortenberry 

Fortenberry received a rating of 7% by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This position is based on how the congress member voted in accordance to the position of ACLU position, in matters patterning issues ACLU is concerned about. This includes voting in the committees where Jeff was a member that concerned civil liberty of American people. The score demonstrates Fortenberry poor support of civil liberty. Family Research Council (FRC) rated Fortenberry at 100%, demonstrating Fortenberry strong support of family matters and religion, especially on matters fighting new family diversities that go against traditional religious teachings. America Conservation Union (ACU) rating for Fortenberry was 56%. This demonstrated strong support for aspect related to conservative politics.  America for Democratic Action (ADA) rated Fortenberry at 0% in 2017 rating. This demonstrates Fortenberry strong stand against democratic action and strong stand on oppressive conservative actions and policies in the country (Vote Smart, 2019b).

Interest Groups Rating for Deb Fischer

Deb Fishers received 13% rating from American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).This position is based on how the Fisher voted in accordance to the position of ACLU position, in matters patterning issues ACLU is concerned about civil liberty in the senate and committee she was a member. Fisher score demonstrated her strong stand against civil liberty in the country. Family Research Council (FRC) rated Fishers at 100% score based on how Deb participated and voted in aspects related to families and religion during their discussion in the senate or senate committees. This score demonstrates Fisher strong support of policies protecting religious liberty, traditional family set up, and fight against abortion. The ACU rated Fishers at 81% showing Fisher support for conservative policies that fight for modern changes that are welcoming diversities in families, legalization of ungodly practices and defying of the known American tradition way of doing things. Fisher was rated 0% by ADA. The rating shows strong Fisher’s disagreement with the changes taking place which are defying traditional ways of operation. Fisher is against the liberal moves to make change that accommodates changes in the new generation (Vote Smart, 2019a).  

Representative and Senator Classification

Based on the analysis, the two; Fisher the senator and Fortenberry are conservatives. They are highly rated by interest groups such as ACU and FRC that support conservation of religious and family ways and other laws that focus on preserving the American traditions. They are both rated very low by interest groups that such as ADA and ACLU that support democratic ways of life and civil liberty. Meaning the two politicians are highly conservative.

Conclusion

The analysis demonstrates strong roots of Republican Party in Nebraska 1st congressional district. All the current elected politicians in the house, senate and governor seats are republican. The district also supported a republican presidential in the 2016 election. The district has a history of supporting the party, which is a clear indication that the district would comfortably elect any person, as long as the person is endorsed by their political party of interest.   

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