Malcolm Gladwell has written, "Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds."  Practice here and now.



Every four years, Ohio becomes, to paraphrase its former tourism slogan, the heart of it all, with the candidates, their surrogates and news crews overrunning the state while a seemingly endless loop of campaign ads dominates its airwaves.


The stakes couldn’t be higher. The winner of Ohio has won the White House in the last 13 elections.


“Everyone knows that you can’t get a Republican elected to the White House without carrying Ohio,” state GOP chairman Matt Borges said this year, referring to the fact that none has yet. And not since John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960 while Richard Nixon won Ohio has a Democrat done so. Kennedy and fellow Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt (1944) are the only presidents elected without winning Ohio since the 19th century.


In the 2015 book “Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter,” political scientists David Schultz and the late Stacey Hunter Hecht identified Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin as the 10 states that “seem genuinely in play” between the two major parties. For the rest of the country, they wrote, the “2016 presidential race is arguably already over.”


Their book also notes Ohio’s seemingly oversized role in presidential elections, possibly the nation’s “quintessential swing state.”


In his new book, Ohio native Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, combines history and statistics to explain that the state stands out among its swing states, the states either party can win in a given election, as a bellwether because of its remarkably reliable record of mirroring national sentiment.


Source: “Book probes Ohio’s role as national presidential bellwether,” Dan Sewell, Dayton Daily News, July 4, 2016.


After reading the scenario, respond to A, B, and C below:


  1. Describe what makes a State a “bellwether” State, as described in the scenario.

  2. In the context of the scenario, explain how the response in part A is affected by regional demographics.

  3. In the context of the scenario, explain how a change in the Electoral College could affect Ohio’s status as a bellwether State.



Use the information graphic to answer the questions.


  1. Identify the total percentage of mandatory spending contained in the 2015 federal budget.

  2. Describe a similarity or difference between federal mandatory and discretionary spending, as illustrated in the information graphic, and draw a conclusion about that similarity or difference.

  3. Explain how federal budget expenditures, as shown in the information graphic, has impacted the modern campaign.




“The Nation River is not public land, so it is exempt under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) from the National Park Service’s regulatory authority, as are all non-public lands and navigable waters within Alaska’s national parks. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Elena Kagan, the Court held that Alaska’s Nation River is not a public land because the United States does not and cannot have “title” to the Nation River. Under 16 U.S.C. § 3103(c) (“Section 103(c)”) the Park Service may exercise its authority only on public lands, so non-public lands are outside its domain. Moreover, navigable waters within Alaska’s national parks are also exempt from the Park Service’s normal regulatory authority because ANILCA expressly defines “land” to mean “lands, waters, and interests therein.”


“Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the court:


We thus arrive again at the conclusion that the Park Service may not prevent John Sturgeon from driving his hovercraft on the Nation River. We held in an earlier part of this opinion that the Nation is not public land. See supra, at 12–15. And here we hold that it cannot be regulated as if it were. Park Service regulations—like the hovercraft rule—do not apply to non-public lands in Alaska even when those lands lie within national parks. Section 103(c) “deem[s]” those lands outside the parks and in so doing deprives the Service of regulatory authority…


 In Alaska, Sturgeon argues, the Park Service has no power to regulate lands or waters that the Federal Government does not own; rather, the Service may regulate only what ANILCA calls “public land” (essentially, federally owned land) in national parks…


Those lands, of course, remain subject to all the regulatory powers they were before, exercised by the EPA, Coast Guard, and the like. But they did not become subject to new regulation by the happenstance of ending up within a national park. In those areas, Section 103(c) makes clear, Park Service administration does not replace local control. For that reason, park rangers cannot enforce the Service’s hovercraft rule on the Nation River. And John Sturgeon can once again drive his hovercraft up that river to Moose Meadows…”


Source: Sturgeon v. Frost (2019) Oyez


Based on the information above, respond to the following questions.


  1. Identify a common constitutional principle used to make a ruling in both U.S. v. Lopez (1995) and Sturgeon v. Frost (2019).

  2. Based on the constitutional principle identified in part A, explain why the facts of U.S. v. Lopez (1995) led to a similar holding as the holding in Sturgeon v. Frost (2019).

  3. Describe an action that the president could take to respond to the Sturgeon v. Frost (2019) decision if it was deemed disagreeable.




Although the constitution does not mention political parties, factions emerged even before the new constitution was ratified.  Assess the following premise: Democracy is unthinkable without political parties.


In your essay, you must:

  • Articulate a defensible claim or thesis that responds to the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning.

  • Support your claim with at least TWO pieces of accurate and relevant information.  At least ONE piece of evidence must be from one of the following foundational documents – U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Federalist 10.

  • Use a second piece of evidence from another foundational document from the list or from your study of the electoral process

  • Use reasoning to explain why your evidence supports your claim/thesis

  • Respond to an opposing or alternative perspective using refutation, concession, or rebuttal

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