AP US Government : Modern Political Parties

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Modern Political Parties

On the political spectrum, which of these examples would appear furthest on the left?

Possible Answers:

Liberal

Conservative

Radical

Moderate

Reactionary

Correct answer:

Radical

Explanation:

The political spectrum, from left to right, could be illustrated as: Radical - Liberal - Moderate - Conservative - Reactionary. So a "radical" would appear furthest left on the political spectrum. Radicals favor quick and immediate changes to the social or political life. A "reactionary," on the other hand, favors the maintenance of the status quo at all costs, or even further, the return to some previous ordered system that has been overturned by recent "radical" action.

Example Question #2 : Modern Political Parties

Supply-side economics is most closely associated with which American President?

Possible Answers:

Bill Clinton

Dwight Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Ronald Reagan

Correct answer:

Ronald Reagan

Explanation:

Supply-side economics is a macroeconomic theory that suggests that the best way to encourage economic growth is to remove obstacles for those who produce goods. Essentially it proposes lowering regulations and taxes on wealthier individuals and corporations, supporting the notion that such a policy will cause a "trickle-down" effect that will improve the economic and social conditions of the working and middle classes. It is most closely associated with Ronald Reagan and was part of the platform on which he won his landslide election victory in 1980 over Jimmy Carter.

Example Question #23 : Political Parties And Elections

Which of these demographic groups would be least likely to support a contemporary Democratic candidate?

Possible Answers:

The urban working class

Women

African-Americans

The wealthy

Young people

Correct answer:

The wealthy

Explanation:

The modern Democratic Party tends to be supported by minorities, women, young people, people living in cities, whereas the modern Republican party tends to be supported by wealthy people, southerners, and white males.

Example Question #3 : Modern Political Parties

The term "New Democrat," coined in the late 1980s, suggests __________.

Possible Answers:

a less centrist, more extreme liberal

a liberal who rejects all compromise with conservative ideology

a liberal who is fiscally conservative

a more centrist, less extreme liberal

a liberal who is socially conservative

Correct answer:

a more centrist, less extreme liberal

Explanation:

The term "New Democrat" was first introduced into the popular consciousness during the Democratic National Convention of 1992; however, it first appeared as an ideology in the wake of the election of George H. W. Bush in 1988. It meant to establish the Democrat party as considerably more conservative and centrist than the party had previously been. This may be understood as a reaction to two broad American political trends of recent years: firstly, the movement to the political right of the majority of the American population and secondly, the idea that a political party, be it conservative or liberal, is best served by adopting centrist views and appearing less extreme than its opponent(s).

Example Question #4 : Modern Political Parties

Conservatives are likely to __________.

Possible Answers:

support states' rights

support a graduated income tax

support expanded civil liberties

support government action to promote equal opportunity

support greater government expenditures on education

Correct answer:

support states' rights

Explanation:

One of the fundamental components of the American Conservative ideology is a belief in states' rights.  This often involves a condemnation of a large federal government.

Example Question #5 : Modern Political Parties

This party tends to favor a less expensive federal government, lower income taxes, and less business regulation, among other things. Which party is this?

Possible Answers:

Green Party

The Whigs

Republican Party

Socialist Party

Democratic Party

Correct answer:

Republican Party

Explanation:

This is a relatively simply policy question. The Republican Party is the correct answer. On the whole, Republicans tend to be less enthusiastic about economic and environmental regulations, and more enthusiastic about moral or social regulations. In other words, Republicans are unlikely to support things like higher taxes, expansive government, or large social entitlements. They are, on the other hand, more likely to support things like abortion bans, or to disapprove of gay marriage.

Example Question #6 : Modern Political Parties

This party tends to favor a regulated economy, higher taxes in order to fund greater social programs, and less defense spending. Which party is this?

Possible Answers:

Democratic Party

Republican Party

Socialist Party

The Whigs

Green Party

Correct answer:

Democratic Party

Explanation:

This, like the prior question, is a policy question. The Democratic Party is the correct answer. On the whole, Democrats tend to be very supportive of legal abortion, gay marriage, ‘fairness’ and equality, and greater regulation of businesses, along with higher taxes.

Example Question #7 : Modern Political Parties

Which of the following correctly defines a Blue Dog Democrat?

Possible Answers:

The most liberal-leaning members of the Democratic Party

Democrats who will break away from their fellow party members to vote with the opposition on social issues

Democrats who will break away from their fellow party members to vote with the opposition on economic issues

New members of the party who have not amassed a strong party voting record

Correct answer:

Democrats who will break away from their fellow party members to vote with the opposition on economic issues

Explanation:

Blue Dog Democrats are Democrats who loyally vote with their party on most issues, except for economic ones. When it comes to financial matters, they tend to be more conservative (meaning they want the government to spend less money) than their fellow Democrats. So when a spending or funding bill arises, perhaps in the House of Representatives, Blue Dog Democrats are known to cross over and vote with the Republican opposition instead, denying their own party their support.

Example Question #8 : Modern Political Parties

Which of the following statements about the fundamentals of the US and European party systems is incorrect?

Possible Answers:

The US party system is very fragmented and decentralized, unlike the much more rigidly structured nature of the European system.

Both the US and Europe function in a multi-party climate, with several political parties all exercising considerable dominance.

In the US, the “winner take all” method of state/district victory prevails, but Europe widely chooses to follow a more proportionally representative model.

Candidates in the US are able to function with quite a bit of autonomy away from the party leadership, but European candidates are forced to carefully obey their respective party leaders.

Correct answer:

Both the US and Europe function in a multi-party climate, with several political parties all exercising considerable dominance.

Explanation:

While the European party system does indeed function in a multi-party climate, the US system only has two parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – who are able to exercise any form of influential political control. This is most likely due to the very disorganized nature of the US system, where candidates are able to dictate to party leaders and where parties are often scattered across state and local lines. In Europe, a very strict structural party hierarchy exists, with party leadership wielding iron-clad control over their members. Europe also utilizes proportional representation when it comes to awarding votes and/or delegates to parties, while in the US, whichever candidate wins a plurality (or majority) of votes wins the entire area and/or delegates in question, with the opposition gaining nothing.

Example Question #9 : Modern Political Parties

Which of the following political trends is currently at work within the US party system?

Possible Answers:

Women have begun to draw away from participation in political activity.

The rising popularity of ticket splitting has led to divided government as the new norm.

Southern states have increasingly become Democratic Party strongholds.

Fewer voters are willingly to identify as Independents.

Correct answer:

The rising popularity of ticket splitting has led to divided government as the new norm.

Explanation:

As more and more voters engage in ticket splitting, divided government has increasingly resulted, especially ever since the 1970s. Divided government occurs when one party controls the Executive Branch while the opposite party controls one or both houses of Congress, so that neither party is able to achieve dominance. In tandem with ticket splitting, more voters have begun to draw away from membership in either the Democratic or the Republican parties, choosing to identify as Independents instead, which is a further rejection of main party domination. The Southern states in particular have experienced great changes; where once many Southerners faithfully voted for Democrat candidates, the Republican Party has recently stolen increasing numbers of these voters away. As for female citizens, women are very much an active force in political life, with ever more women rising to prominent party leadership positions and the overall female voter turnout rate eclipsing that of their male counterparts.

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