America’s understanding of democracy is one thing. Americans’ understandings of democracy are another thing entirely. For while we like to think about democracy as a value on which all Americans, regardless of political persuasion, agree, politics today is divided not just along ideological lines, but also in terms of visions of democracy. In Democracy at Crossroads: How the One Percent is Silencing our Voices, a report released by the Democracy Initiative Education Fund, voting expert Tova Wang explains how some of the efforts across the states to limit the right to organize and the right to vote while at the same time letting money continue to dominate state politics are not isolated incidents. They are part of a concerted effort and strategic agenda to challenge the idea of democracy in America. For Wang, “carefully targeted voter photo ID laws that disproportionately affect working Americans, communities of color, and young people,” as well as the elimination of “restrictions on special interest campaign spending, and reduced disclosure of sources,” and laws passed by state legislatures that compromise workers’ ability to organize and to bargain collectively, are just a few examples of these collective efforts to undermine democratic progress. —From Chayenne Polimédio, New America A) Describe the core value discussed in the excerpt. B) In the context of the excerpt, explain how the core value in part A is affected by the actions of special interest groups. C) In the context of the scenario, explain an action Congress could take to limit the impact of special interest groups as explained in part B. 2. Likely U.S. Voter Beliefs About Special Interests, Wealthy Donors, and the Media Wealthy Special Interest Groups Wealthy Individuals and Companies News Media Too Much Influence and Power 80% 76% 66% Too Little Influence and Power 3% 4% 4% Just the Right Amount of Influence and Power 14% 16% 26% A) Describe voter beliefs about the influence and power of wealthy individuals and companies. B) Describe a pattern in U.S. voter beliefs about the political influence of groups as shown in the table, and draw a conclusion about that pattern. C) Draw a conclusion about the pattern in U.S. voter beliefs about the political influence of groups as shown in the table. D) Explain how the data in the chart reflect the influence of American political culture on voter attitudes.
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